The beauty of the Tatra Mountains, the abundance of nature there and the uniqueness of the highlander culture delighted intellectuals of the Young Poland period to whom we owe the foundation of the Tatra Museum. Today, it is a place where one can learn about the history, culture and nature of the Podhale, Spiš and Orava regions. People can also see the former and contemporary artistic activity of the highlanders and some characteristic Podhale costumes. The oldest collections are from the 18th century and the most recent ones date back to the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum collection includes a priceless set of 19th-century female costumes of the Czorsztyn area. Also, costumes from the Podhale, Spiš and Orava regions, and interesting collections of household objects (including a łyżnik – a wooden shelf with holes for spoons, and shepherd’s equipment), richly decorated using woodcarving techniques.
The collection housed in the Nature Department presents botanical, zoological and geological specimens from the Tatra Mountains. A moss collection gathered by a patron of the museum, Tytus Chałubiński, also typical specimens of sawflies of the Megalodontidae family, gathered and described by Professor Andrzej Gaździcki, and Antoni Kocyan’s collection of birds are the most valuable items to the museum. Numerous paintings, sculptures, graphic works, fabrics and handicraft representing the Tatra Mountains are exhibited in the Art Department. They include graphic works depicting mountain landscapes by Leon Wyczółkowski and Rafał Malczewski. Furthermore, we can also find here many works by Władysław Hasior, which will spark the imagination, and also pastel portraits by Witkacy. The Zakopane style, created and promoted by Stanisław Witkiewicz, was influenced by the highlanders’ folk culture. Another branch of the museum presents the development of the construction industry in Podhale in the 19th century and the attempts made in the 1st half of the 20th century to make it a national style. It is housed in a building which itself is designed in this style.

Main Building (Gmach Główny) – the history, ethnography, and nature of the Podhale region

Branches in Zakopane:

Gallery of 20th-Century Art at Oksza Villa (Galeria Sztuki XX wieku w willi Oksza) – the activity of artists from Zakopane during the Young Poland and interwar periods
Gallery of Art in Koziniec (Galeria Sztuki na Kozińcu im. W. i J. Kulczyckich) – a collection of eastern carpets as well as paintings and graphic works by the contemporary artist, Marek Żuławski
Museum of Zakopane Style (Muzeum Stylu Zakopiańskiego) – Inspirations – origins of the concept of the national style inspired by the culture of Podhale highlanders
Museum of Zakopane Style at Koliba Villa (Muzeum Stylu Zakopiańskiego w willi Koliba) – the first house in the Zakopane style, according to Stanisław Witkiewicz’s design
Władysław Hasior Gallery (Galeria Władysława Hasior) – gallery of the artist’s works
Kornel Makuszyński Museum (Muzeum Kornela Makuszyńskiego) – the writer’s works are presented here in a former apartment of the Makuszyński family

Branches in the Podhale and Spiš:
The Museum of the Chochołów Uprising (Muzeum Powstania Chochołowskiego) – the history of the patriotic uprising of the highlanders during the Spring of Nations
Łopuszna Manor (Dwór w Łopusznej) – a former seat of the noble, patriotic families of Lisicki, Tetmajer, and Lgocki
Korkosz Farm in Czarna Góra (Zagroda Korkoszów w Czarnej Górze) – ethnographic exhibition – an example of a farm in Spiš from the interwar period
Sołtys Farm in Jurgów (Zagroda Sołtysów w Jurgowie) – ethnographic exhibition – an example of a farm from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries

Elaborated by Julia Czapla, Joanna Kotarba,
Licencja Creative Commons

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

Photograph from Tatra Museum collection, © all rights reserved

ul. Krupówki 10,
34-500 Zakopane

phone 18 201 52 05
phone 18 201 29 35
Fax 18 206 3872
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Opening hours

The Main Building
Monday  — Tuesday
Wednesday  — Saturday
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Zakopane style desk

Apart from paintings and sculptures, the collection of the Art Department of the Tatra Museum also includes a rich set of furniture. The visitors are particularly attracted to the Zakopane-style furniture. A desk and a chair designed by Wojciech Brzega can be seen, among other things, on permanent display at the Museum of the Zakopane Style at the Koliba Villa.

Zakopane style chair

On utility and artistic national duty... Apart from paintings and sculptures, the collections of the Art Division at the Tatra Museum also include a rich collection of furniture. Visitors pay the greatest attention to the ones in the Zakopane style. The permanent exhibition at the Museum of Zakopane Style in the Koliba villa features, among others, a desk and a chair designed by Wojciech Brzega.

Wooden sculpture “Pensive Christ”

Small-sized wooden sculpture of the 19th century from the area of the Polish Podtarze region, depicting Pensive Christ. It cost one crown and in 1914 it was purchased in Nowy Targ by Ksawery Prauss, a collector from Zakopane. In 1920, he donated his collection to the Tatra Museum and thus the sculpture, along with 93 other ethnographic objects from Podhale, became part of the museum collection.

Wooden sculpture “Madonna and Child” of Jan Kluś

The folk sculpture Madonna and Child was made in the 19th century by a village woodcarver Jan Kluś of Olcza (originally, Olcza was an independent settlement, now it is a district of Zakopane). It belongs to the most outstanding sculptures in the collection of the Tatra Museum.

Wooden sculpture “Highlander”

Full wooden sculpture depicting a man’s figure dressed in a folk outfit similar to outfits worn by Podhale highlanders in the 2nd half of the 19th century. It was purchased for the Tatra Museum’s collection in the 1990s. There is no information about its author, place, or time of completion.

