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Enthusiastic museum crowd greets new ambassador

An enthusiastic crowd greeted Ambassador Hynek Kmonicek on Friday at the Czech Heritage Museum in Temple. Visitors drove from Palestine, Austin and surrounding areas to meet the newly-appointed ambassador representing the Czech Republic in Washington D.C. Kmonicek was accompanied by his wife, Indira Gumarova and hosted by Honorary Czech Consul Brian Vanicek and his wife Joan. 

The two wore cowboy hats given to them by Texas Czechs at Sokol Dallas. Reporters from the Temple Daily Telegram newspaper and KWTX Channel 10 news in Waco covered the event. 

Czech Ambassador to the U.S. to visit Czech Heritage Museum on Friday

Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček, representing the Czech Republic in Washington D.C., will visit the Czech Heritage Museum on Friday. The public is welcome to attend a reception starting at 12:30 p.m.

Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček, representing the Czech Republic in Washington D.C., will visit the Czech Heritage Museum on Friday. The public is welcome to attend a reception starting at 12:30 p.m.

The Czech Heritage Museum & Genealogy Center will host a reception for Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček and his wife Ms. Indira Gumarova of Washington, D.C. at 12:30 p.m. on Friday. The public is welcome. 

Kmoníček was appointed ambassador from the Czech Republic to the United States on March 16 and presented his credentials to President Donald Trump on April 24.

The ambassador’s Texas itinerary includes Sokol Dallas, the Sokol gym in West,  the SPJST home office and the Czech Heritage Museum in Temple and Camp Mabry in Austin.

On Saturday morning, the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center in La Grange will host a public welcome. That evening, he will attend the opening of the Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic at the Czech Center Museum in Houston, hosted by Honorary Consul and SPJST President Brian Vanicek and his wife, Joan, of Temple.

Since 2013, Ambassador Kmoníček has served as Director of Foreign Affairs in the Office of the President of the Czech Republic. He also served in three posts as ambassador to the United Nations, India (including Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka) and Australia (including New Zealand, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu).  He began his diplomatic career in the Middle East Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and shortly rose to the position of Director General of Asia, Africa and America.   

Ambassador Kmoníček was born in Pardubice, then Czechoslovakia. His first calling was as a professional musician and educator. His instruments are classical guitar and lute. After earning degrees in music and pedagogy, he studied the English language and Classical Arabic at Charles University in Prague. He also holds a degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he studied modern history of the Middle East and medieval Islamic mysticism. His political science graduation paper was titled, “Historical development of Saudi-American relations from the beginning to the JFK era.”

Recently, Ambassador Kmoníček was credited with resolving a diplomatic dispute between Czech President Milos Zeman and the U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Andrew Shapiro.

In 2015, a Czech entomologist named a newly-discovered beetle after Kmoníček, in gratitude for assisting him when he was ambassador to India.

The ambassador has four children. He enjoys cooking, world music and collecting documentary films. He writes about foreign affairs for the Czech newspaper MF Dnes, as well as for reviews of art, culture and for academic journals worldwide.

Kmoníček replaces Ambassador Petr Gandalovič, who had served since 2011 and often visited the Czech communities in Texas.  Ambassador Gandlovič was instrumental in the rebuilding of the Sokol Gym at West, funded in part, from contributions of the citizens in the Czech Republic.

Hanus Family visits the Museum

Members of the Hanus family met here at the Museum this week to research their family history in our genealogy library. Sisters and brother Joyce Hanus Lamprecht, Barb Hanus and James Hanus drove up from Austin and Cibolo, Texas. They are originally from Skidmore. The siblings were able to find new information about their family in our library and also a copy of a book dedicated to their family history. 

Their father's cousin, Otto Hanus, was the first librarian, archivist and curator of the Museum, so we were delighted to meet them!

Otto Hanus, first curator of the SPJST Library and Museum

Otto Hanus, first curator of the SPJST Library and Museum

 

Otto Hanus is one of the pillars of the history of the Czech Heritage Museum. His first involvement was to transport 1,500 books from storage at West, Texas to the SPJST building at Second Street and Central Avenue in Temple. The books, sent by donors from across several states, was the result of discussions between several Czech fraternal organizations in Texas who agreed that a museum, or at least of library of Czech literature,  should be established.

Nick Morris, editor of the SPJST weekly newspaper, Vestnik, took on the challenge and started the book collection. Interested donors sent them from all over Texas and several other states and before long, the large collection had accumulated. The following year, 1969, Hanus became the curator and administer of the collection.

Morris wrote of Mr. Hanus’ work in A History of the SPJST: A Texas Chronicle 1897-1980.

“He does not know what a clock is, and the SPJST could not have a more devoted worker. He, on the other hand, extends credit to all others who donated items … and to the cooperation and understanding of the Supreme Lodge.”

Today, visitors from around the world and Texans of Czech ancestry alike enjoy the legacy left by Mr. Hanus here at the Czech Heritage Museum.

