Ethnographical Museum, Krakow
As I was a newcomer in Poland it seemed to me that a visit to the Ethnographical museum might be a useful thing to do during my visit of Kazimierz. The museum is not much visited what is regrettable because it is a good museum organized in a modern way with indications in Polish and English .
On the ground floor there is a series of rooms, each one being a reproduction of a folk interior from different regions of Poland. I much liked this part of the museum allowing me to enter into the privacy of the Poles from a century ago. Nice is the flowery décor of that Krakow room from 1920 (photo 1) .
On the first floor it has the world’s largest collection of Polish national costumes, too many to count them, and a collection of musical instruments (photo 2) .
I got interested by the collection of agricultural instruments. They were similar to those used in Flanders by my uncle and aunts when I was a kid. The harrow hanging on the wall (photo 3) was not very different from the one used by my uncle. His harrow and plough were pulled by one of these famous Belgian horses of which my country exported large numbers to the USA (still used by the Hamish I read).
On the top floor are examples of Nativity Cribs (photo 4) and spring time customs (photo 5).
Open 11 - 19 h, Thursday 11 h - 21 h, Sun 11 - 15 h. Closed Mon.
Price 8PLN, reduced 4PLN. Sunday free for permanent exhibitions. Toilets on the right of the ticket desk.
The Ethnographical Museum, situated in the Old Town Hall of Kazimierz, is an interesting look at traditional life, folklore and customs in Poland especially during the 19th and 20th Century.
The ground floor includes detailed reconstructions of peasant cottages with traditional furniture, painted ceilings and large stoves – behind which was often a sleeping place for the young or old of the house. Inside these are displays of traditional cooking implements and house wares, including bridal chests, and tools relating to traditional crafts such as a spinning and weaving. The rooms are colourful – incorporating a lot of flower motifs – and give a good impression of what it must have been like to live in the cramped but homely environment.
On the upper floors are exhibitions relating to elements of rural life such as fishing, hunting, cheese-making and bee-keeping illustrated by the use of objects and photographs. There is a lovely display of traditional Polish costumes from around the country, woollen trousers for men decorated at the waist and bottom, blouses, bodices, decorated skirts and lace coverings for the women.
Folklore is also explored in the rituals, objects and costumes associated with various festivals and celebrations some of which, such as Christmas Carollers, Painted Easter Eggs and wonderful Nativity Cribs are still current.
Not all the exhibits are labelled in English but there are laminated information sheets in each room which explain the themes explored on the displays. Also the guide book, available to buy at the information desk, is full of helpful and interesting detail.
The Ethnographical Museum is a fascinating place and gives the visor a flavour of what rural like was, and to a certain extent still is like, in Poland while exploring the country’s rich folklore and cultural traditions. Recommended.
Housed in the old Town Hall on Plac Wolnica. We didn't have a digital camera at that time and when we took this photograph a member of the security staff suddenly rushed round. I think we probably could have got permission if we had had a digital camera where we could turn off the flash except that the entrance staff could not speak any English.
The ethnographic museum was one of our favorite museums in Krakow. Its collection focuses on the life of Polish people over the past few centuries. The ground floor features recreated rooms from houses around Poland in the 1800s. The top two floors feature exhibits of ethnic costumes, decorative eggs, religious art, photos from rural Polish villages, and costumes from various festivals. One of our favorite exhibits was an exhibit of very intricately decorated creches.