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The Seweryn Udziela Museum of Ethnography in Krakow

The Seweryn Udziela Museum of Ethnography in Krakow

Main Building – City Hall,
1 Wolnica Square

“Esterka” building,
46 Krakowska St.

Opening hours:
Monday: closed
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday:
11.00 a.m.–7.00 p.m.
Thursday: 11.00 a.m.–9.00 p.m.
Sunday: 11.00 a.m.–3.00 p.m.

www.etnomuzeum.eu
sekretariat@etnomuzeum.eu
The museum, established in 1911 at the initiative of Seweryn Udziela, a teacher, amateur ethnographer and collector, is located in an old city hall building of Kazimierz, built in the 15th c. in Gothic style, and in later ages expanded in Renaissance style. The city hall houses a Polish folk culture exhibition, while in the second building, the so-called Esterka, in beautifully vaulted 16th century cellars temporary exhibitions are held.

The museum collections, numbering over 80 thousand exhibits, most of which come from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, originated from Seweryn Udziela’s own collection. Most of the collections are Polish, but there are also considerable ones from other European countries, mostly Slavonic ones, but also from beyond Europe, many of which were donated by Polish travellers and explorers. The museum also houses a vast archive with many thousands of photos, glass plates, manuscripts and drawings, as well as a specialist library, in which among 30 thousand volumes there are also unique works.

The main centres of literary-artistic life in the Young Poland period were located in Lesser Poland. Characteristic of this movement was the turning towards folk culture, which resulted in the so-called “peasant mania” – an artistic and ideological phenomenon which appealed greatly to the Polish intelligentsia circles. Seweryn Udziela – the founder of the Museum of Ethnography in Krakow – was probably under a strong influence of the Young Poland “fashion”, sensing that it was a favourable moment to start an ethnographic collection. For this reason, the museum is a prime example of the wide interest in and fascination with folk culture within society in the Young Poland period. Without this fascination there would be no social need for establishing such an institution in 1911!

As soon as we begin our visit to the museum we come to amodel of a hut by Błażej Czepiec, one of the guests at Lucjan Rydel’s wedding with Jadwiga Mikołajczykówna in 1900, supervised by Włodzimierz Tetmajer. Immediately after that, when we enter the Krakow chambers and admire the colourful folk outfits, particularly that of the bride, Stanisław Wyspiański’s “Wedding” naturally comes to mind.

When we see the Podhale chamber, a model of a Polish highlanders’ hut, fulling workshop, shepherds’ shack and highlanders’ outfits, we realise that the Young Poland artists were fascinated by highlanders’ culture as well. It was in the Young Poland period that Stanisław Witkiewicz created the national Zakopane style, based on architecture and decorative art of the Polish highlands. The colourful, striped Łowicz outfits remind us of the characters of Jagna and Maciej Boryna, the protagonists of “Chłopi” (“Peasants”) by Władysław Reymont, one of the leading writers of the Young Poland period.

The Seweryn Udziela Museum of Ethnography in Krakow, a ‘cradle’ of folk culture in Krakow, invites you to view its priceless collections. They will help you understand why the artists of Young Poland were so fascinated with the local folklore, its vigour and vitality, in which they sought a remedy for the stagnation and growing cultural crisis of the Polish intelligentsia of the turn of the 19th and 20th century.
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  • Program regionalny
  • województwo maloposkie
  • Unia Europejska
The following Project is cofinanced by the European Union under the Małopolska Regional Operational Programme for the years 2007 – 2013