The Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids is the new home for a huge bronze statute which was buried underground and then stored in a crate for much of the last century. The eight-hundred-80 pound, bronze statue is the likeness of a beloved Czechoslovakian leader. The statue of the first Czech president, T-G Masaryk, was hidden from the Nazis by its owner, who buried it in his garden in 1939.Dan Baldwin, director of the Czech and Slovak Museum says while the statue was saved from the Nazis, it was soon seized by another regime. Right after World War Two, the statue was dug up and was being put on display in a town square when the communists took power in Czechoslovakia and seized the artwork. In the 1960’s the owner got the statue back and it was brought to the U-S. The owner’s children got the statue in the 1970’s and it remained in a crate.Baldwin says the statue arrived in Cedar Rapids a couple of months ago. The statue is life-sized — Masaryk was six foot one.Baldwin says Masaryk is such a compelling symbol, they rushed to get the statue cleaned up for display. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4p.m. and over the summer, the museum’s open on Sundays from noon ’til four.
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