Collections and Archive Department

The ATI launched its work to build a collection in 2006 by registering the collection with the Czech Ministry of Culture’s Central Registry of Collections.

The Collections and Archive Department, which was established as an independent department in 2009, acquires, processes, conserves, and display collected items and archive documents that are connected with the theatre, especially theatre on the territory of the Czech Republic.

The collection focuses on scenography, contains original set and costume designs, maquettes, and other artefacts of artistic significance or of value for theatre history. In addition, it helps process an enormous number of photographs and posters, which are preserved, documented, and digitised. The archives (units that perform documentary work) are separate and organised in conformity with archive methodology and they adhere to a more rigorous research regime.

The department co-organises or organises exhibitions of scenography and photography.

Scenography Colletion

As of 31 December 2009 the Scenography Collection contained 1272 documented items. In 2009 the collection was enriched with the addition of set and costume designs by Josef Svoboda, Jaroslav Malina, Otakar Schindler, Zuzana Štefunková Rusínová, and Andrea Králová. The advisory committee for acquisitions met on 24 March 2009. Alongside its regular agenda it approved the purchase of set designs by Libor Fára under the ISO grant of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the discussion of grant applications was deferred by the provider until 2010. A portion of the collection’s items have been displayed at exhibitions which the department has helped organise (Legions of Characters – Costume Designs by Jan Skalický, Breaking through the Space, and Variations – Theatre Artists at the Turn of the Millennium). In 2009 work continued on the systematic digitisation of the collection of photographs (with the support of the EEA/Norwegian Financial Mechanisms), and to date more than eighty thousand photographs have been scanned. The scanned photographs are then saved in a photographic database and eventually made available on the web at:

Photography Collection

The department manages a large collection of photographs. Theatre photography has a long history in the Czech Republic, and in the second half of the 20th century, thanks to figures like Josef Koudelka and Jaroslav Krejčí, it evolved into a specific art genre and became an interesting ‘export article\. Work began on systematically processing the ATI’s collection of photographs in 2008. The ATI owns approximately 120 000 original photographs, both positives and negatives. Their digitisation and database processing was incorporated into the work on the project Preserving and Presenting the Cultural Heritage of Czech and World Theatre, which was conducted with the support of the EEA/Norwegian Financial Mechanisms. That project generated a unique opportunity to digitise, describe, and grant access to photographs charting the past sixty years of the life of Czech theatres. Work on the digitisation is already successfully under way, and the individual photographs are saved along with basic information on them in the relevant database. Currently more than 80 000 photographs of almost 6000 productions by more than 250 photographers have been scanned and they include shots by Jaroslav Krejčí, Vilém Sochůrek, and Viktor Kronbauer. The photographs are accessible through the internet database at:
In 2009 the ATI helped organise the jubilee exhibition of Jaroslav Krejčí at the New Town Hall.


The collection’s scenographic and photographic artefacts are significantly complemented by the collection’s theatre posters, which provide important testimony of the country’s theatre history. They are also of unquestionable art-historical value and make good exhibition pieces. The posters are currently in the stage of being conserved and catalogued, and to date approximately 1500 posters have been catalogued.


Among its other functions, the Arts and Theatre Institute (ATI) is a heritage institution. It collects, processes, and facilitates access to documents on the artistic activities of Czech theatres, theatre companies, and artists from the second half of the 20th century and the early 21st century. The Collections and Archives Department and the Information and Documentation Department constantly follow and link the work in each other’s department, and the integration of these two departments heightens the informational value of the materials. The collections include print and visual materials from both private and institutional sources (e.g. photographs, posters, various types of documents, material recorded on tape, CDs, DVDs, etc.). Most documents are of a non-official, non-administrative nature, and individual collections of documents tend to be small in size (1 to 2 archive boxes). The collections provide documentary evidence of the creative work of artists, theatres and companies, past events, exhibitions, history, and the collecting activities of the ATI. The attached inventory is divided according to content, larger individual collections are accompanied by a description and information on access to the collection. 

The inventory of collections in czech for downloading HERE

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