Chocotopia chocolate treasures

Wax Museum Grévin Praha has reopened rather unexpectedly, after being closed for about two months. It has new owners and a new plan. After spending the summer in its current form, it will change into a new museum called Chocotopia that combines chocolate with the existing wax figures, and also adds a focus on Czech legends.

People who want to see the wax museum in its original form now have a last chance, as its closure came so suddenly that many people who never went never had that final opportunity. But after four months, the space will definitely be transformed into a new concept.

The physical transformations of the exhibits will begin in September with the addition of a new exhibit on Prague legends, called Pražské legendy. There is a short renovation period planned, and details on the dates have not been worked out yet.

The name of what is now Wax Museum Grévin Praha will change in October to Chocotopia, with a subtitle in English saying “your chocolate experience center,”

Negotiations on the change of owners took place quickly, and the venue reopened just days after the deal was concluded. The former owner was French-based Compagnie des Alpes, which still operates Grévin-brand wax museums in Paris, Montreal and Seoul.

The new owners are the Czech firm Pekas handmade and the Belgium-based Van Belle family, which owns the Choco-Story brand name and operates chocolate museums worldwide across Europe, in New York and in Mexico.

Museum Grévin Praha is located at Celetná 15. There is already a Choco-Story Praha at Celetná 10, which will remain in operation and become the Chocotopia store.

The Celetná 15 location will also have some sales and a cafe called Choco Jungle.

Chocotopia will also cooperate with local celebrities to put palm prints in chocolate, and put out signature limited-edition chocolates. The palm prints in blocks of chocolate are meant to resemble the footprints in cement in front of some theaters.

Two floors of the current Wax Museum Grévin Praha will be dedicated to the history and overall experience of chocolate, with many interactive possibilities — meaning there will be chances to eat some. The exhibits will detail the 5,500 year history of chocolate, outline its health benefits and other aspects. Visitors will be able to experience the smell and flavor of chocolate. There will also be a chocolate factory and space for workshops.

A third floor of the museum will have the current wax figures of Czech and global celebrities. And more local celebrities might actually be added to give the venue something distinctive.

A final part of the new concept is to bring some focus to legends and tales about Prague.

Wax Museum Grévin Praha opened May 1, 2014, in a gala event with many Czech celebrities including Lucie Bílá, Aňa Geislerová and Helena Vondráčková showing up to pose with their wax counterparts.

It was only the second branch of the French-based wax museum chain, following the one in Montreal that opened in 2013.

The museum has a mix of 80 figures of global and Czech stars from film, entertainment and politics. Other local celebrities depicted in wax included Emperor Charles IV, Franz Kafka, Václav Havel, Karel Gott and Miloš Forman.

The museum is located in a modern functionalist building on the otherwise historical street. The building was originally a store owned by the Baťa family. It was designed by Czech architect Josef Gočár and built between 1933 and ’34.