Scholarly article on topic 'Museums in Cultural Tourism in Poland'

Museums in Cultural Tourism in Poland Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

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Academic research paper on topic "Museums in Cultural Tourism in Poland"

DOI 10.2478/tour-2013-0008

Tourism 2013, 23/2

Beata Krakowiak

University of Lodz Department of Urban Geography and Tourism


Abstract: The article presents the museums, their potential and their significance for cultural tourism in Poland. Its aims are achieved through a presentation of registered national museums, 'monuments of history', museum buildings and the cultural activities undertaken by these institutions.

Key words: museums, culture, cultural tourism, cultural heritage, tourism attractions, cultural events.


Cultural tourism includes any type whose main objective is to visit and discover sites and buildings having some historical, artistic and cultural value, as well as to attend cultural events (KUREK 2007). According to T. J^DRYSIAK (2008), cultural tourism makes it possible to learn about and experience different ways of living (social customs, religious tradition, intellectual thought, cultural heritage), as well as to satisfy personal needs and expectations as regards culture. The element of cognition, stressed in many definitions, makes cultural tourism a form of cognitive tourism, for which culture (understood as any material or spiritual achievement) creates 'assets'. Treating the relation between tourism and culture very generally, we may assume, after W. GAWORECKI (2000), that tourism protects, enriches and popularizes culture, while culture inspires tourism development.

Tourists taking part in cultural tourism visit historical cities, architectural monuments, religious and remembrance sites, places related to folk culture, etc. Museums occupy a special place here. Their function is to collect, conserve, research, popularize and exhibit material evidence concerning people and their environment (International Museum Council). The strong relation between museums and cultural heritage is confirmed by the documents which regulate their functioning - Museum Act (1996), Cultural Activity Act (1991) and the Historical Monument Preservation and Protection Act (2003).

Along with art galleries, theatres, cinemas and libraries, museums are institutions under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. From all these, museums are certainly the most closely

related to tourism, especially cultural tourism. By definition, museums which present the culture of an area (a country, region or city) and the heritage of a community (an ethnographic, ethnic or national group), are significant institutions in cultural tourism and worth attention. This article presents museums as a subject of research and the author's aims are:

- to present potential of museums,

- describe current cultural activity,

- establish the significance of museums for cultural tourism.

The spatial range is Poland, therefore the issues presented are illustrated by groups of or individual Polish museums.


According to reports from the National Institute of Museology and Historical Monument Protection, there are 779 museums in Poland (480 main museums and 299 branches), which function on the basis of a statute or set of rules approved by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. Polish museums are found in all voivodeships, as well as in tourist and historical regions. Considering the way in which they were established, they may be divided into state, district (voivodeship, powiat/county, gmina/ commune) and private (institutions, foundations, private). The long list includes institutions of varied levels and import-

ance on national, regional or local scales. One way to give value to museums is to place them on the National Register of Museums, supervised by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. Only museums which meet certain criteria - including the importance of its collection, a team of well-qualified professionals, an appropriate building and a stable source of finance - may be placed on the register (under the Museum Act). Usually, it is the museum that applies for a place on the list. It museum should be able to confirm its status and in return it may additionally receive special protection (including financial support from the state, as well as first refusal when buying artefacts). By meeting the formal requirements, the museum confirms the high level of its activity and the importance of its collection, thus attaining the highest rank. The registration itself should be treated then as a guarantee of high quality given by the Minister, and these institutions rank highest among museums.

The list of registered museums currently includes 118 buildings (, which makes up about 15% of all the museums in Poland catalogued by the National Institute of Museology and Historical Monument Protection. They differ as regards collections (art, historical, martyrdom, etc.), scale (city, regional, national) and distribution (found in every voivodeship). The museums can be seen as representing the whole country (Fig. 1).

