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Photo of dedication ceremony
President Bill Clinton, Czech President Vaclav Havel and Slovak President Michal Kovac dedicate the museum, October 21, 1996

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National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library
A Local Legacy

What are some of the ethnic groups in your community? Do any of them have a museum to honor their heritage? Cedar Rapids, Iowa, may not seem a likely place for a museum honoring Czechs and Slovaks, but that's exactly where you will find the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library.

In October 1996, three heads of state, America's Bill Clinton, the Czech Republic's Vaclav Havel, and Slovakia's Michal Kovac dedicated the museum and library, which were created to preserve the cultural traditions of some of the first immigrants to the Cedar Rapids area -- Czech and Slovak farmers. Although there are differences, Czechs and Slovaks share a common Slavic heritage. An interesting piece of shared Czech and Slovak culture is that spiders are considered good luck. So don't forget to say "dobr'y den" the next time you see a spider. It means "good day" in Czech!

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