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

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.

Lajkonik’s costume designed by Stanisław Wyspiański

The costume of Lajkonik, also called the Zwierzyniec Horse, designed by Stanisław Wyspiański in 1904, could be seen in the streets of Kraków until 1963. The costume used today during the annual frolics of Lajkonik is a faithful copy of the displayed exhibit. Although legend associates the origins of Lajkonik celebrations with the Tatar invasions of Kraków in the 13th century, the first ever source reference to it dates back to 1738.

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].

Pelmet

The elongated rectangle of maroon velvet consisting of three rectangles sewn together: the largest embroidered one in the centre and two smaller ones attached on its sides, not embroidered. The decoration in a silver and gold-like hue fills in the surface of the central rectangle: a crown flanked by griffins-lions and vases with flowers. Above them, right at the upper edge, runs a one-line Hebrew inscription composed of four divided words: כתר תורה “Crown of the Torah”

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.

Copperplate engraving “View of Kraków from the south, from the Krakus Mound”

The inscription in the field of view, at the top, in the middle, in the cartouche: CRACOVIA / MINORIS POLONIAE METROPOLIS.; in the central part, against the river: VISTULAFL. REGNVM DIVIDENS; in the lower left corner a cartouche with a legend in two columns, which explains the type and name of the fourteen buildings marked with letters in the view; on the frame of the cartouche on the left the date, “A(nn)o 1617”; below the legend “Depictum ab Egidio vander Rye / communic Georgius Houfnaglius”.

Painting “City Hall north view” by Teodor Baltazar Stachowicz

The view shows the edifice of the city hall on the Main Square in Kraków, according to its state before its demolition in 1820. In the foreground, you can see the Renaissance part of the complex with the characteristic attic; on the left, the upper parts of the city hall tower.

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 “View of Mikołajska's Gate” by Teodor Baltazar Stachowicz

This is a view of a part of Mikołajska Street, closed by Mikołajska's Gate. On the left, you can see the characteristic window grates and the gutter protruding on the street, and, on the right, a fragmentary view of the Church of Our Lady of the Snows in Gródek can be seen. The gate is covered with a tent roof with a break—the hole in the base is topped with a sharp arch.

Ring of the Kraków’s mayors

The date of creation was engraved inside the golden hoop of the ring: 1532. The octagonal sapphire stone of the ring is decorated with Kraków’s coat of arms made in a concave relief. The ring was the symbol of the mayor’s power, and also served as a city seal. The stone needed to be made from a hard, abrasion-resistant material.

Vase with a dance circle motif

A vase with a flat bottom and a belly gradually widening upwards. Around the vessel a decorative ornament presenting a circle of dancing figures holding each other’s hands, also serving as a vase handle. The pottery and tile ware factory, J. Niedźwiecki and Co. in Dębniki, was also famous for the production of artistic faience in the years 1900–1910.

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.

Inscriptions on the walls in the former Gestapo prison at Pomorska Street

The Pomorska Street Branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków is located in the Silesian House [Dom Śląski] on the corner of Królewska Street and Pomorska Street. During WW II, the building of the so-called Silesian House, which houses the branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków today, was occupied by the Germans.

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 “Tadeusz Pankiewicz in the company of four people in the duty room”

Dr Roman Glassner is sitting in a dark leather armchair in the middle; on the left is Helena Krywaniuk sitting back on an armchair, leaning against Aurelia Danek who is standing behind her. Dr Leon Glück is sitting back on the seat on the right. Tadeusz Pankiewicz stands behind the armchair in the background.

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.

Torah shield

Rectangular, closed with a trifoliate arch, with the figures of Moses (on the left) and Aaron (on the right), and the Decalogue tables (in the middle), with the initial words of the commandments engraved in Hebrew. The figures of Moses and Aaron are flanked by spiral columns. On their plinths are Hebrew inscriptions marking the date: on the right plinth, תקס ("560"), on the left: לפק (“according to the abbreviated calculation”) [=1800]. In the three-leaf top, three openwork crowns with colourful glasses are attached.

Kraków nativity scene by Roman Sochacki

An average-sized nativity scene in Kraków — illuminated, mechanical, three-levelled, five-towered, with 23 wooden painted figures. In the recess, on a round platform the figures of carol singers are spinning around (death, Herod, a soldier, a Jew, an angel, a devil), entering and exiting through decorated portals; in the centre there is a Christmas tree against a stained-glass window; in the foreground is a group of Lajkonik, raftsmen with maces, and a band of Mlaskots (musicians from Zwierzyniec who accompanied Lajkonik, playing the drums, the violin and the bass).

Kraków nativity scene by Marian Dłużniewski

Kraków nativity scene, small, illuminated, not mechanical, multi-towered. The Holy Family is in the middle, set against the altar. On the right is a figure of a Kraków resident with a nativity scene, on the left is a figure of a highlander with a star. Above, in the recess (a kind of a side-altar), a figure of Christ (like from a contemporary painting), on the right a figure of a nun (St. Faustina).

Hanukkah synagogal candelabrum

Candelabrum, synagogal, nine-branched. Supported on a flat base, tapering in a bell-like shape to the top. A multi-levelled stem, finely profiled, with four pairs of branches fixed in the sockets cut in its flat elements. The branches are slightly flattened, curved and finished with a trifoliate at the bottom.

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