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Fig. 1. Distribution of registered and national museums in Poland S o u r c e: author's compilation based on

Due to their large number, it is difficult to discuss all of them, but it is worth focusing on several selected institutions. In the context of cultural tourism, let us mention museums which are important because of the theme they present. They include, above all, historical

museums, including those devoted to the beginnings of Polish statehood which can be found on the Piast Trail ('Museum of the First Piasts' in Lednica, 'Museum of the Origins of the Polish State' in Gniezno). Other museums present the long process of regaining independence ('Museum of Independence' in Warsaw). Recently, a particular role has been played by the 'Second World War Museum' in Gdansk, or the 'Museum of the Warsaw Uprising'. A particular group of institutions here are museums treated as remembrance sites or of martyrdom (e.g. 'State AuschwitzBirkenau Museum' in Oswi^cim, 'Gross-Rosen Museum' in Rogoznica, 'Stutthof Museum' in Sztutowo). They preserve the memory of the tragic events and the martyrdom of the victims, and at the same time give Poland a particular place on the historical map of Europe.

As regards the history and culture of our country, particularly valuable places are the former royal residences, due both to the buildings themselves and the collections inside - Wawel Royal Castle, Warsaw Royal Castle, tazienki Museum in Warsaw, and the Wilanow Palace Museum. It is hard to imagine a trip to Krakow or Warsaw without visiting them. All the national museums situated in large Polish cities (more information further in the article) have similar value.

Apart from the historically important institutions mentioned above, the register includes many regional museums (e.g. 'Museum of the Kujawy and the Dob-rzyn Region' in Wloclawek, 'Tatra Museum' in Zakopane or the smaller 'Kashubian Museum' in Kartuzy and 'Museum of the Puck Region' in Puck). Ethnographic and open air museums are in a way related to regions too. Let us mention here the rural museums (Kielce and Lublin), museums of folk buildings (Olsztynek and Sanok) or ethnographic parks (Kashubian - Wdzydze Kiszewskie, and Oravian -Zubrzyca Gorna). The institutions listed above show the internal diversity of Poland, the particular character of individual regions, as well as the rich folklore, both materially and spiritually. In times when regions and regional development are given prominence in European Union countries, institutions like these gain special importance.

To sum up, the list of registered museums includes remarkable, high-quality items of historical, artistic or cultural value, which may and should be visited by Polish and foreign tourists interested in culture. Unfortunately, the exceptional character of all these institutions is not accompanied by knowledge about them. The concept of the 'register' is found mainly among museum professionals; some museums put information about inclusion on the register on their websites, but the truth is that an average visitor is not aware that such a list exists, its significance or which museums it includes.

T a b l e 1. Times of establishment and the branches of national museums in Poland

Destination, main building Year of establishment, National museum branches

major preceding stages

City Museum - 1872 4 branches in Gdansk:

1. Gdansk Artistic Crafts Museum - 1881 Museum of Pomerania - 1948 National Museum - 1972 Green Gate; Photography Gallery, Opatow; Palace in Oliwa; Modern Art Branch, Opatow; Ethnographic Museum in Oliwa 2 branches outside Gdansk: National Anthem Museum in Bgdomin; Museum of the Gentry Tradition in Waplew

Museum of Polish Tourist Association- 2 branches in Kielce:

2. Kielce 1908 Swiçtokrzyskie Museum - 1934 National Museum - 1975 Dialogue of Cultures Museum (under construction); Museum of Stefan Zeromski's School Years in Kielce 1 branch outside Kielce Henryk Sienkiewicz Palace in Oblggorek

National Museum - 1879 9 branches in Krakow:

3. Krakow Czartoryski Family Library; Czartoryski Family Museum; Bishop Erazm Ciolek's Palace; Gallery of 19th c. Polish Art in Sukiennice; Emeryk Hutten - Czapski Museum; Jan Matejko's House; Szolayski Family House (Wyspianski Museum); Jozef Mehoffer's House; Europeum - European Culture Centre 1 branch outside Krakow: Karol Szymanowski Museum -Atma villa in Zakopane

Museum of Polish and Slavonic 5 branches in Poznan:

4. Poznan Antiquities - 1857 Mielzynski Family Museum - 1882 Kaiser Friedrich Museum - 1904 Museum of Greater Poland (Wielkopolskie Museum) - 1919 National Museum - since 1950 Museum of Applied Arts; Museum of Poznan History; Wielkopolskie Military Museum; Museum of Musical Instruments; Ethnographic Museum 3 branches outside Poznan Rogalin Palace, Goluchow Castle; Adam Mickiewicz Museum in Smielow