Wooden chalice designed by Stanisław Witkiewicz

Maria Dembowska, along with her husband, Bronisław, gathered one of the first ethnographic collections of the Podhale region). One of the items she donated to the Museum in 1922 was a wooden model of a church chalice designed by Stanisław Witkiewicz...

White cucha jacket

White cucha jacket, in local dialect: cucha bioła — a kind of traditional outer clothing worn by men in Podhale. The cucha jacket on display constituted an element of the Sunday best outfit. It was sewn and most likely decorated in 1966 by Czesław Styrczula-Maśniak, a well-known folk tailor from Dzianisz. A year later it was purchased for the collections of the Dr. Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum in Zakopane.

Tafetta skirt

Skirt of silk taffeta brocaded with a silk thread – an element of a woman's festive dress from the Podhale region. The skirt comes from Zakopane or its vicinity. Its fabric dates back to the second half of the 18th century. The time when the skirt was made and the period of its use are unknown.

Spoon rack

Spoon rack — a small narrow wooden shelf with holes for spoons, covered in the front with a decoratively carved board, used for storing spoons; hung on the wall of the room. It comes from Józef Lesiecki’s collection created in Zakopane in the years 1912–1914, and was transferred to the collections of the Tatra Museum in 1920.

Shrine with a scene of the Scourging of Christ

Shrine of the cabinet type, intended for hanging, with three figures presented in the scene of the Scourging of Christ. The shrine comes from the Podhale region but we do not know the name of its creator, the time of production and its exact place of origin. It was bought by Maria and Bronisław Dembowski for their collection during the years 1887-1893.

Sculpture “Piper playing at the shrine” of Stanisław Wójcik

Intimate conversation One of the major institutions in Zakopane was the School of Wood Industry. It was founded upon the initiative of the Tatra Society in 1876 as a wood carving school “to support the poor highland population and local industry”, over time it became an important point on the cultural map of Zakopane because it educated many artists who made great contributions to its art.


Seasonal high-mountain herding was a traditional form of breeding in Podhale. For several months in a year people used pastures for sheep, and also for cows, oxen, goats and horses in the past. In pastures situated in the Tatra Mountains they had shelters where sheep milk was processed to make cheese. The dishes that were present in every shepherd’s shelter included, for example, scoops (cerpoki), wooden cups with a decorated handle that were used by shepherds to drink żentyca — sheep milk whey.


A clay pipe shod in a nickel silver sheet with a wooden stem. Decorated with an engraved and stamped geometrical ornament and metal rings (zbyrkadła) attached. The pipe cover is finished with an eight-point, cone-shaped, metal pinnacle (cubka) crowned with the figure of a cock (kohutek) cut out of a metal sheet. The stem is connected with a pipe neck with a double chain.

Painting on glass “Our Lady with Child of Mariazell”

Our Lady of Mariazell is one of the most broadly used images of St. Mary that can be found in paintings on glass. Legend has it that in 1157 a Benedictine monk from the abbey in St. Lambrecht set out with his pastoral mission to the vicinities of this Austrian town. He was accompanied by the figure of Our Lady with Baby Jesus sculpted in the lime-tree wood.

Painting on glass “Our Lady of Ludźmierz” by Władysław Walczak-Baniecki

The Our Lady of Ludźmierz painting on glass was painted in 1970 by Władysław Walczak-Baniecki (1930–2011), folk artist from Zakopane. It is one of three paintings of his on this theme included in the collections at the Tatra Museum. The other two were completed in 1967 and 1973. They were all painted according to one scheme developed by the artist and repeated in every painting, and they differ only in the colour scheme.

Painting on glass “Highland robbers — welcoming of Surowiec”

The collection of historical paintings on glass in the Tatra Museum includes 459 paintings. Most of them are paintings on sacral themes that performed religious and decorative functions in the highlanders’ rooms. Only thirteen of them are secular images. Nine of them are devoted to the scene drawn from the bandit’s legend when Janosik’s fellowship receives a new companion who shows off his agility and, while jumping over a bonfire, simultaneously cuts the tip of a spruce with a shepherd’s axe and shoots off the tip of a fir–tree with a pistol held in the other hand.

Painting “White and red” by Tadeusz Brzozowski

It can be boldly stated that the famous “Z. village” has always been known as a place where the human species known as artists are present in unprecedented density. The majority of respondents to the question: “Who do you associate Zakopane with?” would reply “Witkacy”.

Painting “Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz self-portrait”

On “unity in plurality”: about the artist and his face The portrait has been and still is one of the most frequent themes in paintings and sculptures. It was known as early as in ancient Mexico and Peru, and artists from Mesopotamia, Egypt and China, as well as Greece and Rome were also familiar with this aspect of art. For years it performed manifold functions.

Painting “Spring in the mountains” by Rafał Malczewski

The Tatra Mountains have always fascinated, delighted and bewildered everyone with their power. They have threatened us with their volatility and have punished daredevils severely who have given up their caution. Ultimately, they have been a real artistic challenge for all those who wished to tame them and include all that has always fallen outside any frames on a flat piece of cloth or paper.

Painting “Portrait of Nena Stachurska” by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz

Woman? Child? Demon? ... Who can you see? Place of action — Zakopane — “Z village.” Time of action — April 1929. Protagonists — artist Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz and his model, this time Nena Stachurska. Nena was one of the favourite models of Witkacy, right next to Helena Białynicka-Birula, Janina Turowska–Leszczyńska and Eugenia Kuźnicka-Wyszomirska.

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