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History

The Historical Museum of the City of Kraków is a municipal museum. Councillors of Kraków decided already in 19th century to take an effort to create city's own historical museum. The first discussions on creating museum, which could gather city's memorabilia started in the 1860's. Organized by City Council in 1890 Archive of Old Acts for Kraków City started to gather the collection, and raised in 1897 Society of Kraków's History and Monuments Amateurs endorsed museum organization initiative. The Archive employees such as professor Stanislaw Krzyzanowski and Adam Chmiel PhD participated in creation of collection for future Historical Museum. The collection contained iconographic materials of Kraków, portraits of celebrities and famous citizens, graphics, historical items and documents related to guilds' activities, stamps, numismatics and medal, weaponry and other material culture elements, related to Kraków's history.
The Historical Museum of the City of Kraków has been erected at the City Council session on 2nd June 1887. At this time Museum started its activities, although it was a branch of Archive of Old Acts rather than self-managed institution. Collection has been gathered in not accessible to visitors' ground floor room of building located at Sienna street 16. Soon there were active actions taken to make museum's collection accessible for visitors, however they took many years. Important event was an exhibition of old Kraków's views called "Old Kraków", organized in 1936 byJerzy Dobrzycki PhD in renewed but not yet fully furnished rooms of Wawel castle 2nd floor. In 1937 for museum's purpose the building at Swietego Ducha Street 5 (currently Szpitalna street 21), so called "The Cross House".
In 1937, as well by initiative of Jerzy Dobrzycki PhD museum organized under its patronage first annual contest of Kraków's cribs, since then it is set annually apart from Second World War years. In December of 1945, during City National Council the proposition for museum statute has been presented. According to it, The Historical Museum of the City of Kraków was planned to be "independent and self-managed city branch, its aim is gathering and proper protection of all historical materials related to life and culture of Kraków since the first ages of the city's history till the current time, as well as development of science, research and education activities". One of tasks of new institution was to take care of local tradition, customs and ceremonies.
Independent museum activity in meaning of gathering and organizing collections, started with taking over from Archive of Old Acts more than two thousands of items, requiring stocktaking and restoration.
At the end 1946 and beginning of 1947, thanks to the agreement with Society of Kraków's History and Monuments Amateurs it was possible to get for museum's purposes part of the building being home of society - "Krauzowska House" at Sw. Jana Street 12. Soon the museum opened first two temporary exhibitions there: "Kraków old and modern" and "1848 Revolution" .
The permanent exhibition in Krauzowa House has been established on 24th of June 1952, and building set for museum's purposes just before Second World War "The Cross House" has been used as office and stocks.
In 1949 part of former defence walls: St. Florian's gate, Haberdashers' tower and city walls pass between has been given to Museum for exhibition purposes. Exhibition set up was "The old defences of Kraków". It covered reconstructed guardroom of old city guards, using historical weaponry and series of views of not existing already city towers and gates. This part of City walls was used by the Museum until the end of 1950s.

Meanwhile in the 1950s, the Museum owned quite important collections. One of them is memorabilia of dissolution the Marksmen Brotherhood in 1951 as enacted by the communist government with most precious treasure - fellowship's silver cock from 1565. Museum took over other outlawed organizations' collection, e.g. Commercial and Trade Board's, Charity Society's ones. In the same time Arts Museum given to Historical Museum precious collection of theatre items, related to history of Kraków's theatres. Furthermore, through the purchase Museum gained collection of Kraków's bookseller and collector, president Jozef Friedlein. The most important part of this collection is iconographic materials of old Kraków.
In 1959 the Jewish Community gave to the museum for its statutory purposes building of the Old Synagogue at 24 Szeroka Street, since then renewing works started there, managed by Museum.
In years 1961-1967 the City Hall Tower has been renewed as well, and then it has been give to museum to organize, seasonally open exhibition of city authorities memorabilia. In the following years ownership of museum grown, the most important event was getting in 1965 spacey building with perfect location - Krzysztofory Palace at Main Square 35, where the permanent exhibition "History and culture of Kraków" has been moved. Opening of new exhibition prepared by museum's employees was on the 21st of July, 1979. In Krzysztofory Palace the museum's board, science and research departments have been located. Till then they were located at Swietego Ducha Street.
