NEWS: 09.06.20 – The Apple Museum is closed, however, not due to the global pandemic surrounding the novel coronavirus (which has caused many museums around the world to shutter due to social distancing requirements) but a fate far worse: theft of the museum’s artifacts.
The Apple Museum, located in Prague (the capital city of the Czech Republic), up to this point had the world’s largest private collection of Apple artifacts from the Cupertino, California-based company. In a posting on the museum’s website — the specific date it was posted is currently unknown — visitors are greeted with a somber message from the curators of the museum.
The message posted on the museum’s website reads as follows:
“The exhibition is closed. Unfortunately, the biggest private collection of Apple, NeXT, and Pixar products has been stolen by the head of the Art 21 Foundation. We apologize for the inconvenience and we thank you for your understanding and your support”
A Google search for the Foundation points to many results — most referring to it as a PBS television series — including a Wikipedia entry which describes Art 21 as having been founded in 1997 to make contemporary art more accessible to the public as well as to document 21st century art and artists (from the artists’ own perspective), with their overall goal to encourage creativity and to raise the profile of major players in the world of contemporary art. It is unclear, however, as to whether this non-profit organization based in the United States is the same group whose founder has been accused of the theft of the Apple Museum’s private collection in the Czech Republic.
Business Insider, in a semi-related story, reported earlier this year in April that the Apple Museum had been temporarily closed since March due to the global pandemic and hoped to reopen soon (a fact which is currently noted on the museum’s website).
The primary focus of the story was the news that the Apple Museum was building its very own interactive replica of the garage — a site in Los Altos, California that in October of 2013 was designated a historical landmark — where Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, founded the company on April 1, 1976 along with fellow co-founder, Steve Wozniak, with the article published 44 years to the day of the founding of Apple. The exclusive from Business Insider made no mention of the private collection’s theft at that time.
Apple Museum CEO, Irene Jiroušková, told Business Insider that augmented reality technology will be incorporated into the new exhibit to allow for interaction by visitors when it opens but given the turn of events, it is unknown if the project will be completed as scheduled with the entire exhibition currently closed.
In December of 2015, Ars Technica reported that a mysterious collector had recently opened the world’s largest private collection of Apple products. Housed in three buildings in Prague’s old town, the museum has an extensive list of 472 exhibits on display, including nearly every product ever built by the Cupertino company as well as Jobs’s business cards from his time at NeXT and Pixar.
In addition to the exhibits on display, Ars Technica reported at the time that a raw vegan cafe was in the works (which has since opened but unknown if currently in operation due to the global pandemic and the closure of the exhibition). The restaurant, called “Steven’s Food,” reportedly serves dishes that were enjoyed by the late Apple co-founder himself.
According to Ars Technica, Apple itself doesn’t have an official museum of its products, although there used to be one (location unspecified) that Jobs closed soon after his return to the company in 1997.
Prior to the global pandemic — and the theft of the entire private collection resulting in the closure of the exhibition — entry cost visitors an admission fee, however, according to the museum, all proceeds were donated to charity purposes. In the meantime, to take a 3D virtual tour of the Apple Museum while it is currently closed (and its future operation now in doubt, visit the museum’s official website at: www.applemuseum360.com/.
A Note from the Author: the curators of the Apple Museum were contacted by this website for further details regarding the theft of the museum’s private collection but MacPrices did not immediately receive a reply prior to the publication of this story (a separate article will be published in this column at a later date provided a reply is received from the museum).