When it comes to the collections of the National Museum, it is enough to mention the most famous exhibit of all the museum collections in the Małopolska region: Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci kept in the Princess Czartoryski Museum in Krakow. Other valuable and well-known works include, for example, the magnificent canvases of Polish masters in Krakow Sukiennice, the Prussian Homage by Jan Matejko, or Józef Chełmoński's Four-in-Hand. Since 7 May 2021,the new permanent exhibition of the National Museum in Krakow Sources.Ancient Art Gallery at the Arsenal offers exhibits of 1,000 artefacts from the Middle East, Egypt, Greece and Italy. The oldest date to the third millennium BCE and the youngest to the 7th century CE.
Everyone who is interested in Krakow's history is invited to visit the Krakow Museum, which boasts over 120 years of history and has 19 separate branches, including Rynek Underground or Old Synagogue.
Of course, the Małopolska region’s museums exhibit much more than just works of art. Let us mention just a few: the wonderful collection of planes in the Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow or the nature collection in the Tatra Museum in Zakopane. Many museums, in addition to permanent exhibitions, organise numerous periodical exhibitions as well as interesting lectures, workshops and presentations of old crafts and skills. Moreover, there are a few days in the year when museums open their doors for free or for a nominal fee of 1 Polish zloty. It is then possible to visit them with a professional guide, and often you can see places usually not available to the public.
Another interesting proposition includes museums that are slightly less related to art and more to science and technology - it is an alternative for those interested in the history of science and technology. Exemplary venues from this group include the Krakow Pharmacy Museum or the Printing Museum (Opis Muzeum Drukarstwa) in Nowy Targ.
In Małopolska we will find not only works of art displayed at exhibitions both permanent and temporary, but also works of folk culture that can be seen in numerous open-air museums. An encounter with ancient customs, crafts and architecture is possible for example in Wygiełzów Vistula Ethnographic Park, Sądecki Ethnographic Park in Nowy Sącz, Orava Ethnographic Park in Zubrzyca Górna, Pogórzańska Village Open-air Museum in Szymbark and the open-air museums in Dobczyce and Jędrzejkówka. This is where we can meet with old culture and see how our ancestors lived and worked not so long ago. Old costumes, tools, furnishings and buildings saved from oblivion are definitely worth seeing with your own eyes.
Some more technological facilities can also be an interesting proposal, let us mention for example the Museum Station Czernichów Główny (Description of the station of the Museum), the Rolling Stock Open-Air Museum in Chabówka, where you can see the old locomotives and train carraiges or the Open-Air Museum of the Oil Industry in Gorlice, where in turn we will learn the secrets of extracting and processing crude oil.
Museums in their original form
The term ‘museum’ is very broad and its traditional form is being increasingly extended - exhibits are no longer placed in a display case or separated from visitors by barriers. The modern museums are ‘live’ - everything can be touched, smelled or even created by the visitors themselves. A visit to the Live Bagel Museum will be a pleasure not only for the little ones - this place offers their visitors to try to become a baker for a moment and face the challenge of making this fabulous Krakow delicacy; in turn, in the Butterfly Museum in Bochnia, we can enjoy close encounters with dozens of butterfly species in a cloud of colour.
These and other museums are scattered all over the Małopolska region; it is worth checking out all that they have to offer and including them in your itinerary - feel free to use our comprehensive overview for that purpose.
We also invite you to visit the webpage Virtual Museum of Małopolska!