The secrets of two massive wooden boxes donated to the national by a noted Czech botanist and poisons expert in 1901 with instructions they should not be opened for 200 years will not be revealed early by scanning, the county’s National Museum has decided.
The museum opened up a public debate in April about whether the contents of the massive boxes should be revealed in advance of the deathbed instructions of donator Bohuslav Jiruš but most of the responses on the museum’s website fiercely opposed the idea.
Speculation has surrounded the contents of the boxes and whether university professor Jiruš might have hidden some formulas for miracle medicines, dangerous poisons, or biological samples, or just the everyday contents of his Prague flat which was cleared on his death.
‘We will now focus not on the boxes but to find out more about the person and find the answer in his papers what is in the boxes – and why he did what he did and left them to us.’
Jiruš, a fervent writer of articles about plants and other academic subjects and collector of books and articles, also passed on his archive to the predecessor of the National Museum. And it is in Jiruš’ writings rather than a modern scanner that the investigation over the contents of the boxes will now focus.
“We will now focus not on the boxes but to find out more about the person and find the answer in his papers what is in the boxes — and why he did what he did and left them to us,” the National Museum’s general director Michal Lukeš told Czech public broadcaster Czech Television (ČT).