History behind the museum
Since Sokol South Omaha began in 1888, members have donated thousands of items from original Sokol uniforms and commemorative medals, to badges, books and photos. The museum showcases memorabilia and history of the Sokol movement, its founder, and numerous competitions from across the United States and internationally. It is a wonderful collection of Czech history, a portion of which is detailed below.
The Sokol organization was founded by Miroslav Tyrs in 1862 and was the most famous sporting group in what was once Czechoslovakia. The first Sokol unit in the United States was formed a short while after, in St. Louis, MO in 1865, and the Sokol unit in South Omaha formed in 1888. In Prague, colorful gymnastics rallies known as Slets, were held regularly until the German occupation in 1938.
Sokol fulfilled its patriotic role during the World War I, playing a key role in the national resistance to the Nazi occupation. Sokol members helped to keep peace in many towns and were often called the Czech National Army. Sokol was almost liquidated three times, the last attempt being in 1948 when they were officially banned by the communist regime.
Following a period of hibernation, Sokols across the world struggled to revive their once-grand organization. The beginning of the new era of Sokol was not easy. Sokol had to fight for the recovery of many of its gymnasiums, sports grounds and other property, as well as find its place among the new generation of citizens.
Today, the Sokol is known as a great organization for physical training in gymnastics and other athletics, uniting almost 1,100 units and 190,000 members across the United States. International Slets, similar to the Olympics, are still held today across the Czech Republic for all Sokol Gymnasts.
The Sokol played a key role in the national resistance to the Austrian Empire and the Nazi occupation. In America the SOKOL is known as a great organization for physical training in gymnastics and other athletics. Sokol was founded by Miroslav Tyrs and Jindrich Fugner in 1862 as the first physical education organization in the Austro–Hungarian Empire at a time of political freedom in the 1860´s. Many significant Czech patriots took part in the foundation of The Prague Gymnastic Association (renamed Prague Sokol). The foundation of the unit in Prague took place on February 16th, 1862.
Eight other units were founded in Bohemia and Moravia in the same year. In 1968, struggles for Sokol revival were killed by normalization and so after 42 years of hibernation, Sokol was restored for the fourth time in 1990. The beginnings of new era of Sokol are not easy. Sokol must fight for the recovery of its gymnasiums, sports grounds and other property. Also, Sokol faces generation problems. Today, the CSO unites almost 1,100 units and 190,000 members. Almost half of the members attend sporting classes, which means that there are also many young people. More and more young people also become Sokol functionaries.
Soon after it was founded colorful gymnastics rallies known as Slets were held regularly in Prague until the German occupation in 1938. In the 1930s one third of all Czechoslovak citizens were members of the Sokol Organizations.
Sokol fulfilled its patriotic role during the World War I. When Czechoslovak legions were founded and during the days of the revolution in October 1918, Sokol members helped to keep peace in towns. Sokols were often called Czech national army. Sokol was almost liquidated three times. Firstly, Sokol was banned during the World War I., in 1915. Secondly, it happened during the Nazi occupation of Czech lands and finally, Sokol was banned by the communist Regime after its last Slet in 1948. In 1968, struggles for Sokol revival were killed by normalization and so after 42 years of hibernation, Sokol was restored for the fourth time in 1990.
Since Sokol South Omaha began in 1888, members have donated thousands of Sokol related items from uniforms, commemorative medals, badges, books, awards, photos to many other souvenirs. It is a wonderful collection of Czech history.
The Sokol South Omaha Museum is a private collection of Sokol items displayed on the lower level of the Sokol South Omaha Community Center.
Sokol South Omaha Museum
2021 U Street
Omaha, NE 68107
Hours of Operation:
Mondays 9:00am – 12:00pm
Wednesdays 9:00am – 12:00pm
Thursdays 9:00am – 12:00pm