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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.

Kazimierz Piotrowski’s dog tag from the Warsaw Uprising

A dog tag is an inextricable part of a contemporary soldier's equipment. The dog tag allows one to identify the corpse of a soldier. This dog tag epitomises the improvisation in the combat conditions of the Warsaw Uprising...

Miniature of the sarcophagus of Casimir IV the Jagiellonian from the Holy Cross Chapel of Wawel Cathedral

A factory for the production of artistic metal castings was established in Warsaw, in the Kingdom of Poland, by Karol Fryderyk Minter. Minter was of Prussian descent and was educated in Berlin and Copenhagen. The factory became famous for its ornamental works (which were predominantly patriotic in design) which were produced during the years 1845–1879. One series produced comprised a set of twenty-one memorials of Polish rulers, including sixteen miniaturized copies of royal and princely tombs, with nine of these being Wawel royal tombs.

Photograph “The staff of Tadeusz Pankiewicz’s The Eagle Pharmacy”

The photograph was taken either in 1942 or 1943, in the times of the Kraków ghetto in Podgórze. It presents Tadeusz Pankiewicz accompanied by his employees: Helena Krywaniuk (in the background), Aurelia Danek (in the middle) and Irena Droździkowska. Contrary to their superior, the women did not stay in the ghetto at night.

“A Bust of Lenin” by Xawery Dunikowski

Xawery Dunikowski (1875–1964) is one of the greatest Polish sculptors of the 20th century. The present bust of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin comes from the post-war period in the artist’s work. After the WWII, the ideas of social realism carried Dunikowski away. However, ideological activities did not translate into the form of his works: he remained faithful to the expressive, simplified form he developed in the interwar period.

Silver cup designed by Jan Matejko

The collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków features an interesting 19th-century goblet of unknown history. According to tradition, it was associated with the figure of Jan Matejko. The silver goblet has a lid made in a historic style, with its form and decoration resembling Gothic chalices.

Commemorative box with coins and a banknote from the times of the November Uprising of 1831

At the time of the November Uprising, which broke out in Warsaw in 1830 to oppose Tsarist Russia, the National Government ordered a series of new coins to be made including a 3 copper groschen, a 10 coin groschen, silver two- and five-zloty coins and gold Dutch ducats.

Photograph “Tadeusz Pankiewicz in the company of four people in the duty room”

Dr Roman Glassner is sitting in a dark leather armchair in the middle; on the left is Helena Krywaniuk sitting back on an armchair, leaning against Aurelia Danek who is standing behind her. Dr Leon Glück is sitting back on the seat on the right. Tadeusz Pankiewicz stands behind the armchair in the background.

“Corda Fidelium” cup

In the case of the Tarnów collection, the cultural background of the epoch has its counterparts in the Sarmatian culture, characterised by the owner’s need for the ostentatious presentation of his affluence and wealth. The primacy of nobility and magnates, who were in possession of huge estates and enjoyed wide privileges in the 18th century, influenced the development and industrialisation of the country.

Zorka Wollny, untitled

Zorka Wollny’s work situates itself between theatre, dance, music and visual arts. Her achievements include video films – distinguishing themselves with a pictorial vision – concerts and choreographic performances involving numerous actors (often realized together with Anna Szwajgier). In projects that refer to the form of an audiovisual show, the artist plays the role of director and producer, inviting musicians, actors, and dancers to cooperate, working with members of local communities, amateur clubs, and groups that share common interests. The essential element of her projects is space: works are created as a result of observing the existing conditions created by the architecture of the place, as well as penetrating its private, public, and institutional aspects.

Legionary plaque of the town of Kęty

This plaque, like many similar ones in Galicia, was prepared in order to raise funds to support the widows and orphans of soldiers fighting during World War I. This manner of collecting money became popular during World War I. This was related to the financial burden that fell on the Austrian government. The reason for this was mainly the costs associated with the increasing number of wounded and victims.

Commemorative pink glass

Most probably, the glass shows the bust of Adolf Starzeński, commemorating his participation in the Polish national uprising against Russia at the turn of 1830 and 1831...

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.

Renaissance plate

This plate was originally located above the entrance gate to the city of Biecz. It belonged to Mikołaj Ligęza from Bobrek (c. 1530–1603) who obtained the position of starosta (district governor) of Biecz in 1561, through his marriage to Elżbieta née Jordan, and in 1575 the position of the governor of Biecz Province from Jan Tarło.

A plaque commemorating Jan Stanisławski by Konstanty Laszczka

The reliefs commemorating Stanisław Wyspiański (1869–1907) and Jan Stanisławski (1860–1907) are set at eye level in the wall by the landing of a staircase between the first and second floors of the main building of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków.

Strupek Group, “Rocket”

The starting point for the performance Rocket, was the text of a futuristic poem by Anatol Stern, Europe, published in 1929. It was processed by the members of the Strupek Group, using a modern internet tool — Google translate — to obtain an absurd, mechanized form of language. However, what survived is the essence of the original poem and its embedded story of the brutality of the 20th century history, the traps of totalitarianism, and the triumph of violence, whose horror was highlighted by ghostly sounds extracted from a theremin (an electroacoustic musical instrument constructed in the 1920s by a Soviet physicist Lev Termen). The oppressiveness of the situation increased the audience’s involvement in the space of the show itself and confronted them with characters shouting out consecutive lines: Priest, Altar Boy, Mother, Rocket, and the Sacrificial Lamb, conducting the action. The play, which was recreated three times, was an adequate conclusion of the public activity of the Strupek Group — from then on, the fates of its members were to go down their individual paths.

Old print. Marcin Kromer’s work, “De origine et rebus gestis polonorum libri XXX” (with Grodecki’s map)

The presented old print is the most complete issue of one of the best known works by Marcin Cromer with the Polish title: O pochodzeniu i czynach Polaków ksiąg trzydzieści [About origins and deeds of Poles in thirty books] (the first Polish translation of the work written in Latin came out in 1611).

Fragments of the Grunwald Monument demolished by the Germans

The head of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas (45 x 35 cm) — the head of a middle-aged man with a short neck, slightly bent down, long hair combed backwards. Around the neck a wide strap with threaded screws.

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.