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Library and Archives

Books and magazines
This is the biggest, apart from Jagiellonian Library collection of cracovians' books. The collection mainly consists of publications related to history, history of art, theatre and the history and culture of Jews.  We would like to focus your attention on one of the parts which contains 130 guides on Kraków and its neighbourhoods. The oldest one from among them is Stolecznego Miasta Krakówa Koscioly i kleynoty (Churches and treasure of Kraków the capital city) written by Piotr H. Pruszcz and published in 1745. Moreover, this collection also contains a lot of guides written in the 19th century by Ambrozy Grabowski, Józef Maczynski, Józef Czech, Walery Radzikowski and Karol Estreicher.
The museum's collection is very exhaustive in quantity as well as content especially when it comes to the collection of calendars and almanacs. These include the Calendar of independent city of Kraków by Józef Czech published from year 1832 to 1917 and calendars from Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny (Ilustrated daily courier) from the years of 1928 to 1939. The library collection also contains the following series: Kraków's library, Kraków's yearbook, Cracoviana. The museum owns Kraków's press including every number of Gazeta Krakówska since the oldest one from 1799, and other press from the 19th and the 20th century such as: Czas (Time), Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny (Ilustrated daily courier), Swiatowid, As (Ace). You can also find the unique collection of address books of Kraków and Galicia region.

Printing

Kraków is known as a birthplace of Polish language books. It has a long secular printing and bookbinding traditions. This masterpiece of artistic craftsmanship is a part of the history of our city and our country. The 16th century, known in Poland as the "golden age" and the 17th century which had brought the expansion of art of printing and the development of bookbinding and it has raised them right up to the top of true art. Nonetheless, by the end of 17th and 18th centuries and despite development of high quality book binding materials, book ornamentations and their quality worsened. The Partitions of Poland has brought to the impoverished Kraków many unfortunate changes, which also affected printing and bookbinding craft. In the 1880s the bookbinding craft experienced a rebirth because of the bookbinding manufacture technique changes. The bookbinding manufacture rose to unprecedented scale after 1900.
One of the most prominent bookbinders in Kraków, the creator of artistic bookish bindings, diplomas and book bindings gallantry was Robert Jahoda / 1862-1947 /.
Although he was born in Bochnia, because of his profession he was connected with Kraków from 1887 until his death. From 1912 on, he resided in tenement on Golebia Street where his print shop has been as well. His print shop was an industry-leader from the year 1918 until 1939.
Libraries such as Jagiellonian, The Polish Academy of Skills (PAU), Wawel castle and cathedral, Czartoryski, Kornicka and other, used to subcontract the maintenance and bindings of their books there. The most valuable conservatory work executed in his print shop was restoration of Annales seu Cronicae Regni Poloniae by Jan Dlugosz.
His bindings used to win first prizes and medals on exhibitions not only in country but also abroad (Lvov, Paris, Vienna, Leipzig, Padua, Kraków and Poznan). After his death, the company was shared between his daughter Zofia Jahoda-Broniewska and Robert Jahoda-Zóltowski.
In the 1950's, the printing office was nationalized and in 1954 the Art Industry Cooperative called "STARODRUK" was created. The cooperative took over the place and the equipment on Golebia Street.
From 1967 until the beginning of the 1990s, it was owned by the Museum. In 1982, the museum opened the exposition entitled Printing house of Robert Jahoda. The history of Kraków's art of bookbinding and printings. After the tenement was retrieved by the private owner in 1992, the exhibition was moved to the main museum in "Krzysztofory" palace.

Photography

The collection of photos of Kraków is very precious iconographic source revealing the history of the city. Old pictures depict often changing its appearance Kraków, show developments in the history of the city and present life of the city dwellers. Pictures were taken as well by professional photographers as by amateurs.
Among others, our special collection includes daguerreotypes coming from 40s and 50s of the 19th century. Unfortunately we have only a few in our collection, but these are examples of the oldest photographic technique and that is why they are so precious.

Graphics

This collection contains almost four thousand graphics, pictures and watercolors. The main objective of this constantly growing collection is to present the city and architectural changes to some of its buildings. The collection contains unique iconographic documentation of Kraków and its neighborhoods. One of the most important and valuable sets of graphics is the collection of general views of Kraków from the15th to 20th century.

Scouting

The youngest collection in the museum was created in 1991 thanks to Kraków's scouting organizations. It contains materials regarding of the Kraków's and Lvov's pre-war ZHP (Polish Scouting Organisation) regiment from1910 until the present day.
The collection currently contains 5000 items and it mainly comes from gifts and donations. It has been divided into two sections - museum exhibits and archival and library subjects. As the most interesting in the museum's collection we should mention the distinctions of creator of the Polish Scouting Organization - Andrzej Malkowski and one of the oldest scout's crosses. Moreover, the collection contains pre-war and post-war youth and instructors' uniforms, parts of the uniforms such as lanyards, whistles, badges, belts, sheath knifes, camp equipment, mess tins, canteens, backpacks, satchels, compasses, digging tools, canes etc. Additionally, the collection contains Polish and foreign distinctions and badges. In this collection there are also orders, congratulatory scrolls, drawings, flags and banners.

