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

al. 3 Maja 1,
30-062 Kraków

phone 12 433 55 00
phone 12 433 56 00
phone 12 433 56 37
page museum

Opening hours

The Main Building
Monday  — Friday
9.00 — 17.00
10.00 — 18.00
10.0 — 16.00

Ticket Prices

normal 10 PLN reduced 5 PLN family 20 PLN Sunday – free admission to permanent exhibitions

Painting “Jews” by Piotr Michałowski

The group portrait of the Galician Jews belongs to the late works by Piotr Michałowski (1800—1855). It was created in a time when the artist — treating painting as a hobby — managed the estate in Bolestraszyce near Przemyśl. This painting, being actually an oil study, is similar in character to the 17th-century Dutch portraits. From the dark, abstract space busts of five Jews emerge.

Tournament armour

The tournament armour is compiled of several suits of West-European armours created in the mid-16th century. Its basic parts are the cuirass, collarbone guard, and pads and thigh guards made by the best armourers from southern Germany. The breastplate with the fishbone and goose — that is a protrusion in the stomach area — has vertical stripes with an etched motif of a floral twig entwined over a panoply and musical instruments.

Welcoming goblet of tailors' guild

The welcoming Goblet is one of Kraków's most valuable guild relics, preserved at the National Museum in Kraków. It was submitted to the museum on 19 September 1905, by the Association of Tailor's Companions, along with a collection of souvenirs belonging to the tailors' guild: a guild counter, a bell, a tray, and a crucifix.

Painting “Wernyhora” by Jan Matejko

Wernyhora – a Ukrainian lyricist and bard, according to some a legendary person, according to others a historical person living in the second half of the 18th century – became famous for political prophecies regarding the fate of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Ukraine. He was supposed to have foreseen the bloody Cossack rebellions, the partitioning of Poland, the unsuccessful national liberation uprisings and the revival of the Polish statehood.

Bas relief “Fallen Angels” by Stanisław Wyspiański

In 1895, Stanisław Wyspiański made a polychrome project for the presbytery of a Franciscan church. The composition consists of three elements: the titular fallen angels, at which the group of archers aims, and the figure of Archangel Michael, who guards the gates of paradise. A perfect accompaniment to this work is the polychrome located on the opposite side of the presbytery: Madonna and the Child and Caritas. The artist, in a visible way, juxtaposed two attitudes to life and showed their possible consequences.

Kontusz style outfit

This outfit, comprising the kontusz, żupan, trousers, kalpak, boots and karabela sabre, belonged to the Drohojowski Family from Czorsztyn. A full Polish national costume consists of an external part known as the kontusz and the żupan, the part which is worn underneath the kontusz. The kontusz was made of velvet. The back was cut in a characteristic manner with the so-called pillar, flared with a system of deep pleats highlighted with the sewn-in silk haberdashery.

“Triptych of Saint Mary Magdalene” from Moszczenica Niżna near Stary Sącz

The painting, Triptych of Saint Mary Magdalene, from Moszczenica Niżna near Stary Sącz is preserved in a rare state of completeness. The essence of the retable can be investigated based on this example. At the end of the 15th century, the retable constituted an expanded structure composed of an immovable main panel, the movable wings attached to it; a predella, which served as a basis for the wings, the main panel, and a finial.

Sculpture “Dance” by Maria Jarema

Maria Jarema — born in an artistic family, the daughter of a Lviv pianist — explored the problem of dynamics, rhythm, and the musicality of a work of art both in paintings and in sculptures throughout her whole artistically devoted life.

Painting “Fencing” by Leon Chwistek

Along with Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz and Zbigniew Pronaszko, Leon Chwistek is the main theoretician of the group of Formists who comprehensively analysed the theoretical fundamentals of art and tried to implement the theories he elaborated. Cubism and Italian Futurism were of significant importance in his paintings.

Painting “Frenzy” by Władysław Podkowiński

Along with Józef Pankiewicz, Władysław Podkowiński is considered to be the precursor of impressionism in Polish art painting. His works also gave rise to Symbolism and Expressionism trends in Polish Modernism. About 1892 Podkowiński’s oeuvre began to feature visionary and phantasmagoric depictions of the issues of love, suffering and death inspired by his personal experiences, with references to achievements by Western European symbolists.

