The Historical Museum of the City of Krakowa

The Historical Museum of the City of Kraków presents the past heritage of Kraków and focuses on showing all the aspects of its long and complex history. Established in 1899 upon the initiative of Kraków councillors, it shows the history of the city from its early beginnings, through its incorporation as a medieval town, the period of partitions and autonomy, World War II, to the People’s Republic of Poland. It also describes the social, professional and artistic activities in the city as well as the daily life of its population.
The three Museum branches – Pomorska Street (Ulica Pomorska), the Eagle Pharmacy (Apteka pod Orłem) and Oskar Schindler’s Emalia Factory (Fabryka Emalia Oskara Schindlera) – form the Remembrance Trail with three exhibitions constituting three complementary stories: People of Krakow in Times of Terror 1939–1945–1956 (in the “Pomorska Street” Branch), Tadeusz Pankiewicz’s Pharmacy in the Kraków Ghetto (in the “Eagle Pharmacy” Branch) and Kraków under Nazi Occupation 1939–1945 (in the former administrative building of Oskar Schindler’s Emalia Factory).

The museum exhibits are divided into fourteen branches:
The Krzysztofory Palace (Pałac Krzysztofory) (Main Market Square n° 35) — the history of the city, temporary exhibitions
Rynek Underground (Rynek Podziemny) — multimedia archaeological show Following the Traces of European Identity
Medieval municipal structures — Town Hall Tower, city fortifications with the Florian Gate and three adjacent towers as well as the Barbican
The Hipolit House (Kamienica Hipolitów) (The Marian Square nº 3) — bourgeois interiors dating back to the 17th–19th centuries
The Old Synagogue (Stara Synagoga) (Szeroka Street nº 24) — the most precious items from the museum’s Judaica collection
Oskar Schindler’s Emalia Factory (Fabryka Emalia Oskara Schindlera) — Kraków under Nazi Occupation 1939–1945 exhibition
Pomorska Street (Ulica Pomorska) —The People of Kraków in Times of Terror 1939–1945–1956 exhibition
The Eagle Pharmacy (Apteka pod Orłem) — Tadeusz Pankiewicz’s Pharmacy in the Kraków Ghetto exhibition devoted to the Holocaust and the operation of the Kraków ghetto
“Celestat Branch (Lubicz Street nº 16) — the history of one of the oldest marksman brotherhoods in Europe
The History of Nowa Huta Quarter (Dzieje Nowej Huty) (os. Słoneczne 16) — the quarter’s history and monuments
The Zwierzyniec House (Dom Zwierzyniecki) (Królowej Jadwigi Street nº 41) — the house of the Zwierzyniec Art Salon
The Cross House (Dom pod Krzyżem) (Szpitalna Street nº 21) — the Stanisław Wyspiański Theatrical Museum

Elaborated by Julia Czapla, Joanna Kotarba,
Licencja Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

Photograph by Wojciech Szczekan, arch. MIK (2015),
Licencja Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

www.mhk.pl

Rynek Główny 35,
31-011 Kraków


phone 12 619 23 00
phone 12 619 23 02
Fax 12 422 32 64
page museum

Opening hours

The Krzysztofory Palace — permanent exhibitions
Tuesday  — Sunday
10.00 — 17.30

Ticket Prices

The Krzysztofory Palace — permanent exhibition normal 12 PLN reduced 8 PLN family 24 PLN normal group 8 PLN reduced group 6 PLN Tuesday — free admission
Objects

Manuscript “Divrei David” of Dawid ben Jakub

The words of David. Commentary on the Jewish calendar. In the introduction the author writes that the knowledge concerning the Jewish calendar is scattered in the papers of Rishonim and Acharonim (medieval and later scholars), and from generation to generation slowly fades away due to the small number of those who could understand and practice in this area.

Mock-up of decorations of act I of “Legenda II” (“Legend II”) by Stanisław Wyspiański

This mock-up is one of the most valuable objects in the collections of HMK, related to the scenographic activity of Stanisław Wyspiański. As an experienced theatre practitioner and stage director of his dramas, Wyspiański made scenography sketches, decorations, and costume designs, as well as mock-ups.

