The National Museum in Kraków is the oldest Polish museum with the “National” moniker. It was established in 1879, initially as a museum of Polish contemporary art. Thanks to subsequent donations and acquisitions, it stands today one of the greatest museums in Poland, in terms of the number of buildings (17), branches (11) and items entrusted (800,000). Although the Museum still specialises mainly in Polish art and culture, its property also contains exquisite collections of European and world art, e.g. paintings, graphic works, Western European sculptures, Far East art and crafts, ancient art, Orthodox church art, Judaica and an extensive collection of crafts, military items and fabrics from the West and East as well as numismatic items.
The Museum’s scientific activities led to it becoming the only museum in Poland to receive the status of a research unit, granted by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. The National Museum organises several dozen exhibitions and temporary displays each year, which are acclaimed by visitors and the media. It also conducts various educational activities for different age groups as well as the disabled and disadvantaged people.
According to the prestigious British magazine Art Newspaper, the National Museum in Kraków is the only Polish institution classified among the most popular world museums. It is visited by more than 650 thousand people each year.
The main building of the National Museum in Kraków is located at 1 Aleja 3 Maja. It is one of the most interesting Modernist buildings in Kraków. It houses three permanent galleries: “Arms and Uniforms in Poland”, “Gallery of Decorative Art” and “The 20th Century Polish Art Gallery.”
The first seat of the National Museum in Krakow was in the Cloth Hall [Sukiennice], which still houses the Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art (Main Market Square nº 1–3). It is one of the largest permanent exhibitions of 19th century Polish paintings and sculptures in Poland.
In the Gothic and Renaissance Bishop Erazm Ciołek Palace [Pałac Biskupa Erazma Ciołka] (Kanonicza Street nº 17) there are two permanent galleries open to visitors: “The Art of Old Poland. The 12th–18th Centuries”, “Eastern Orthodox Church Art of the Old Republic of Poland” and an atelier collection of architectural sculptures.
The Emeryk Hutten-Czapski Museum [Muzeum im. Emeryka Hutten-Czapskiego] (Piłsudskiego Street nº 10–12), re-opened for visitors in 2013 after 70 years, is situated in the 19th–century Czapski Palace and the neighbouring Łoziński House. It presents the largest collection of Polish numismatic items in the world as well as splendid foreign numismatic items stretching from ancient times to the modern age.
The National Museum in Kraków has four biographical museums. The Matejko House [Dom Jana Matejki] (Floriańska Street nº 41) is the oldest biographical museum in Poland. The artist’s works and mementos left by him can be seen in the house where he was born, where he lived and worked.
The Mehoffer House [Dom Józefa Mehoffera] (Krupnicza Street nº 26), with its authentic equipment preserved, is surrounded by one of the most exquisite gardens in Małopolska. It contains the works of this painter who lived during the Young Poland period.
The Szołayski House [Kamienica Szołayskich] (Plac Szczepański 9) contains exhibitions devoted to Stanisław Wyspiański, the most prominent representative of Art Nouveau, and to the art of his era. It also houses a temporary collection of mementos of Wisława Szymborska, the Nobel Prize in Literature winner.
The Karol Szymanowski Museum [Muzeum Karola Szymanowskiego] in the “Atma” Villa in Zakopane (Kasprusie Street nº 19) is situated in a historical building in the Zakopane style, dating back to the 19th century. In the 1930s, it was the home to the second most famous Polish composer after Chopin. It is the only museum of Szymanowski in the world and the venue for concerts as well as lectures devoted to music.
The Princes Czartoryski Museum [Muzeum Książąt Czartoryskich] (św. Jana Street nº 19) is currently undergoing a renovation. The Gallery of Ancient Art is available in the adjacent Arsenal (Pijarska Street nº 8).
The Princes Czartoryski Library [Biblioteka Książąt Czartoryskich] (św. Marka Street nº 17) contains collections of books and manuscripts as well as the archives of the Czartoryski family. It also houses a collection of manuscripts from the National Museum in Kraków.
A new branch, the EUROPEUM European Culture Centre [Ośrodek Kultury Europejskiej EUROPEUM], was opened in September 2013 in a former 17th century Granary (pl. Sikorskiego 6). It houses a permanent exhibition of collections covering a period of seven centuries of Western European painting art and is a centre of information of Western European paintings in Poland. EUROPEUM is to be a venue of exhibitions, events, concerts and lectures devoted to European culture in the broadest possible sense.
Elaborated by Katarzyna Bik (Promotional Section of the National Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved
Photograph by Karol Kowalik (Photography Studio of the National Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved
phone 12 433 55 00
phone 12 433 56 00
phone 12 433 56 37