Museum-to-Muzeum

Ivana Miculka of Valasske Mezirici, Moravia, Czech Republic and Lydia Faust, Snook, Texas, USA model Czech Kroj at the Czech Heritage Museum in Temple, Texas.

Ivana Miculka of Valasske Mezirici, Moravia, Czech Republic and Lydia Faust, Snook, Texas, USA model Czech Kroj at the Czech Heritage Museum in Temple, Texas.

This week, we were honored with a visit from Ivana and Ferdinand Miculka from Valasske Mezirici , Moravia, Czech Republic and Lydia Faust of Snook.  Ivana wore her native kroj and Lydia paired up, wearing her own kroj.

This beautiful style represents the Moravian Wallachia (Czech: Moravské Valašsko or simply Valašsko) region. The blue fabric is called "modrotisk." Originally, it was hand-printed with carved wooden block print stamps by resist method with either wax or resist paste, then dyed in indigo. The Japanese have a very similar fabric-dyeing technique with a 1400-old-history. Modrotisk is the literal translation of the Japanese word for the fabric, aizome, or “blue-print.” It is unclear how these two may be related, but Austro-Hungarian visitors to Japan in the 19th century recognized the similarities and afterward, exhibitions of the Japanese stencils were held in Moravia.

Ivana works at the Muzeum Beskyd in the Hukvaldy Castle at Frýdek-Místek. This is the area where many of the immigrants to Texas called their original home. It's in the beautiful Beskyd Mountains in the northeastern part of the country.

Hukvaldy Castle at Frydek-Mistek, Moravia, Czech Republic

Hukvaldy Castle at Frydek-Mistek, Moravia, Czech Republic

Links:

http://www.muzeumbeskyd.com/english/

https://www.academia.edu/27715450/Japanese_katazome_and_Moravian_modrotisk_Blue_Print_Techniques_in_the_19_th_Century

King and Queen of the Polka!

Stanley and Betty Nemec were recently crowned 2017 King and Queen by P.o.L.K. of A Texas Chapter 1. If you've never seen these two on the dance floor, you have missed out!!! They are frequently featured in showcase performances at In The Mood Ballroom in Temple. These two are always a crowd favorite! They bring high energy, they are skilled dancers and the sparks are always flying with these two lovebirds. But, the best thing to see is that they are just having so much fun! Congrats, Stanley and Betty! 

Stanley and Betty Nemec of Temple were crowned P.o.L.K. of A Texas Chapter 1 as 2017 King and Queen recently. 

Stanley and Betty Nemec of Temple were crowned P.o.L.K. of A Texas Chapter 1 as 2017 King and Queen recently. 

Find Yourself Here!

Veronika Ratajrkal And Pavel Jurecek

Veronika Ratajrkal and Pavel Jurecek* are students at Masaryk University in Brno, Moravia, Czech Republic. They stopped by the museum while visiting their friends in Waco during Christmas week. They both studied here in Texas a few years ago at McLennan Community College, but had never visited the Czech Heritage Museum.

Both Veronika and Pavel had relatives who had emigrated from Czechoslovakia to the U.S. before WWII and hoped to find some record of them in our library. We weren't able to find information for Pavel, but Veronika found her relatives, including an address listed that is occupied by her family members to this day! She called her father in the Czech Republic, who has been researching the family's history. She said, "This will be the best Christmas present for him!"  

(*this font does not recognize the diacritical marks.)

Celeste Banda

Celeste Banda volunteered at the Museum a few summers ago, while an undergrad at the University of Texas at Austin. She is now working on her master's at Charles University, Prague and stopped in over Christmas to catch us up on her exciting life! She is pictured here with a Josef A. Lada triptych in our gallery. 

Celeste Banda stopped in to see the Josef A. Lada exhibit and catch up with staff. 

Celeste Banda stopped in to see the Josef A. Lada exhibit and catch up with staff. 

He found his Family Heirlooms here

Ronnie Macek came to the Museum recently and told us that his grandmother, Mary Janacek, had donated her wedding dress to the museum many years ago. Not only did we find the dress, but we also located an original photograph of his father, Joe Hacek, which Ronnie had never seen! 

Looking for Bell County Czechs

Genealogists Danny Leshikar of Liberty, Missouri and Richard Lesikar of Granbury, Texas hosted a genealogy event at the Museum October 6, 2016.

Vintage photos of Czech public and church schools in Bell County were enlarged and set out for participants to search for known faces in the images. 

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Free Family Tree Help!

Genealogists Danny Leshikar of Liberty, Missouri and Richard Lesikar of Granbury, Texas will offer free help for descendants of Czech immigrants looking for information about their families.  

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Alice Lunakova's Texas Lecture Tour

Alice Lunakova spoke to packed rooms at all three Texas Czech museums on her lecture tour this month. Alice is a recent graduate of Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. She is presenting her bachelor's thesis on Czech immigration in the early 1900s, for which she researched while in Texas last year.

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