Museum of Western Pomerania - 1945 4 branches inSzczecin:

5. Szczecin National Museum - 1970 Museum of Szczecin History; Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Old Art; Breakthrough Dialogue Centre 1 branch outside Szczecin: Marine Museum in Gryfice

Museum of Art - 1862 3 branches in Warsaw:

6. Warszawa National Museum - 1916 Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture in Krolikarnia; Museum of Poster in Wilanow; Museum of the Police Force in the Mostowski Family Palace 2 branches outside Warsaw: Museum -Palaces in Nieborow and Arkadia; Museum of Interiors in Otwock Wielki

State Museum - 1947 2 branches in Wroclaw

7. Wroclaw Museum of Silesia - 1950 National Museum - 1970 Raclawice Panorama; Ethnografic Museum

8. Szreniawa Museum of Agriculture and Food Industry - 1964 National Museum of Agriculture and Food Industry - 1975 5 branches outside Szreniawa: Nature and Hunting Museum in Uzarzew; Museum of Mills and Rural Industry in Jaracz; Museum of Wickerwork and Hop Growing in Nowy TomySl; Museum and Open-Air Museum of Apiculture in Swarzgdz; Museum of Meat in Sielink

9. PrzemyÊl Friends of Science Association Museum -1909 National Museum of Przemyél - 1984 2 branches in PrzemySl: Museum of Bells and Pipes; Museum of PrzemySl History 1 branch outside PrzemySl: Defensive Eastern-Orthodox church in Posada Rybotycka

S o u r c e: author's compilation based on museum websites.

■ Poznan

• Warsaw

• Wroclaw ▲ Kielce

• Szczecin t Przemyél é Szreniawa © Cracow



Fig. 2. Times of establishment of national museums in Poland S o u r c e: author's compilation

At the very top of the museum hierarchy we find the national museums; national cultural institutions. It is not only in Poland that the adjective 'national' implies exceptionally valuable collections of special status and significance. In Poland, national museums are described as belonging to the Polish nation, presenting the achievements of the Polish people and Poland itself, and protecting national cultural assets. They are therefore important places to visit, even more so as a part of cognitive or cultural tourism. The particular significance of national museums comes from the fact that they are not common; there are only nine in the whole country (Table 1, Fig. 1). Another advantage is that they are usually situated in historical cities, in the capitals of historical regions and large cultural centres (Gdansk, Kielce, Krakow, Poznan, Szczecin, Warsaw or Wroclaw), which stress their position and importance.

National museums are well-established institutions, because their tradition started far back in the past, in some cases even in the 19th c., i.e. at the time of the Partition of Poland (Table 1, Fig. 2). From a historical point of view, it is worth mentioning the National Museum in Krakow, which was established as the first in Poland, and paved the way for other institutions of this kind. Some 19th c. museums functioned under

other names ('City Museum and Museum of Artistic Crafts' in Gdansk, or the 'Museum of Polish and Slavonic Antiquities' in Poznan), laying foundations for later national institutions. National museums usually developed gradually, and the stage directly preceding the establishment of a national institution involved one based in a large historical region like Pomerania, Silesia, Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), or smaller, such as the Swiçtokrzyski and Przemysl regions. In most cases these were prestigious state institutions founded in the Polish People's Republic, mostly in the 1970s (e.g. in Gdansk, Kielce, Poznan, Szczecin, Wroclaw).

National museums store collections of various kinds (including historical and artistic), from different periods (ancient, early Christian, medieval, modern, contemporary) and from a range of places (region, nation, Europe, the world). They present the history of Poland, the development of Polish art, areas of life and achievements of individual Poles. They expand our knowledge about national culture, and show Poland against the background of more general European and global trends.

National museums have numerous branches situated in the same cities or farther away, creating a network of important cultural institutions (a total of

47). In the context of Polish cultural heritage, let us mention here the 'Museum of the National Anthem' in B^domin, the 'Museum of Gentry Tradition' in Waplew, or the grand collections of the Czartoryski family in Krakow, the Dzialynski and Czartoryski families in Goluchow, and the Raczynski family in Rogalin. Branches of national museums include biographical ones, dedicated to distinguished Poles -composers, painters, writers, poets - famous in Poland and abroad - and working in different historical periods (Szymanowski, Matejko, Wyspianski, Sienkie-wicz, Zeromski, Mickiewicz).

