Worth-Visiting Museums in Poland
No one has ever doubted that Poland has a rich, often dark, but exceedingly interesting history to tell. Not limited to the simple course of time, and the events that have occurred within, the Polish story is one that has its fingers in many pies - from war and conflict, to film, art, architecture and literature. Accordingly, there is a thriving museum selection across the country, in both the major cities and smaller towns, each chronicling some aspect of the Polish narrative. If you're visiting Poland then take a look at this list of some of the country's highest rated or more unusual museums and exhibition centres, to make sure you don't miss out.
Muzeum Narodowe (Kraków and Warsaw)
This is an umbrella name for all the various branches of Poland's national museum. Its main site is in the southern city of Kraków (on Ul. Maja), but there is also a large exhibition on permanent display in Warsaw (housed in the impressive, purpose-built neoclassical building, on Jerusalem Avenue). There are numerous other displays curated by the Muzeum Narodowe all over the country, and the total number of items in the museum's collection is vast. The displays contain a wide range of objects, ranging from ancient artefacts to modern art, but a speciality focus has been placed on exhibiting Polish painting since the 16th century.
Żydowskie Muzeum Galicja (Kraków)
The Galicia Jewish Museum is tellingly located in Kraków's old Jewish quarter, and focuses its exhibitions on the remnants of Jewish culture in Polish Galicia. The permanent exhibition is divided into five parts, each detailing its own epoch of Jewish history in Poland. The museum has become a centre of cultural events and has participated in the Kazimierz festival of Jewish culture.
Roads to Freedom (Gdańsk)
Charting the development of one of Poland's most formative periods of history. Between the end of World War II, and the fall of communism, the trade unionist movement of Solidarność, was responsible for championing the cause of Polish democratic freedoms in the face of the Soviet Union. Ultimately successful, this museum's permanent displays detail the various periods of the movement's history, from the swelling of power in the 60s to the eventual diminishing of Russian power in Poland. Definitely worth a visit.
Muzeum Kinematografii (Łódź)
For cinema lovers, Poland is the land of kings. Having given the world some of its most famous and accomplished directors, the city of Łódź is now home to the cinematographic museum, that charts the progress of Polish born filmmaking, since the advent of cinema. The displays are housed in an impressive historical building, once owned by one of Poland's leading industrialists, Karol Scheibler.
Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina (Warsaw)
Frédéric François Chopin was one of the undisputed greats of European Romantic composition on the piano. Born in the village of Żelazowa Wola, close to the Polish capital, Chopin later left for Paris in 1831 never to return to his homeland. Today, the formation of his works are chronicled in the capital, and the permanent display at the Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina is testimony to the enduring national love of this composer, once hailed as 'more Polish than Poland'.
The Polish Ethnographic Museum (Tarnów)
This museum in the south eastern city of Tarnów, is a great introduction to the history of Poland's gypsy population. It displays chart the course of Roma history in Eastern Europe from the period of first mass migration from the orient around 1000 years ago. The museum is also located in an impressive manor house, dating from the 18th century.
Naturally there are loads more options for the fan of all things Polish, and in most cities there are easily accessible tourist centres which can point you in the direction of what it is you want. That said, the above list should give you some idea of the variety and richness of cultural heritage that is on display right across the country.