Czech and Slovak Museum makes a comeback - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Czech and Slovak Museum makes a comeback

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - After nearly two years, the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids is making a comeback.

The building was heavily damaged during the floods of 2008.

"This place was so quiet and dirty and could just see it was going to be a very long road ahead of us," said Director of Operations, Jan Stoffer.

But the museum has traveled quite a distance down that road. Now, it's ready to be enjoyed by the citizens of Cedar Rapids - and everyone else - once again. The new location is at the old Kosek Diamond Dollar Store in Czech Village. New exhibits show off the city's rich Czech and Slovak heritage, and how its people struggled and overcame one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history.

"The story goes decade by decade through the Czechs of Cedar Rapids, and then kind of goes to the flood story, where it's more day-by-day what happened when the flood impacted our city," said Stefanie Kohn, curator.

There are videos and photos of the 2008 flood, along with a replica of a flooded building, which Kohn hopes will give visitors a real sense of the destruction that was caused.

"People can actually go inside that and see what it was like."

An interactive database also allows people to make their experiences a part of the museum catalogue.

"You can write your own flood story or your immigration story, or just comment on the exhibit."

That means this is not the end of the museum's journey, but just another step in its long and storied history.

"There's a certain air of excitement in the community that I haven't felt in awhile," said Stoffer.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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