Hussar sabre

Turkish, Damascus blade with a smooth cut. On the external side of the blade, at the base, there is a gold-embossed Eastern inscription in the cartouche with fleurons. A closed hilt. A gilded crossguard decorated with a Rococo medallion, and additionally fitted with a plastic ornament at the end of its arms and terminals. A guard bent at a straight angle leading up to the pommel, gilded and niello with floral motifs.

Painting “Son and His Killed Mother” by Andrzej Wróblewski

The painting shows a small boy embracing a woman who is presented from her shoulders down, without her head. The woman is dead, although it seems that she is returning the caress with a numb gesture of her hand. The artist painted her in a bluish azure and dressed her in a blue dress. He painted all war victims and dead people in this way — using the symbolism of blue: the sphere of shade, immateriality, and transcendence. The form generalised and knowingly made primitive as well as nearly evenly laid colour are for the condensation of essence and expression.

Garden dress

Crinoline dress made of white muslin printed with motifs of water plants at the bottom of the skirt, and flying butterflies and other insects above. A short camisole lined with a white fabric with whalebones and fastened in the front with buttons. Slotted and flared long sleeves sewn with frills.

Tadeusz Kościuszko’s sukmana coat

The homespun sukmana coat is traditionally believed to belong to Tadeusz Kościuszko, sewn of ashen cloth, with long sleeves lined at the end with red fabric, widening from the waist down. The upright collar is sewn with a red fabric inset. On the collar, along the hook-and-eye clasp, at the waist and the coat tail cut, there are brown braids of woollen string. At the bottom of the right coat tail there are four horizontal zones of blue and yellow embroidered with wool.

Torah mantle (Meil) from the synagogue in Szumsk near Krzemieniec

The cover in the form of an elongated rectangle was hand-sewn of a fabric with a tiny geometrical and floral design. On the obverse, in the cartouche, taking on the form of a laurel wreath, there is an embroidered donative inscription which reads: זנ | אשה צנועה | מרת הינדא ז”ל | בת הרב המ הג’ | מ’ שמואל כץ שנ’ | תעג לפק

Cabinet with pictures of saints

This piece of furniture is an example of the small cabinets that were popular in the 2nd half of the 17th and the 1st half of the 18th century. Its typical elements include a small wooden body with a folding door, small drawers, a hiding place, and a metal open-work decoration on the sides made of engraved iron sheet with a set of stylised plant motifs, figures of people, angels, and animals.

Sculpture “Salome” by Walery Gadomski

Salome, the daughter of Herodias and stepdaughter of King Herod Antipas, danced so beautifully that the ruler let her ask for anything she wanted. Her wish, suggested by cruel Herodias, was John the Baptist’s head. Biblical Salome is one of frequent motifs in the iconography of European art. The archetype of a dangerous seductress fascinated artists of all epochs.

Horse tack according to the family tradition after Hetman Stanisław Jabłonowski

The horse tack shown is a part of the almost typical horse-riding equipment used in the Republic of Poland by rich noblemen and magnates in the 17th and 18th centuries. The tack consists of a saddle, a girth, stirrups and a bridle with szkofia and a breastplate. The shabrack with a pair of tassets also originates from Adam Sapieha's collection, though the previous owner is unknown.

Woodcut “Bright Weather after the Snow Storm in Kameyama” by Utagawa Hiroshige

Utagawa Hiroshige occupied a special place in the collection by Feliks Jasieński: the collection gathered more than 2,000 woodcut boards by this artist. The abundantly represented landscape genre helps us appreciate Hiroshige as an artist who was considered to be the master of recreating the mood created by snow, rain and fog.

Włocławek reliquary (Kruszwica reliquary)

The Włocławek reliquary (also known as the Kruszwica reliquary) was created in the 2nd quarter of the 12th century, supposedly in Swabia. It is linked to the Zwiefalten workshop. The exhibit is in the form of a rectangular low chest on four legs made of oak wood and covered with a copper sheet decorated with champlevé (blue, fair blue, white and green), engraved and gilded.

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