Considering the previous arguments, it should be assumed that national museums represent the country and its inhabitants, shape national awareness and identity, and through their versatility and cooperation with museums abroad (e.g. exchanging artefacts and exhibitions), encourage large numbers of tourists to visit them. The tourists are also attracted by the location of museums, usually in the very centres of cities, near major roads. The status of these museums is higher due to the fact that almost all of them are organized or co-organized (which means being financed or subsidized) by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.


Cultural tourism involves travelling to the monuments of material culture left behind by the previous generations in situ or collected in museums and galleries (Kurek 2007). Due to the fact that a large number of Polish museums are accommodated in historical buildings, which used to perform other functions, this part of the article will be devoted to the premises themselves which are highly important for cultural tourism. The analysis will include institutions described earlier on the National Register of Historical Buildings (118), assuming that they are valuable and noteworthy additionally due to the buildings which accommodate them. Taking into account main museum buildings only, they were ascribed to separate categories (Fig. 3).

Most of them are residences, including palaces and mansion houses (around 18.5% of all museum buildings). The majority are palaces, which may be divided into those belonging to aristocrats, famous families of outstanding merit who played an important role in shaping the country's identity (Potocki family - Wila-now, Zamoyski family - Kozlowka, Radziwill family -Nieborow), bishops' palaces (e.g. in Kielce and Kros-no), or city palaces (e.g. in Lodz and Warsaw). Some of

these (especially those which belonged to the landed gentry) are surrounded by gardens or historical parks, which are the main attractions of the destinations; others are visited by tourists when staying longer at a given destination. Residences are a perfect background for presenting art collections, though they accommodate other types of museums (historical, archaeological or regional) as well.


Remembrance sites

Industrial buildings


Sacred buildings


town houses


Public utility buildings

Palaces, mansions

Fig. 3. The main museum buildings placed on the National Museum Register S o u r c e: author's compilation based on and individual museum websites

From the tourist's point of view, an important category is the one including defensive structures (about 17%): castles, former arsenals, towers and keeps which are a part of defensive walls. Most of them are castles, funded by kings (Krakow, Warsaw), princes (Ciechanow, Lancut) or knights, including 'knight-monks', (Malbork, Bytow). They come from different periods (from the Middle Ages to modern times), are associated with some historical events and have been inhabited by important people. Similar to residences, defensive buildings are usually the main attraction and journey destination. The museums contain collections of various types, e.g. art, interiors (Pszczyna, Lancut); sometimes they consist of several departments (Malbork, Lublin) or are strongly regional (Stalowa Wola, Olsztyn).

The next most common type are public utility structures, typically found in cities (e.g. former town halls, banks, schools, hotels - approx. 17.8%), as well as bourgeois villas and town houses (around 15.2%). They are usually situated in historical city centres becoming a part of the urban and architectural framework. These buildings are usually used for presenting historical collections (city museums and their

5 10 15 20 25

Number of objects

T a b l e 2. Selected 'Monuments of History' and accompanying museums in Poland

Destination Monument of History Year of registration Name of museum

1 . Biskupin Archaeological reserve 1994 Archaeological Museum in Biskupin

2. Duszniki Zdroj Paper mill 2011 Museum of Papermaking in Duszniki Zdroja

3. Frombork Cathedral complex 1994 Nicolaus Copernicus Museum in Fromborka

4. Grunwald Grunwald Battlefield (1410) 2010 The Battle of Grunwald Museum in Stgbark

5. Kozlôwka Palace-park complex 2007 Museum of the Zamoyski Family in Kozlowkaa

6. Kornik Castle-park complex with the owners' cemetery 2011 Castle Museum in Kornik

7. Lednogora The Island of Ostrow Lednicki on Lednickie Lake 1994 The Museum of the First Piasts in Lednicaa (Branch of Ostrow Lednicki Museum)