In 1969 at "The Cross House" (currently 21 Szpitalna Street) the exhibition "History of Kraków's theatre" has been opened. It was a third permanent exhibition of Historical Museum, which is allowed for visiting since, apart from period of 1978-1987.
At the end of 1960s, the Museum had owned some space at Franciszkanska 4 Street, so altogether there were several branches.
Next permanent exhibition "Military items and clocks in The Historical Museum of the City of Kraków Collection" has been opened in 1976 in Krauzowa House. It was possible thanks to very precious personal gift - huge clocks collection of Wladyslaw Miodonski. It was the last exhibition presented at that location - it has been moved to Krzysztofory Palace in 1985. Currently collection is a perfect supplement to arrangement at Hipolit House.
The 1980s was a time of further museum development. On 26th November 1980 the important exhibition of history and culture of Polish Jews has been opened in renewed Old Synagogue. In 1982, partially museum's managed "Silesian House" at 2 Pomorska Street was made accessible for visitors, containing former Gestapo's prison cells; apart from that permanent exhibition has been set up basing on Second World War memorabilia. Current exhibition, recently rebuild is presented under the title of "Kraków in 1939 - 1956". In the same time it was planned to open the Printing Museum at given space at Golebia Street, where the workshop of famous Kraków's binder Robert Jahoda has been located. The first step was to establish temporary exhibition related to building's history. Despite the taken actions, permanent exhibition could not be set. Finally, due to bad condition of the museum's room, the administration gave up on idea of creating another branch and had vacated the building.
Meanwhile in the middle of the 1980s, museum started to prepare two brand new branches. More recently, the Marksmen Brotherhood has been re-activated, under the name of Kraków's Marksmen Society - Marksmen Brotherhood. They have been revealed with rights to Celestat building in Marksmen Garden at 16 Lubicz Street 16. Due to agreement between Society and Museum's board, the building has been planned to be home of exhibition of Brotherhood's history. Renewing and preparation works took few years to finalize. In June of 1997, a new exhibition "The history of Kraków's Marksmen Brotherhood" has been opened.
The second building gained for museum's purposes is Hipolit House, at 3 St. Mary's square. In 1986, plans for re-evaluation and adaptation of the building were made. After long renewing works and restoration, the scenario of exhibition presenting history of townspeople's interiors opened. A permanent exhibition entitled "Townspeople's house" was opened in November 2003.
Next Museum's branch established in 1993 was Zwierzyniec's Art Showroom, at the 41 Krolowej Jadwigi Street, where small exhibition "Flat at Zwierzyniec in beginning of 20th century" is set; the building is as well home of Zwierzyniec's Art Showroom. This branch is under particular care of District no. 7 Council.
Since 1999, under Museum's responsibility is Barbakan, one of most interesting examples of medieval defence made accessible for tourists in the summer.
In 2003, Museum gained another object - "Pod Orlem" (Eagle) Pharmacy at Bohaterow Getta Square 18, where during the Second World War occupation, support for Kraków's Jews was organized. In the partially restored interiors of former pharmacy owned by Tadeusz Pankiewicz, an exhibition related to tragedy of holocaust in Kraków is set.
In 2004, President of Kraków professor Jacek Majchrowski decided to organize by Historical Museum branch of Nowa Huta's history. Recently formed workshop started work in documenting cultural and historical heritage of Nowa Huta district.
In years 2005-2007 the museum arranged a jubilee project for the 750th anniversary of Kraków foundation on the basis of the Magdeburg Law. The most important part of this event was series of the foundation related exhibitions initiated in 2005 with an exhibition titled Legends and mysteries of Kraków. In 2006, as a part of the series, we presented exhibition titled Kraków in Christian Europe 10th – 13th centuries. A summary of the series was exhibition from 2007 titled Kraków – European City of the Magdeburg Law 1257-1791. The exhibition were extended with science sessions, publications and concerts. In June 2007 we opened a tourist route City Defense Walls – The Barbican: the museum made a part of the City Defense Walls at Pijarska Street, from the Passamentiers Tower to the Arsenal, available for public.
In last years our museum entered the phase of intensive development, and because of this fact many changes in activities of our organization were made. Since 2005 we have a new branch – The history of Nowa Huta, acting in form of ecomuseum. The Nowa Huta branch was deeply involved in celebrations related to the 60th anniversary of the Nowa Huta establishment.
