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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).

“Herbarium of Tatra mosses” of Tytus Chałubiński

Tytus Chałubiński’s herbarium of Tatra mosses is the most valuable botanical collection at the Dr Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum. Doctor Tytus Chałubiński (1820–1889), a man of broad horizons and multiple interests, a great physician with a passion for botany, is one of the legendary figures of Zakopane.

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.

Stained glass door a mortar surrounded by medicinal plants

Witraż pochodzi z jednej z wrocławskich aptek, dla której około 1900 roku wykonał go warsztat witraży Adolfa Seilera we Wrocławiu. W centralnym punkcie witraża znajduje się moździerz aptekarski, wokół którego rozmieszczono rośliny lecznicze: tojad (Aconitum L.) pokrzyk wilczą jagodę (Atropa belladonna L.), mak lekarski (Papaver somniferum L.) oraz naparstnicę purpurową (Digitalis purpurea L.).

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.

Salt stalactite

This was used to identify a stalactite with an elongated, spindly-shape, hanging from the ceiling, for example, in a cave. It turns out that, in the case of halite, secondary crystallizations that grow from top to bottom can also take forms that are far from their classic appearance.

Salt stalagmite

This is crystalline halite, in the form of “Christmas tree” stalagmite, from crystals with an incomplete crystallization structure, with rusty-brown colouring, because of the iron compounds present. The saline stalagmite, resembling the shape of a Christmas tree, is the result of the free growth of halite crystals under stable conditions of temperature, airflow, and humidity.

White salt stalagmite

This consists of crystalline flowstone halite, formed in the form of a “Christmas tree” stalagmite, growing in the form of a “shrub” composed of salt crystals. The specimen has a white colour with a hint of grey. The natural complement to a stalactite is usually a stalagmite — a similar structure growing from the ground.

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.

Concentration of halite crystals

Halite is a mineral from the halides group; its main component is sodium chloride (NaCl). A monomineral rock composed of halite constitutes halite rock salt, commonly known as rock salt. The presented specimen has a historical nature and it comes from the Crystal Grotto in the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

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.

“Roztruchan” decorative cup

Aside from its practical functions, the silver tableware collected and stored in Old Polish houses also had representative functions. There was also a separate group of dishes of a primarily decorative character, whose original, sophisticated form, perfection of composition, and materials used for their production were to dazzle and delight the guests.

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.

Horn of Salt Diggers Brotherhood of Wieliczka

The horn of Salt Diggers Brotherhood of Wieliczka is a unique Renaissance work of art commemorating the past wealth of Kraków salt mines. It is the only historical object of such preserved in Poland — the genuine horn of an aurochs (the species that became extinct in Poland in the 17th century, the ancestor of cattle), precisely framed in silver embedded in various golden ornaments.

Spice container from Austro-Hungary

A container for fragrant spices (e.g., clove, cinnamon, vanilla, myrtle), the aroma of which is ritually inhaled during the ceremony called Havdalah (in Hebrew: separation) held in Jewish houses at the end of Shabbat.

Etrog tin

An etrog tin in the shape of a pomegranate with three leaves, oxidised and open in the middle. The exhibit presumably belonged to rich Jews, as only they could afford such a decorated, silver container, used to carry the etrog to a synagogue on the holiday of Sukkot.

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.

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.