8. Legnickie Pole Benedictine monastery complex 2004 The Battle of Legnica in Legnickie Fields Museum (branch of the Museum of Copper)

9. Lancut Palace-park complex 2005 Castle Museum in Lancut a

10. MalborkB Castle of the Knights of the Teutonic Order 1994 Castle Museum in Malbork a

11 . Krzemionki (Stodôl) Flintstone mines 1994 Archaeological Reserve and the Neolithic Mining Museum in Krzemionki

12. Wieliczkab Salt mine 1994 Krakow Salt Mines Museum in Wieliczkaa

a on the National Register of Museums, b on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. S o u r c e: author's compilation based on

branches), regional collections (District Museum -Torun, Museum of Podlasie - Bialystok), and ethnographic or archaeological collections (Lodz, Warsaw). It is worth mentioning those purpose-built as museums (the main buildings of the National Museums in Krakow and Warsaw), and including museums accommodated in modern buildings which symbolize a modern approach ('Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology' in Krakow, 'Museum of Sport and Tourism' in Warsaw, 'National Museum of the Przemysl Region' in Przemysl).

About 10% of museum buildings used to be sacred structures - mostly monasteries of different religious congregations: Franciscans, Jesuits or Piarists. The collections exhibited in them differ thematically and are of varying importance (e.g. 'National Museum' in Gdansk, 'Museum of Architecture' in Wroclaw or 'Museum of Lowicz').

The last places given a high ranking are museums accommodated in rural buildings (open-air museums), industrial buildings or at remembrance sites. Despite their lower ranking, they are in a way exceptional, because they are linked to their themes and types of the exhibits presented with (ethnographic, technological, martyrdom) as the strongest. The first of them - rural farmsteads - are typical of open-air museums, complexes of buildings embedded in the natural landscape, usually moved from their original places, gathered together so that they recreate a village with characteristic rural buildings. They create space for holding cultural events (e.g. 'Museum of the Opole Countryside' in Opole, 'Museum of Rural Culture' in Kolbuszowa). Industrial buildings include closed

factories (Central Museum of Textiles), railway stations (Railway Museum in Warsaw), or mills ('Museum of Papermaking' in Duszniki Zdroj). Places designated as museums deserving special attention are former death and concentration camps - authentic evidence of historical events. Museums established at such places preserve the memory of the past, both through the premises themselves and the reality exhibited. Visiting such places gives people an opportunity to actually see artefacts which were 'witnesses' to events, and it is them that have the strongest impact on our emotions and are remembered the longest (BARAN 2006).

To sum up, the building in which a museum is accommodated has a huge influence on the perception of the institution and makes the museum message more credible when the exhibits are associated with the place where they are exhibited (the compatibility of the collection, the building and its interior). The building has an effect on the atmosphere of the place and the perception of the presented items and ideas, but such use of a building also helps protect and preserve material cultural assets and makes the whole museum an element of the national cultural space.

While analyzing museums in the context of their significance for cultural tourism, let us mention the concept of the 'monument of history', which is only seemingly irrelevant to the topic. Monuments of history are immobile historical monuments of particular importance to culture, established and protected by the President of Poland (Historical Monuments Protection Act).

Currently, there are 54 such 'monuments of history' in Poland. The list includes buildings and areas which reflect the richness and variety of the cultural heritage of Poland. Apart from individual buildings, they also include old urban complexes, cultural landscapes, masterpieces of defensive architecture, battlefields, canals, building complexes and monastery complexes ( Many of them come jointly with museums, which integrates the background and the exhibits, and combines their protective and popularizing functions (Table 2).

The table above makes it obvious that both Monuments of History and the museums accompanying them are well-known and popular, and that they co-create the character of a given site. The table does not include numerous museums situated in historical city centres, such as Gdansk, Krakow, Lublin, Poznan, Torun, Warsaw or Wroclaw, which are also Monuments of Culture and tourism targets as part of cognitive, urban or cultural tourism. It is worth mentioning that museums are also connected with sites which have been put on the UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage List (State 'Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau' in Oswi^cim, the Castle in Malbork, the Salt Mine in Wieliczka).

