The Historical Museum of the City of Kraków
The Historical Museum of the City of Kraków is a municipal museum. Councillors of Kraków decided already in 19th century to take an effort to create city's own historical museum. The Historical Museum of the City of Kraków has been erected at the City Council session on 31st May 1899. At this time Museum started its activities.
The collection contained iconographic materials of Kraków, portraits of celebrities and famous citizens, graphics, historical items and documents related to guilds' activities, stamps, numismatics and medal, weaponry and other material culture elements, related to Kraków's history. Arts Museum given to Historical Museum precious collection of theatre items, related to history of Kraków's theatres.
In 1937, as well by initiative of Jerzy Dobrzycki PhD museum organized under its patronage first annual contest of Kraków's cribs, since then it is set annually apart from Second World War years. In December of 1945, during City National Council the proposition for museum statute has been presented. According to it, The Historical Museum of the City of Kraków was planned to be "independent and self-managed city branch, its aim is gathering and proper protection of all historical materials related to life and culture of Kraków since the first ages of the city's history till the current time, as well as development of science, research and education activities". One of tasks of new institution was to take care of local tradition, customs and ceremonies.
Meanwhile in the 1950s, the Museum owned important collections. One of them is memorabilia of dissolution the Marksmen Brotherhood in 1951 as enacted by the communist government with most precious treasure - fellowship's silver cock from 1565. In June of 1997, a new exhibition "The history of Kraków's Marksmen Brotherhood" has been opened in Celestat building.
In 1959 the Jewish Community gave to the museum for its statutory purposes building of the Old Synagogue at 24 Szeroka Street. Exhibition of history and culture of Polish Jews has been opened in renewed Old Synagogue in 1982.
In years 1961-1967 the City Hall Tower has been renewed as well, and then it has been give to museum to organize, seasonally open exhibition of city authorities memorabilia. In the following years ownership of museum grown, the most important event was getting in 1965 spacey building with perfect location - Krzysztofory Palace at Main Square 35, where the permanent exhibition "History and culture of Kraków" has been moved. In Krzysztofory Palace the museum's board, science and research departments have been located.
In 1982, partially museum's managed "Silesian House" at 2 Pomorska Street was made accessible for visitors, containing former Gestapo's prison cells; apart from that permanent exhibition has been set up basing on Second World War memorabilia. Current exhibition, recently rebuild is presented under the title of "Kraków in 1939 - 1956". The second building gained for museum's purposes is Hipolit House, at 3 St. Mary's square. A permanent exhibition entitled "Townspeople's house" was opened there in November 2003.
Next Museum's branch established in 1993 was Zwierzyniec's Art Showroom, at the 41 Krolowej Jadwigi Street, where small exhibition "Flat at Zwierzyniec in beginning of 20th century”. This branch is under particular care of District no. 7 Council.
Since 1999, under Museum's responsibility is Barbakan, one of most interesting examples of medieval defence made accessible for tourists in the summer.
In 2003, Museum gained another object - "Pod Orlem" (Eagle) Pharmacy at Bohaterow Getta Square 18, where during the Second World War occupation, support for Kraków's Jews was organized. In the partially restored interiors of former pharmacy owned by Tadeusz Pankiewicz, an exhibition related to tragedy of holocaust in Kraków is set.
Since 2005 we have a new branch – The history of Nowa Huta. The Nowa Huta branch was deeply involved in celebrations related to the 60th anniversary of the Nowa Huta establishment.
In June 2007 we opened a tourist route City Defense Walls – The Barbican: the museum made a part of the City Defense Walls at Pijarska Street, from the Passamentiers Tower to the Arsenal, available for public.
At 4 Lipowa Street, in old German Factory of Enameled Vessels, during the World War II owned by Oskar Schindler, we prepared new exhibition – Kraków – the occupation time (1939-1945). This place is memorial place reminding about the extermination’s times. As well in 2010 we opened Underground Main Square – underground tourist route. The exhibition is a combination of archeological reserve and multimedia presentations.
For the last few years we have been working on renovation of the Krzysztofory. We are planning to open of the exhibition dedicated to the history and culture of Kraków. At Księcia Józefa Street we have a new building – a repository for museum’s exhibits and renovation workshops. We are planning to open another branch - Museum of Podgórze.
All of those buildings, treated with great respect and reverence for their historical value. The buildings themselves constitute smaller and grater chapters of history,not only of the local comunity of Kraków, but the history of the whole Polish nation and Europe alike. A goal for all these activities is to adjust our museum to the European museums standards.
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