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The European bee-eater

The former name of this bird (Merops apiaster Linnaeus, 1758)—the bee-eater—says a lot about its biology. The bee-eater (Merops apiaster is its full name according to the binominal nomenclature of species) is a bird from the bee-eater family (most species from this family occur in Africa and Asia). It feeds on insects, including bees and wasps caught in flight. bee-eaters establish nests in loess escarpments by drilling special tunnels in them (usually in high escarpments and banks).

Simon Syrenius’s “Herbarium”

Autorem Zielnika... jest Szymon Syreniusz (ok. 1540–1611), lekarz i botanik, profesor Akademii Krakowskiej. Dzieło zawiera opisy 765 roślin leczniczych wraz z ich leczniczym zastosowaniem. Monografia zawiera drzeworytnicze wizerunki roślin. Jak wynika z tytułu, był on przeznaczony lekarzom...

Rock salt hair and fibrous salt

White salt hair grows on a light grey marl loam. Salt hair is a very original form of those taken by halite. Fibres – in fact, halite crystals in special conditions – grow in one direction. Sometimes, the density of fibres may favour their crystal clumping. The hair then transforms into a fibrous salt, preserving a specific needle structure.

Glass decorated with scenes from the legend of St. Hubert

Glass of milky and pink colours, on a small base of a jug-like shape, decorated with a painted hunting scene of the legend of Saint Hubertus.

The Albino magpie

This bird has a very characteristic black and white plumage, black beak and legs. Its dark feathers have a metallic sheen, green-navy one on wings, as well as scarlet on the head and back, distinguishing it from the corvids. The presented specimen is unique, because of a very rare gene mutation that caused a lack of pigmentation in this individual and, as a result, its white plumage in places where magpies normally have black or light-brown feathers.

Photograph “Sheaves of corn against the steelworks plant” by Henryk Hermanowicz

The photograph taken by Henryk Hermanowicz (1912—1992) gives a perfect example of the then propaganda, in which those who were smarter could see the criticism of the authorities who decided to build industrial facilities on perfectly arable soil. It is also a kind of document of how our approach to the environment has changed. It should be remembered that until the 1970s there was no environmental awareness, even in the West.

Sculpture “Birds” by Jędrzej Wowro

Jędrzej Wowro (Andrzej Wawro) was the most famous folk artist of the interwar period. He was born in 1864 in Gorzeń Dolny near Wadowice. He came from a poor family and was used to working hard from an early age. He carved his first figurines while neglecting his shepherding duties.

Painting “At the Morskie Oko Lake” (“Tourists in the Tatra Mountains”)

It is hard to imagine Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains without tourists. They cross the town and mountain trails with great enthusiasm. The landscape attracts crowds wishing to rest in the shadows of the cool mountains, as well as artists who find an inexhaustible source of inspiration in the overpowering nature. It is assumed that the first painter of the Tatra Mountains was Jan Nepomucen Głowacki (1802–1847) and the first Tatra-related painting is the “View of the Carpathian Mountains from Poronin”, dated 1836. Later this theme was taken up by other painters, like Aleksander Kotsis. It was with him that in 1860 Walery Eljasz took his first trip to Babia Góra from which he saw the Tatra Mountains. A year later he managed to visit them. Since 1866 the mountains became his true passion. Eljasz came from Kraków, from a family where painting and art were the order of the day.

Halite crystals on the watering can

A wooden watering can, covered with salt crystals, is undoubtedly an original, but also a typical, object. Many of the objects left by the miners in the mine, especially those that were sunk in brine (salt water), changed their appearance and...

Halite crystals from Crystal Grottoes

Aggregate, the accumulation of minerals among rocks of different composition and structure, is the dictionary definition of the features of this specimen.

Halite crystals

A beautifully educated crystal seems to be something almost magical. Its transparent regular form immediately raises suspicion about the intentionality of the “creator”. However, the mystery has been revealed long time ago. Each mineral, including halite, is a crystal.

The European roller

The European roller (Coracias garrulus Linné, 1758 r.) is one of the rarest and most beautifully coloured birds in Poland. It is an insectivorous bird, specialized in hunting large insects — e.g. beetles. In our country, it lives in dry and warm habitats in a varied landscape, with fallow lands, meadows and a small area of arable land, among which single, old trees grow.

Short-toed Eagle

Short-toed Eagle — Circaetus gallicus (Gmelin, 1788) is a bird of prey in the family of Accipitridae. It feeds on different species of reptiles, especially snakes. Occasionally hunts for amphibians and small mammals. In Poland, bird is very rare — can be found...

Tree of life “Gunungan” — shadow theatre figure “wayang kulit purwa” from Indonesia

Gunungan is one of the most important figures that opens a traditional performance of the Indonesian shadow theatre wayang kulit purwa. It depicts a tree of life representing the five elements making up the universe: earth, air, fire, wind and water. It also symbolises a palace, forest, and sea, as well as the above-ground and underground worlds.

Bennettitales (a fossil plant) “Cycadeoidea polonica Wallisch”

The presented object is a fragment of the trunk of a cycad — a fossil plant. Bennettitales (Cycadeoidopsida) is a class of extinct gymnosperms which could be found all over the world in the Mesozoic era. In Poland only several specimens of the silicified sprouts of these plants, which belong to the family of Cacadeoidaceae, are known.

Tibetan medicine set

A part of the Ethnographic Museum's collection, the so-called Tibetan medicine set is one of a few complete 19th/20th-century descriptions of Tibetan medicine in the world, including a set of medicines and a description of their application. It consists of two medical manuscripts and almost 300 medicines, or actually products to prepare them such as seeds, plants, fruit and minerals, mostly labelled in the Tibetan language.

Folding TRIX 185 camera

The Trix 185 camera was manufactured at the beginning of the 20th century, during the period 1902–1920, by the German company ICA (Internationale Camera Aktiengesselschaft). It was Włodzimierz Puchalski’s second camera and comes from a period when arduous work with the film and photo camera brought the young artist his first successes.

Exakta Varex VX Camera

The Exakta Varex VX camera, version 4.3.1, was produced between July 1953 and June 1955 in the Ihagee Kamerawerk plant in Dresden. It is a single-lens reflex camera with a roll-film. 39 thousand units were produced of this version of the model.

Folding camera from 19th/20th century

Undoubtedly, Włodzimierz Puchalski’s struggles with photography were initiated by his father, Władysław, and his older brother, Roman. This mahogany folding camera was the first one that Włodzimierz Puchalski used. He got it from his grandfather, Hieronim Sykora, and as a 13-year-old boy he discovered a passion for photography.

Ammonite “Perisphinctes (Dichotomosphinctes) crotalinus Siemiradzki”

The specimen comes from the historic collection gathered in 1872 by Stanisław Zaręczny. It was marked in 1891 by Józef Siemiradzki as a new specimen (currently holotype) and then described in his publication Fauna kopalna warstw oksfordzkich i kimerydzkich w okręgu krakowskim i przyległych częściach Królestwa Polskiego, Część I: Głowonogi, (The fossil fauna of the Oxfordian and Kimmeridgian layers in the Kraków area and the neighbouring part of the Kingdom of Poland, Part I: Cephalopods) in: Pamiętnik Akademii Umiejętności w Krakowie, Wydział Matematyczno-Przyrodniczy, Vol. 18, issue I.