Woodcut “View of Kraków from the north”

It is the oldest representation of Kraków and the cities of Kazimierz and Kleparz. It was made for the requirements of what was, at that time, the monumental historical and geographical atlas, Liber Cronicarum, by Hartmann Schedl. The view is in an intermediate form between a panorama and a plan, which means that the side elevations have been taken into account in the restoration of the city development, and, at the same time, the area is shown slightly from above. It presents a schematic image of the buildings, to some extent in accordance with the reality of Kraków from the end of the 15th century, that provides the impression of being an accurate reflection of its topography. It is not, however, accurate in its detail, and does not reproduce the actual location and appearance of the buildings.

Welcoming cup of Sword Bearers' Guild

A welcoming goblet is a cup, often made of tin, which was used to raise solemn toasts by guild members. The opportunity could be, for example, to welcome a craftsman coming from another city to the guild (hence the name of “welcoming goblet” from the German wilkommen — to greet) or a free journeyman (official admission to the masters). The joint celebration of religious ceremonies also ended with a common feast of guild members at the guild's inn.

Urn for the Piłsudski Mound with the ground from all the airports of the Second Republic of Poland

A large urn in the form of a cylinder, on a round flat plinth, supported on three stylised animal paws. At the edge of the urn is a crowned eagle with outspread wings. On the external wall of the urn is a map of the Second Republic of Poland on which all the airports are marked; above the map is a flying airplane, further to the right the marshal’s baton and a relevant inscription. The urn contains ground collected from 40 airports.

Spice container from Austro-Hungary

A container for fragrant spices (e.g., clove, cinnamon, vanilla, myrtle), the aroma of which is ritually inhaled during the ceremony called Havdalah (in Hebrew: separation) held in Jewish houses at the end of Shabbat.

Silver fowler of The Fowler Brotherhood

The silver fowler of the Kraków Fowler Brotherhood is one of the most valuable objects in the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków. This is an example of the work of an outstanding goldsmith of Renaissance Kraków. Unfortunately, we do not know either the artist's name or the goldsmith's workshop responsible for the creation of the bird's sculpture. Very few of the marksmen's societies can boast of an original, well-preserved, cockrel of this type.

Silver cup designed by Jan Matejko

The collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków features an interesting 19th-century goblet of unknown history. According to tradition, it was associated with the figure of Jan Matejko. The silver goblet has a lid made in a historic style, with its form and decoration resembling Gothic chalices.

Sculpture “Bust of Józef Szujski” by Józef Hakowski

A small, barely 40 centimetre tall statuette depicts one of the greatest Krakow historians and journalists of the 19th century: Professor of Kraków Alma Mater, Józef Szujski. The bronze bust depicts a middle-aged man with a distinctive look: a high forehead, combed hair, and a short beard with moustache.

Sculpture “Artist’s Family” by Józef Marek

On the rectangular base, a rectangular wall was placed vertically. To the rear part of the wall, artists attached a transverse board, creating a king of a bench on which three figures sit: a woman, a man and a boy between them. This is the family of Józef Marek, portrayed by the artist. The artist is holding a brush and a palette — the attributes of his profession, as he is not only a sculptor, but also a painter and this is what he wants to accentuate.

Salada type helmet

The closed profile of the helmet and the shiny, smooth surface of steel, contrasts with the heads of spirally twisted rivets, that — despite their severe functionality — provide it with an extraordinary elegance. Until the middle of the 20th century, this helmet was considered a 19th-century copy. Covered with a thick layer of black paint (designed to protect against corrosion) it closely guarded its secrets. After being subjected to maintenance procedures, not only did this reveal its raw beauty, but also shed light on its mysterious past. It represents a late Gothic form of the helmet, evolved from the medieval cervelliere, widespread at the end of the 15th and early 16th century. It appeared in numerous variations and variants, serving both knights and soldiers from other classes.

Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski

A funny puppet representing Jacek Malczewski in a caricatural character of Jacek Symbolewski was purchased for the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków in 1962. It makes a valuable reminder related with the Young Poland cabaret called Zielony Balonik [Green Balloon] operating in the period from 1905 to 1912 on Floriańska Street in Kraków in the Cukiernia Lwowska [Lviv Confectionery] opened by Jan Apolinary Michalik and hence called Jama Michalika [Michalik’s Den].

Pistol with circular lock

Today, most researchers believe that Leonardo da Vinci — whose drawings were developed technically and used practically in Germany at the beginning of the 16th century — was the first proponent of the idea of a wheel-lock, which led to the construction of the first wheel-lock, which, in turn, made it possible to popularize short guns, otherwise known as pistols.

Photograph “The staff of Tadeusz Pankiewicz’s The Eagle Pharmacy”

The photograph was taken either in 1942 or 1943, in the times of the Kraków ghetto in Podgórze. It presents Tadeusz Pankiewicz accompanied by his employees: Helena Krywaniuk (in the background), Aurelia Danek (in the middle) and Irena Droździkowska. Contrary to their superior, the women did not stay in the ghetto at night.

Photograph “Ludowy Theatre” by Henryk Hermanowicz

The black and white photograph shows the building of the Ludowy Theatre in Kraków-Nowa Huta from the side of the main entrance on Władimira Majakowskiego Street (today: Obrońców Krzyża Street).

Photograph “John Paul II in Mistrzejowice” by Stanisław Gawliński

Jokingly, we can say that John Paul II owes his career to Nowa Huta. The troubles connected with the construction of the new church in Nowa Huta, created by the communists, had compelled Bishop Eugeniusz Baziak to take action. He appointed Karol Wojtyła, despite his young age, as his deputy.

Photograph “Federation of Fighting Youth demonstration” by Stanisław Gawliński

Under the state of martial law, Nowa Huta was the largest bastion of the independent, self-governing Labour Union “Solidarity”, that was operating underground at the time. Huge demonstrations took place here, often turning into dramatic clashes with the authorities. With the passing of time, however, the activity of the underground began to diminish, and it eventually restricted its actions to publishing underground newspapers and self-help. The situation didn't change before the late 1980s, when a new generation of activists came to the fore. Its core were the young workers and students most often belonging to such organizations as the Confederation of Independent Poland, Fighting Solidarity, the Freedom and Peace Movement, and the Federation of Fighting Youth.

Photograph “Church in Mistrzejowice” by Stanisław Gawliński

Nowa Huta was exceptionally fortunate as it was home to a multitude of excellent photographers. Some of them had been resident in the district almost from the first day of its creation. Others were attracted by ‘constructionalism’ or simply were given a flat here. Even more photographers followed, in order to fulfil the assignments of the editorial offices or to find interesting topics, plenty of which Nowa Huta had to offer.

Painting “View of Kraków's north fortification” by Józef Brodowski

A view of the northern section of Kraków's defensive walls with the Barbican, the neck connecting it with Florian Gate and the towers, from the left: Karczmarzy I, Pasamoników, Stolarska and Ciesielska. On the far right is the one-storey Kleparz building. The ring of fortifications, with wall towers and gate towers, surrounding Kraków, was built during the Middle Ages and became a characteristic element of the city's panorama. A significant part of the defensive walls was built at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. In the southern part of the city, they were probably completed in the1st quarter of the 14th century. From the mid-14th century, the fortifications were maintained at the cost of the city and gradually expanded. o Craftspeople of various specialities were responsible for the direct care of their individual sections, from whom the names of the towers were derived.

Painting “Self-portrait against the view of Kraków” of Julian Fałat

The painting presents the renowned water painter and the director of the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts — Julian Fałat. This self-portrait, unusual in its form, is a kind of tribute paid by the artist to Kraków — the Young Poland mecca of art at the turn of the 20th century. The painting is composed of two grounds divided by a horizontal line of the balcony sill on which three jackdaws are sitting.

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