The museum encourages us to become familiar with the history of Gorlice which, since the 16th century has been linked with the extraction of crude oil and which, in the 19th century became the birthplace of the European oil industry. Apart from the history of the exploitation of liquid gold, in the museum one can learn about the World War I period, which was particularly important for the town. In 1915, the joint forces of Austria, Hungary and Germany fought a battle against the Russian army in this area. The battle was crucial to the fate of the eastern front but very destructive for the town. After the withdrawal of the troops only several dozen houses were left standing. In the museum one can see, among other items, a model of the battlefield as well as numerous relics connected with this event.
In the 19th century, the streets in Gorlice were lit by the world’s first street oil lamp, which was constructed by Ignacy Łukasiewicz. A visit to the Museum is the perfect opportunity to become familiar with the history of the oil industry of the region. In a reconstructed section of a former pharmacy one can see, for example, an original pharmaceutical alembic which was used by Łukasiewicz to distil crude oil. There is also a collection of various oil lamps – table, mining and rail man’s lamps. The exhibition also presents some products created from oil from the local oil refinery.

Elaborated by Julia Czapla, Joanna Kotarba,
Licencja Creative Commons

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

Photograph by Marek Antoniusz Święch, arch. MIK (2014),
Licencja Creative Commons

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

ul. Wąska 7-9,
38-300 Gorlice

phone 18 352 26 15
page museum

Opening hours

April  — September
Tuesday  — Friday
9.00 — 16.00
Saturday  — Sunday
10.00 — 15.00
October  — March
Tuesday  — Friday
9.00 — 16.00
Saturday  — Sunday

Ticket Prices

normal 8 PLN reduced 5 PLN

Commemorative cartridge made of shell

An artillery shell, engraved and stylized into a vase, is characteristic of so-called trench art. Such objects — not necessarily of utilitarian function — were made by soldiers with artistic talents for themselves or to order. Often, objects of this type were created in free time in the trenches, during breaks in fighting, or only after military service had ended.

Manuscript “Charter of shoemakers’ guild”

The charter of the shoemakers’ guild is laced with a parchment stripe at the bottom. It is a legal document regulating the structure and tasks of this guild in the town of Gorlice. It was drawn up in Latin. The existence of the charter of the shoemakers’ guild in the 2nd half of the 15th century (the year of 1450) showed the high position of the town with a perfectly developing craftsmanship, and — what followed — the functioning of guilds.

Old print. Marcin Kromer’s work, “De origine et rebus gestis polonorum libri XXX”, published in Basel

Marcin Kromer’s old print, being one of the oldest book relics, is entitled De origine et rebus gestis polonorum (On the origin and deeds of Poles). The printed book by Kromer (in Latin) shows the 16th-century researcher’s state of knowledge about history and it is also an interesting source in the field of research contemporary to him on the oldest history of Poland.

“Polish” violin

The so-called “Polish” violin. Its original bow has not survived. The violin was made by Antoni Hybel from Ropa, a village situated close to Gorlice. The then press wrote about the instrument in 1925: “because of this invention, a complete reform of the structure of a violin took place.

Manuscript “Privilege for the villages of Gródek and Kąclowa”

Historians define the privilege as a document issued by the monarch to a particular group, state or — like in the case of Gródek and Kąclowa — a concrete place. It was enforced only on a particular land which was mentioned in the document of the privilege.

Ignacy Łukasiewicz’s distilling apparatus

The presented apparatus is the pride of the Gorlice collection. With this apparatus Ignacy Łukasiewicz managed to obtain kerosene, which — when applied to lamps then — allowed him to light up not only the inside of flats, but also the streets. For the first time in the world a kerosene street lamp flared up in...

Chest for grain

The lockable presented chest—decorated with zigzag and oblique grid motifs—was used for grain storage. It was carved in an interesting way. The craftsman who made it either knew—or had come into contact with—the achievements of Roman culture.

Sculpture “Maria Sobańska's bust” by Konstanty Laszczka

The bust of Maria, née Skrzyńska Sobańska, made in the Art Nouveau style, was carved out of Carrara marble. The object—acquired after the liquidation of a mansion—was transferred to the Regional Museum in Gorlice. Maria Sobańska came from the influential Skrzyński noble family, which had the title of “Count” .

Commemorative plaque “Pustki Hill”

This is a memorial plaque, stamped in commemoration of the battle of Gorlice, depicting the attack on Mount Pustki near Gorlice, on which fierce battles were fought on 2 May 1915, during the Gorlice operation.

Commemorative plaque “Cannon 30.5 cm Škoda”

This memorial plaque—which is also an ashtray—was stamped to commemorate the battle of Gorlice and presents a 30.5 cm mortar, which was used during the battle.

Escutcheon of Gorlice city

This consists of an oval shield, which decorated the entrance to the municipal council of Gorlice from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The shield has numerous bullet holes, being clear evidence of the battles which took place in the city and its surroundings for six months, at the turn of 1914 and 1915.

Painting “Oil wells of Lipinki” by Tadeusz Rybkowski

The oil painting—Oil wells in Lipinki—by Tadeusz Rybkowski was painted in 1894. Originally, it was hung at the manor of the Byszewski family in Lipinki, a town rich in oil deposits and well-known for its exploitation and processing of these resources.

Table oil lamp

When Ignacy Łukasiewicz distilled kerosene and co-participated in the construction of the lamp fuelled by it, he significantly revolutionized the current style and comfort of life. Under the influence of his invention, lamps with a variety of intended applications, methods of assembly, and ornamentation, appeared.

Sculpture “Pensive Christ”

The figurine of the Pensive Christ was made of Pińczów limestone at the end of the 16th century. On the back of the sculpture, the date "1593" is engraved. Originally, it was placed in a chapel in Gorlice, at the intersection of important trade routes. In this chapel in 1854, the world's first street lamp was lit.

Top of a chapel built after the Swedish Deluge

This consists of metal element from the top of a chapel, built in 1664. Ten years earlier, Gorlice had been burned down and its inhabitants largely murdered by a Transylvanian army, who laid waste to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the south during the Swedish Deluge.

Coif scarf from the region of Gorlice

The tulle shawl, richly decorated with white, hand-made embroidery, is a characteristic element of women's costumes from Podgórze Gorlickie (the Gorlice Foothills).