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Krakow is one of the richest cities in Central Europe in terms of museum collections. There are many museum establishments here and more are still planned. The Statistical Office of Kraków reports that 135 museums and museum branches operated in Małopolskie voivodeship at the end of 2019, of which 65 (48.1%) were located in Kraków. The largest number of museums and museum branches were active with a historical profile – 29.6%. Regional museums as well as artistic museums constituted 14.8% of the total number of museums.

The first Night of the Museums took place in Krakow in May 2004, when Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” was played at midnight and fireworks flew into the sky.
A commemorative coin at a symbolic price of 1 zloty is an “entrance ticket” to the objects participating in the action.

Wawel Royal Castle

The Wawel Royal Castle is a national cultural institution with the character of a historical residence. In 1930, the Castle, a centuries-old residence of kings and a symbol of Polish statehood, became one of the most important museums in Poland.

The holdings of the Castle are presented at several permanent exhibitions, which present the appearance of the royal residence in the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as at temporary exhibitions. Among the most prominent exhibits are the arrases of King Sigismund Augustus, Italian Renaissance paintings, and Turkish tents. The Pieskowa Skała Castle and Manor House
in Stryszów are the local branches.

Museum of Krakow

The Historical Museum of the City of Krakow (from 1 March 2019 the new abbreviated name
of the Museum of Krakow) was established on 31 May 1899 as a branch of the Archive of Ancient Records. In December 1945, it became “an independent and separate municipal institution, and its objective was to collect and carefully preserve all museum materials illustrating the life and culture of Krakow from the earliest times to the present, as well as to develop research, scientific and educational activities”.

Taking care of the preservation of local traditions, rituals and customs, since 1937 the Museum has been organising annual competitions for the most beautiful Krakow cribs. In its 19 branches,
it tells the story of Krakow from its foundation to the present day.

National Museum in Krakow

The National Museum in Krakow is the oldest and largest museum in Poland with the adjective “national” in its name. It was established on 7 October 1879.

The mission of the museum is to popularise Polish and foreign art. The collection comprises over 900 thousand exhibits. The Museum has twelve branches. The oldest branch is the Sukiennice. There are three biographical departments, the world’s best collection of Polish coins, collections of Polish and European art from the 13th to the 20th century, as well as 250 thousand manuscripts, old prints, books and documents. The collection of the Princes Czartoryski has been an integral part of the National Museum in Krakow since 29 December 2016.

The Jagiellonian University Museum

In 1964, on the six hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the Krakow Academy, the oldest university building, the Collegium Maius, renovated on the initiative of Prof. Karol Estreicher, was designated as the seat of the Jagiellonian University Museum.

The Museum originated from the Archaeological Cabinet of the University, founded in 1867 by Prof. J. Lepkowski. Former university collections (works of art and memorabilia), a rich collection of scientific instruments, numerous private donations and authentic interiors remind us of great professors, graduates and the role of science in human life.

Cardinal Karol Wojtyła Archdiocesan Museum

The Archdiocesan Museum in Kraków was established in 1906 by Cardinal Jan Puzyna.
On 5th May 1994, after almost 90 years of existence, it was decided by Cardinal Franciszek Macharski to locate the museum at the foot of Wawel Hill, in the place where the priest and later bishop Karol Wojtyla used to live.

The Museum has a rich collection of sacral art of the Archdiocese of Cracow (a collection
of beautiful Madonnas, a collection of liturgical vestments), as well as papal gifts – objects offered to John Paul II by dignitaries and pilgrims from various countries of the world.

Archaeological Museum in Krakowie

The Archaeological Museum in Cracow is the oldest Polish archaeological museum. It was established on 18 February 1850 as the Museum of Antiquities, on the initiative of the intellectuals of Cracow gathered in the Cracow Scientific Society.
In 1891 it was separated as an independent, specialised institution of the Academy of Learning. Since 1999, it has been a self-government institution subordinated to the Marshal of the Małopolska Region.

In 1857, it organised the first Exhibition of Antiquities, which showcased “relics of the past” donated by Poles, including the “Swiatowid” statue discovered in the Zbrucz River, which remains a symbol of the museum to this day.

Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Krakow

The Ethnographic Museum in Kraków was opened on 19 February 1911 thanks to the untiring efforts of Seweryn Udziela. Since the beginning of its existence it has been collecting things which are various testimonies of life. They form the oldest ethnographic collection in Poland.
It is a mirror in which one can recognise a part of one’s own history and culture, and through
it look deeper into oneself.

The collection consists of over 80 thousand artefacts. They are connected with Polish culture (folklore, art, everyday life) and other cultures of Europe and the World.

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