Distant history and contemporary art

People sitting on the benches, in the background a view of the church and the castle.
Krakow is a city in which there are dozens of extremely interesting museums. Let's start the tour around Krakow's collections with the Wawel Royal Castle, where the State Art Collections are located. Among the attractions, which visitors can admire at the Wawel Castle, there are representative royal chambers and exhibitions: Lost Wawel, Crown Treasury, Oriental Art and a collection of works of early Italian painting from the Lanckoroński family collection.

The National Museum in Krakow has one of the most important collections, not only in Poland but also in Europe. In its numerous branches, you can admire thousands of works of art and exhibits. Let's start, however, with the representative Main Building at the 3 Maja alley, in which you will find, among others, the painting “Girl with Chrysanthemums” by Olga Boznańska The following branches can be distinguished within the structure of the National Museum: Bishop Erazm Ciołek Palace (where you can find the sculpture “Madonna from Krużlowa” of an unknown author), Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art in the Cloth Hall (consisting of four rooms with works of Jan Matejko, Józef Chełmoński, Artur Grottger or Henryk Siemiradzki), Jan Matejko House, Józef Mehoffer House (the museum is completed by a picturesque garden designed by the artist), the Szołayski Tenement House dedicated to Feliks Jasieński, the Princes Czartoryski Museum (it is here, that you can admire one of the most valuable paintings in the Polish collections, namely “Lady with an Ermine” by Leonardo da Vinci), the Czartoryski Library, the Emeryk Hutten-Czapski Museum and EUROPEUM – Europeum Culture Centre.

The history of the city can be explored by visiting the Museum of Krakow. Its head office is located at the Main Market Square. One of the main goals of this institution is to cultivate local traditions (hence, among others, the Krakow Christmas Crib competition organised since 1946). The numerous branches and branches of the Krakow Museum include: Barbican and City Defence Walls, Town Hall Tower, Old Synagogue (with the permanent exhibition “History and Culture of Krakow Jews”), Oscar Schindler's Enamel Factory (it was here that the German entrepreneur Oskar Schindler hired Jews and entered them to the “Schindler's list”, thus saving the from extermination), Eagle Pharmacy, Pomorska Street, Hipolit House (permanent exhibition “The Bourgeois House” will make you travel back in time), Nowa Huta Museum, Celestat, Zwierzyniec House, Cross House, Museum of Podgórze (with the exhibition “City in the foot the Krakus Mound”), Thesaurus Cracoviensis, Rydlówka, KL Plaszow. Particularly noteworthy is another branch of the Museum of Krakow – the Rynek Underground opened in 2010, which can boast of, among others permanent exhibition “Following the traces of European identity of Krakow” – a multimedia spectacle that, thanks to modern technologies, allows you to go back to medieval times.

But that's not all! Fans of history and art can visit places such as: the Museum of the People's Republic of Poland, the Archaeological Museum (it was founded in 1850, which makes it the oldest institution of this type in Poland), the Galicia Jewish Museum (created in an old Jewish furniture factory), The Ethnographic Museum or the Museum of the Home Army dedicated Gen. Emil Fieldorf “Nil” (the only place of this kind in Poland).

Other museums worth mentioning are the sites of the Jagiellonian University: the Jagiellonian University Museum Collegium Maius (where you can admire items related to the history of the university, including astronomical instruments used by Nicolaus Copernicus) and the Museum of Pharmacy of the Jagiellonian University (exhibitions cover five floors, including cellars and attic, one of the rooms is dedicated to Ignacy Łukasiewicz – the inventor of the kerosene lamp and pioneer of the oil industry in Europe).
Among other interesting Krakow museums you will find: the Stained Glass Museum, Theatre Lumber (an exhibition opened in 2016 for those who want to get to discover theatre behind the scenes), the Museum of Municipal Engineering (located in the historic halls of the oldest tram depot in Krakow), the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology (the famous director Andrzej Wajda, fascinated by the works of Japanese artists, contributed significantly to the creation of this place), Lipowa 3 Glass and Ceramics Centre, Garden of Experiences (sensory science park for children and youth), Museum of Insurance (the only such in the world), the Amber Museum, Cricoteca (exhibitions and discussions are organized in the building of the former power plant) and the Pinball Museum.

Two other popular Krakow museums deserve a separate mention. The first of them is the Polish Aviation Museum, where on the grounds of the former airport you will find numerous exhibits related to the history of aviation, including over 200 aircraft! The second very important place on the museum map of Krakow is MOCAK – Museum of Contemporary Art. Opened in 2010, the Museum is located in the former Oscar Schindler Factory. Its mission is to present contemporary art while implementing educational projects. The permanent collection includes works of artists from around the world. It is one of the museums most visited by tourists in Krakow.

When searching for interesting museums, we can leave the city as well. Our suggestions include Museum of the Abbey of St Adalbert in Staniątki, Museum in Tyniec, Regional Museum of the Miechów Land, BWA “U Jaksy” in Miechów and museums located in Niepołomice: Museum of Niepołomice, Museum of Phonography (the only museum of this type in Poland) and the Forest Chamber in Niepołomice.

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