75 years ago – on 13 July 1948 – the first visitors crossed the threshold of the State Museum in Wrocław, which in 1950 was renamed the Silesian Museum (Muzeum Śląskie), and then in 1970 was granted the status of National Museum.
The Museum was formally established on 28 March 1947, however with the city still in ruins in the aftermath of the war, the official opening ceremony took place on 11 July 1948, and finally two days later – precisely on the 13th of July – the first visitors were able to enter the building especially adapted for museum purposes. It previously housed the seat of the Governing Board of the Province of Silesia, and its reconstruction continued for the next three years.
Fot. archiv. NMWr
“The date of 13 July remains significant as the Museum commenced the performance of its statutory duties – the actual presence of visitors in the building in the square named after the fighters in the Warsaw Uprising [plac Powstańców Warszawy] – raised it to the rank of a museum! This sense of duty, of public service and the will to carry out a determined social mission has constantly accompanied us – the staff of the National Museum in Wrocław – for the last 75 years” – said the MNWr Director, Piotr Oszczanowski.
Fot. W. Rogowicz, I. Trembałowicz-Chęć
The jubilee year provides an opportunity to discover Silesian Rococo, a phenomenon in the art of this region up till now ‘invisible’ and often ignored, as well as to recall the dramatic post-war fate of Silesian works of art using the example of the impressive groups of sculptures created by Johann Georg Urbansky – the exhibition “Baroque Heroes…” [Barkokowi herosi…] presented in the main building of the Museum, will continue up to 29 October 2023.
The main jubilee exhibition is on show in the Four Domes Pavilion Museum of Contemporary Art. From 14 July 2023 to 14 January 2024 visitors can see “Rococo Madness! Fascination with Rococo in Silesia (18th–21th c.)” [Szaleństwo rokoka! Fascynacja rokokiem na Śląsku (XVIII–XXI w.)] – the first ever museum exhibition dedicated to the Rococo craze in Silesia in the period from the 18th–21st cent.
The third jubilee exhibition can be viewed in the Ethnographic Museum, entitled “Intriguing!” [Intrygujące!], inspired by the Museum blog of the same title, in which for the last five years the Museum staff have been publishing their texts on the subject of unusual works of art, discoveries made during the conservation work on some artefacts, and professional secrets of their work. Among the showcased historical exhibits are particular ornaments made of human hair, extraordinarily beautiful Hutsul objects, musical instruments, traditional tapestries, and implements related with making gingerbread.
Another important exhibition which opened in the main building of the Museum on 24 June this year is the presentation of the celebrated collection of royal portraits by Jan Matejko – “The Gallery of Polish Kings” [Poczet królów polskich]. In this way the National Museum in Wrocław joined in with the celebrations of the Year of Jan Matejko. The Gallery of Polish Kings is one of the three national treasures – along with the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice and the cycle “Warsaw” [Warszawa] by Artur Grottger – stored in the collection of the National Museum in Wrocław.
The unique set of 44 drawings made by Matejko, comprising portraits of Polish kings, queens and princes, is rarely on public display due to the conservation concerns. Thus the current exhibition provides an exceptional opportunity for a direct comparison of the royal images ingrained in the popular imagination with the actual original work by the master.
We would like to cordially invite you to visit the exhibitions in the National Museum in Wrocław and its branches. We are expecting you!