Awareness of value of category i i i i i Museum 'tourist' A museum employee Cultural tourist


i à > k i

Appointing authority i i i i i i i i i i i Minister of Culture f zn Minister of Culture f zn President of Poland


i i - > ------ - ------- > -------- < ------ k !

------ -------1

i i i i MUSEUMS


Fig. 4. Relations among the most important museums in Poland S o u r c e: author's compilation

The links among the groups of museums discussed so far are presented in Fig. 4, showing differences at the level of individual authorities and criteria for establishment. Interesting conclusions are drawn from an analysis of awareness of the importance of individual museum categories. It seems that their actual assets can be appreciated by specific 'recipients', e.g. in the case of registered museums - mostly museum staff, national museums - visitors, and in the case of the monuments of history - cultural tourists.


Museums as institutions of culture are places where many cultural events are held. Some of them are international, others are national or regional, while some are associated only with a given place. Some of them are held regularly, others are organized only once. Cultural events organized by museums are a way to expand their offer and attract new regular visitors. This kind of activity is observed above all in cities, as they offer larger opportunities and generate more potential recipients (tourists and inhabitants).

Table 3 presents selected regular events held in a number of Lodz museums. They perfectly match the history and special character of the city, which in the past performed the function of a significant textile industry centre (International Textile Triennale, Textile Worker Days), developing thanks to a mixture of cultures (Poles, Germans, Russians, Jews) of whom Poznanski or Geyer were representatives. That is why some events refer to these characters (Poznanski Birthday, Geyer Music Festival) and are held in their former residences. The tradition of Lodz as an important film centre (film production, film school, the presence of film people) is highlighted by the cultural events organized by the Museum of Cinematography or the Museum of Animation (e.g. Film Festival, Film Music Festival). The examples of events presented show varying levels and importance, but they show that museums may contribute to a comprehensive and cohesive promotion of a city and co-create its image.

A typically urban event which links many Polish museums is the 'Night of the Museums'. It began in Germany in 1997, and through France and the Netherlands spread to other European countries. The aim of this event is to popularize and promote museum collections by exhibiting them free of charge outside regular opening hours (usually between 18.00 and 01.00). Participating in this event is an opportunity to promote culture, the city, the building, as well as the chance to form certain culture-related attitudes and behaviours. On the other hand, the participants have a chance to visit museums, discover their collections and activity; it is also an alternative way of spending one's free time. In 2012, the 'Night of the Museums' in Poland was organized by about 100 cities and attended by about one million people (KRAKOWIAK & Skrydalewicz 2013).

A new event, which is becoming increasingly popular and which has also been popularized abroad, is Slow-Art Day, held in Poland since 2011. The Slow-Art movement is joined by the most important Polish museums offering the chance to get acquainted with five chosen pieces of art within one hour. The idea is to savour art and learn through contemplation, contact

T a b l e 3. Selected regular events held in Lodz museums

Museum Theme of event Description of event

C entral Museum of Textile Industry (organizer) International Fabric Triennale Held since 1972. Promotes contemporary textile art, takes the form of a competition accompanied by additional events. So far it has been organized 14 times.

Geyer Music Festival Organized since 2008, in the form of meetings with different types of music and musicians from all over the world. Held on a chosen day of the week in the summer months in the museum yard.

Se-Ma-For Animation Museum (organizer) Film Festival - International Festival of Puppet Animation and Technique Held since 2010. Its aim is to create a forum devoted to film cooperation. It is in the form of a competition, accompanied by film showings.

Museum of Independence Traditions (co-organizer) Commemorating the Anniversary of the Liquidation of Litzmannstadt Ghetto Held since 2004. Lasting for several days and taking place in different parts of the city associated with the Jewish community in the past.

Museum of Cinematography (organizer) 'Mankind in Danger' Media Festival Held since 1990, in the form of a review of documentary films regarding threats to mankind and the environment; it presents film, TV, video and radio productions

Film Music Festival Held since the late 1990s. Each event is devoted to a different Polish composer of film music. The festival consists of film showings and meetings with artists. So far, it has been held 16 times.

Factory Museum (organizer) Textile worker Days Held since 2009, refers to the traditions of this holiday. The event includes workshops, shows, meetings, excursions.