In 2007 we have started opening next two branches. At 4 Lipowa Street, in old German Factory of Enameled Vessels, during the World War II owned by Oskar Schindler, we are preparing new exhibition – Kraków – the occupation time (1939-1945). In Autumn of 2008 in old administrative building of the factory we established the museum’s branch. In spite of the fact that the exhibition hasn’t been opened yet, this place is memorial place reminding about the extermination’s times. Our museum prepared a project of exhibition – Underground Main Square, which in 2010 will be available for public as underground tourist route to the East parts of the Main Square. The exhibition will be a combination of archeological reserve and multimedia presentations.
For the last few years we have been working on renovation of the Krzysztofory Palace which in 2009 was transferred into possession of the museum. We are planning to finish Works by 2013 and celebrate it by opening of the exhibition dedicated to the history and culture of Kraków. At Księcia Józefa Street we have started constructions of a new building – a repository for museum’s exhibits and renovation workshops. A goal for all these activities is to adjust our museum to the European museums standards.
The second building gained for museum's purposes is Hipolit House, at 3 St. Mary's square. In 1986, plans for re-evaluation and adaptation of the building were made. After long renewing works and restoration, the scenario of exhibition presenting history of townspeople's interiors opened. A permanent exhibition entitled "Townspeople's house" was opened in November 2003.
Next Museum's branch established in 1993 was Zwierzyniec's Art Showroom, at the 41 Krolowej Jadwigi Street, where small exhibition "Flat at Zwierzyniec in beginning of 20th century" is set; the building is as well home of Zwierzyniec's Art Showroom. This branch is under particular care of District no. 7 Council.
Since 1999, under Museum's responsibility is Barbakan, one of most interesting examples of medieval defence made accessible for tourists in the summer.
In 2003, Museum gained another object - "Pod Orlem" (Eagle) Pharmacy at Bohaterow Getta Square 18, where during the Second World War occupation, support for Kraków's Jews was organized. In the partially restored interiors of former pharmacy owned by Tadeusz Pankiewicz, an exhibition related to tragedy of holocaust in Kraków is set.
In 2004, President of Kraków professor Jacek Majchrowski decided to organize by Historical Museum branch of Nowa Huta's history. Recently formed workshop started work in documenting cultural and historical heritage of Nowa Huta district.
In years 2005-2007 the museum arranged a jubilee project for the 750th anniversary of Kraków foundation on the basis of the Magdeburg Law. The most important part of this event was series of the foundation related exhibitions initiated in 2005 with an exhibition titled Legends and mysteries of Kraków. In 2006, as a part of the series, we presented exhibition titled Kraków in Christian Europe 10th – 13th centuries. A summary of the series was exhibition from 2007 titled Kraków – European City of the Magdeburg Law 1257-1791. The exhibition were extended with science sessions, publications and concerts. In June 2007 we opened a tourist route City Defense Walls – The Barbican: the museum made a part of the City Defense Walls at Pijarska Street, from the Passamentiers Tower to the Arsenal, available for public.
In last years our museum entered the phase of intensive development, and because of this fact many changes in activities of our organization were made. Since 2005 we have a new branch – The history of Nowa Huta, acting in form of ecomuseum. The Nowa Huta branch was deeply involved in celebrations related to the 60th anniversary of the Nowa Huta establishment.
In 2007 we have started opening next two branches. At 4 Lipowa Street, in old German Factory of Enameled Vessels, during the World War II owned by Oskar Schindler, we are preparing new exhibition – Kraków – the occupation time (1939-1945). In Autumn of 2008 in old administrative building of the factory we established the museum’s branch. In spite of the fact that the exhibition hasn’t been opened yet, this place is memorial place reminding about the extermination’s times. Our museum prepared a project of exhibition – Underground Main Square, which in 2010 will be available for public as underground tourist route to the East parts of the Main Square. The exhibition will be a combination of archeological reserve and multimedia presentations.
For the last few years we have been working on renovation of the Krzysztofory Palace which in 2009 was transferred into possession of the museum. We are planning to finish Works by 2013 and celebrate it by opening of the exhibition dedicated to the history and culture of Kraków. At Księcia Józefa Street we have started constructions of a new building – a repository for museum’s exhibits and renovation workshops. A goal for all these activities is to adjust our museum to the European museums standards.