World War II documents

Collection of our museum contains objects, photographs and documents which provide us with the knowledge about the time of German occupation in Kraków during the years of 1939 - 1945. The most notable are documents related to extermination of cracovian Jews, documents that authenticate the German crimes in Kraków (reports from exhumations made after the War to mass execution places), letters smuggled through to and from prisons on Pomorska and Montelupich streets, published press during the occupation time (German and underground), handouts and announcements of German authorities and collection of so-called "bills of death".

Judaic

This collection was initiated in 1958 and it originated from other exhibits related to Jewish religion, traditions and folklore used in synagogues and houses during the social, private and family celebrations. According to the importance, the second part of the collection contains paintings, graphics, photographs and post cards. Still marginal are history relics, valuable printings, manuscripts and archives.

Paintings

The Krakow's Historical Museum's collection contains few thousands of paintings. They're divided for two sections. The most important two are portraits and the city sights: Most of them have been painted using various techniques from the end of the 18th till the 20th century.

Military collections

Created at the end of 19th century, Collection of Military Armaments, one of the leading ones in the Museum, is a rich and diverse collection containing over 1400 exhibits of high artistic and historic value.
It consists of polish and western European weaponry specimens, of high exposition values, representing a number of types and categories, starting from Middle Ages until the end of modern age. It's supplemented with armaments equipped by military formations and army divisions related with Kraków of the times of national uprisings , Piłsudski Legions, World War I, and weaponry of the conspiracy period and combat during World War II.

Numismatics

The collection of the coins and medals of the Historical Museum contains 3071 items. Primary and the most valuable part of this collection is strictly related to Kraków's tradition of putting various mementos and numismatic into the copper, gilt knob on the top of town hall tower and the tradition of giving precious gifts including coins and medals to fraternity by disciples becoming the journeyman.

Patriotic mementos

Mementos collection contains objects related to the Kościuszko's Insurrection, November and January Uprisings, era of patriot manifestations before January Uprising, Kraków Revolution, Polish Legions and Supreme National Committee and also keepsakes from the latter half19th century and 1st half of 20th century reminding important anniversaries of historic, social and political events, birthdays and death of national heroes. Importance of national mementos had increased before January uprising 1861 - 1862. Mementos were created mainly under Russian and Austrian annexation (Partitions of Poland era). Because of censorship, they were homemade without any signatures. Collecting and wearing them was an act of patriotism, approving rebels fighting for fatherland independence. Mementos were signs, symbols and allegory articulating fidelity to motherland and God.

Craftsmanship

Relics of the craftsmanship are collected in the Department of the Kraków’s History and Modern Art. These are mainly articles of daily use but also decorative objects. Objects given to the museum at the beginning of the 50’s of the 20th century from the Old Files’ Archives of the of the City of Kraków are huge part and the basis of the collection. Referring to the museum’s profile, which collects keepsakes related to the Kraków’s history, these are objects given by Kraków’s craftsman guilds and municipal institutions. The collection is being extended all the time. Collection of the craftsmanship can be categorized by used techniques:

Medieval Craft

The collection of Medieval Craft contains the oldest monuments in the museum. Most of them became a part of the collections at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century - in the first years of the museum's existence at the Archive of Older Records.

Modern Art

The main sections in this collection are paintings, graphics and drawings. All of them represent the most typical present day Kraków's art trends. Some of them were created in the 1980's and 1990's. Artists gave almost all works from the last quarter of the century to the museum after the exhibitions that usually took place in the Town Hall Tower and the Hipolits' tenement. The authors of these works are the most famous of Kraków's artists, usually professors from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków.

Fraternities attributes

The collection of the fraternity's monuments is the oldest section of our museum and initiated the present collections. The first items came to our collection in years 1899 - 1924 as gifts. They let us learn about craftsmen's' skills, about the routines and customs of this numerous and economically important society.

Clocks

The collection of clocks was created mainly because of the fact that in 1973 our museum had received a private collection of a famous Kraków collector - Wladyslaw Miodonski (1898 - 1972). He used to collect clocks for a half of a century and his collection contained 198 clocks from which 50 were incomplete. Without any professional skills in recognition and appraisal of clocks, he used to choose them according to aesthetic values. A decision whether to add one to his collection was not based on the clock's mechanical valour but rather because of its' design. It was the main criterion of creating the collection. After his death, his heirs donated a part of the collection to the museum and sold the remaining ones off.