Poznanski's Birthday Held for several years, in the form of a fun event. It popularizes the museum located in the former Poznanski factory, provides information about the industrialist and the history of industrial Lodz.

S o u r c e: author's compilation.

and conversation with a specialist (museum employee); it is a protest against 'checking off' exhibits, exhibitions or museums, it gives the visitor the freedom of choice. The word 'slow' has two meaning in this case - not hasty, and free of organised interpretation (;

Interesting museum campaigns include 'Free November' and 'Museums for One Zloty', initiated by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. The former, held as an element of cultural education, increasing access to national cultural institutions, and participation in culture, encourages tourists to visit four royal residences: Wawel Royal Castle, Royal Castle in Warsaw, tazienki Park and the Museum-Palace of King Jan III in Wilanow. According to the MKiDN (Ministry of Culture and National Heritage), last year they were visited by the total of about 265,500 and about 29,500 took part in the educational classes organized. The other campaign, which has just started, is to achieve similar aims, but is addressed to younger visitors. It has been taken up by national museums, but talks are being held with regional institutions as well. Both campaigns are the result of the state's cultural policy, in which culture is treated as a particular asset (

The above examples present the process of a gradual change taking place in Polish museums. Apart from investing in modern buildings and technologies, museums are expanding their activity and changing their attitude towards visitors. These changes can

be observed all over Poland, but also at the level of individual institutions which compete with one another by preparing a holiday offer (holidays in a museum), organizing museum weekends ('museo-mania'), or open days. Their involvement is particularly noticeable on websites where the information mainly concerns events and their potential addressees - children, families and the elderly. Events held by museums only at the organizational phase, and which then run their activity on temporary premises, in a building without exhibitions or in public spaces, breathing life into the institutions they are creating (e.g. Museum of Polish Jews, Museum of the History of Poland) are a complete novelty.


According to the Central Statistical Office (CSO), in 2012 Polish museums were visited by a total of 26 million people. The available data concerning selected years points to continuous growth, which confirms the increasing interest in these institutions (Fig. 5). Report analysis shows that over the last ten years the number of visitors has increased by about 10 million, which means that there are about one million tourists more every year.

Number of visitors in millions 301-

15 -i-i-j-1— - -- -- -- -10-- — - -- -- -- - -5_ __________ _


2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Year

Fig. 5. Visits to Polish museums: 2001-11 S o u r c e: author's compilation based on CSO statistical yearbooks

CSO statistics concerning museums show that the most popular are art including museums of interiors (around 33%), historical (16% approx), and multipurpose and museums of martyrdom (7.5% each). In a way this depends on the number of these institutions (with the exception of the museums of martyrdom). This trend is also confirmed by the museum popularity index, calculated as a ratio of the percentage of tourists at a given group of museums to the percentage of those museums of the national total (Table 4, Fig. 5). Based on this index, the highest positions are taken by art, martyrdom, natural history and 'others' some of which are specialized museums. The lowest index was recorded for regional museums.

T a b l e 4. Museum popularity by collections in Poland

Percentage in overall Popularity

Type of museum museum visitor index

total (%) total (%) C/B


Archaeological 2.6 2.3 0.88

Art 12.2 33.2 2.72

Biographical 7.3 4.0 0.55

Ethnographic 8.7 6.3 0.72

Historical 18.1 16.3 0.90

Martyrdom 2.9 7.6 2.62

Multi-purpose 10.9 7.7 0.71

Natural history 4.7 6.3 1.34

Regional 18.4 4.4 0.24

Technology 6.1 3.6 0.59

Military 1.8 1.2 0.67

Other 6.3 7.1 1.13

Total 100.0 100.0 x

S o u r c e: author's compilation based on CSO data.

It seems, however, that it is not only the collections that determine the attractiveness of a given museum, but also its status and the building in which it is accommodated. The author believes that museums can be divided into the following categories: 1) museum - institution,

2) museum - place,

3) museum - the building,

4) museum - collection,

5) museum - exhibition.

Type of museum archaeological

biographical ethnographic historical multi-purpose martyrdom natural history regional technology military other

0 0,5 1,0 1,5 2,0 2,5 3,0 Index value

Fig. 6. Popularity of museums by collections S o u r c e: author's compilation

These categories let us look at the museums from the point of view of a potential visitor and establish what is most important for them. The detailed description of individual categories and examples of museums are presented in Table 5. The categorization above concerns permanent, unchanging elements (that is why events were not taken into account). The museum itself may be important due to its location and theme (e.g. 'Museum of Polish Jews' in Warsaw, currently under construction), or the collection and its institutional character (National Museum in Krakow). Verification would require research, the effect of which could be a division of museums according to their attractiveness.


Museums are among the most important cultural assets. Their value lies not only in the collections, exhibitions, but also the buildings which accommodate them and the activities they run. They are a traditional tourism attraction and an element of national tourism space. Museums provide information about the past and the present, being an expression of it themselves.

T a b l e 5. Categories of museums visited as a part of cultural tourism

Museum category Description Examples

Museum -institution They are cultural institutions, important for the country or region which raise the prestige of the destination where they are situated, have an influence on the cultural role it plays. They exhibit representative collections and provide knowledge about a given area (administrative, historical, geographical). They are characteristic of destinations of an established administrative status (capital of a region, voivodeship or county town) National, district and regional museums e.g. National Museum in Poznan, District Museum in Torun, Regional Museum in Sieradz

Museum -place A place of varying size - understood as a site, destination or region. It carries a specific message and is strictly associated with a given person, community or event. A characteristic feature of such museums is the connection between the place and the collection. They are found mostly in smaller destinations. Ethnographic open-air museums, museums of martyrology, biographical, historical, e.g. Kaszubski Ethnographic Park - Wdzydze Kiszewskie; GrossRosen Museum in Rogoznica; Pilsudski Museum in Sulejowek; Battle of Grunwald Museum in Stgbark

Museum -base Visited for the building itself - its history, the time when it was erected, architectonic style, architect, former owner, its surroundings and interiors. The museum base, the historical or building or modern shape is usually representative of the destination. The collection reflects the character of the b uilding. They are found both in large and small destinations. Museums in residences, museums of interiors, new museums e.g. Castle Museum in Malbork; Museum - Palace in Wilanow; Zamoyski Family Museum in Kozlowka; Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw

Museum -collection The main asset of the museum is the collection, devoted either to a single theme or to a variety of themes, but always of particular importance. These facilities are usually not common, and the collections are important for those who are particularly interested in a given subject. They are found both in large and small destinations. Museums of technology, specialist, military, etc. e.g. Museum of Textiles in Lodz; Museum of Musical Instruments in Poznan; Polish Army Museum in Warsaw

Museum -exhibition An important element is the way the collection is exhibited and the information about it is communicated - it reflects the formula adopted by the museum. Modern exhibition methods, the technologies used and visiting a part of active participation are other significant elements. They are found in large cities. Modern museums (multimedia, narrative), e.g. Warsaw Uprising Museum in Warsaw; Chopin Museum in Warsaw; Schindler's factory in Krakow; City Market Underground in Krakow

S o u r c e: author's compilation.

They let us discover, appreciate and. in consequence, protect important cultural assets, as well as satisfy our spiritual, non-material needs. In conclusion, the role of these institutions is exceptional not only in terms of cultural tourism, but also in the context of shaping specific behaviours and attitudes.


Baran P., 2006, Rola muzeów martyrologicznych w turystyce na przykladzie dzialalnosci Muzeum Gross-Rosen, [w:] Rola muzeów w turystyce i krajoznawstwie, A. Toczewski (ed.), Muzeum Ziemi Lubuskiej w Zielonej Górze. Gaworecki W., 2000, Turystyka, PWE, Warszawa.

Jçdrysiak T., 2008, Turystyka kulturowa, PWE, Warszawa. Krakowiak B., Skrydalewicz E., 2013, „Noc Muzeów" jako wydarzenie kulturalne w wybranych miastach Polski, [w:] Nowe-stare formy turystyki w przestrzeni, „Warsztaty z Geo-grafii Turyzmu", Wyd. Uniwersytetu Lódzkiego, tódá, pp. 115-135.

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