Photos: Museum Meetup at National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library and Sykora Bakery
CEDAR RAPIDS – History came alive for members and friends of Save CR Heritage during a Museum Meetup on Sunday, Nov. 17.
About 20 people met at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids for the quarterly meetup. Save CR Heritage created the free meetup events last year to bring together people with a shared interest in history.
Attendees learned about the monumental move of the 1,500-ton museum in 2011, which relocated the building to higher ground after the devastating flood of 2008.
The epic flood caused more than $11 million in damage to the museum, with 8 feet of water inundating the building.
The move of the museum is of particular interest to Save CR Heritage, as the nonprofit group moved a home a few years ago and continues to look for others to move buildings as one way to save historic properties in Cedar Rapids.
Save CR Heritage has been raising awareness of at-risk historic properties in Cedar Rapids since 2012. Help continue this important educational and advocacy work by donating here. We can’t do it without you!
Sarah van Deest, the museum’s Director of Event Services, gave information about the museum’s library — often used for genealogical research for people of Czech and Slovak descent — as well as other programs and exhibits offered at the museum.
Some attendees visited the Sleger immigrant home. The one-and-a-half story house, with no electricity or indoor plumbing, was home to five generations of the Sleger family from the 1890s through 1984 in Cedar Rapids, after they immigrated to the United States from Bohemia.
They also shopped in the museum store, watched videos in the theater and were able to view exhibits, including “Medieval To Metal: The Art & Evolution of the Guitar,” and “Bethlehem and Beyond: The Nativity Scene.”
Celebrated Czech folk artist Marj Nejdl also chatted with the group.
John Rocarek, owner of Sykora Bakery, 73 16th Ave. SW, provided the group with a sneak peek of the Airbnb under construction in the upstairs of the bakery, built in 1900 and first used as a saloon called the Dew Drop Inn.
Charles and Anna Kosek opened the first Czech bakery in the building in 1903. Joseph Sykora, who worked for the Koseks, bought the building in 1927. He and his wife, Clara, owned and operated Sykora Bakery for nearly 40 years.
Meetup attendees dined on Sykora’s kolaches, goulash and other Czech foods offered at the bakery, and checked out the T-shirts, books and other items sold in the basement store of the building.
Rocarek hopes to have the Airbnb completed by the end of this year. Original elements, including woodwork, are being reinstalled in the space.
Follow Save CR Heritage on Facebook to learn about upcoming Museum Meetups, see photos frompast meetups and more from today’s meetup, below: