- Museum of the Warsaw Uprising (Warsaw) Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego: When you’re done walking through the exhibitions and watching the startling documentaries filmed during the fighting in 1944 on display here, you’ll understand a lot more about the Poles’ resolve to preserve their nation. Just the photos alone of Warsaw’s total destruction will leave you in awe that this city still exists at all.
- Museum of Zakopane Style (Zakopane) Muzeum Stylu Zakopiańskiego/Muzeum Tatrzańskie: This low-key museum is dedicated to the fine woodworking craft of the early Zakopane architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. No stunning, high-tech visuals, just beautifully carved furnishings and a wonderful aesthetic feel. They took the lowly log cabin and made it a palace.
- Galicia Jewish Museum (Kraków-Kazimierz) Żydowskie Muzeum Galicja: The main exhibition here features contemporary and often beautiful photographs of important Jewish sites throughout southern Poland taken by the late British photographer Chris Schwarz. Schwarz spent 12 years traveling throughout Poland using photography as a way of trying to preserve the country’s rapidly disappearing Jewish heritage. The effect here works beautifully.
- Czartoryski Museum (Kraków) Muzeum Czartoryskich: Members of the noble Czartoryski family were gifted art collectors, and this collection is one of the finest in central Europe. Two international masterpieces are on display: Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine and Rembrandt’s Landscape with the Good Samaritan.
- Gingerbread Museum (Toruń) Muzeum Piernika: The town of Toruń is famous for two things: the birthplace of Copernicus and gingerbread cookies. At this privately owned museum, you not only learn the secret ingredients of great gingerbread, but also get to make your own. Good fun and great for kids.
- Roads to Freedom Exhibition (Gdańsk) Wystawa drogi do wolności: An inspiring and sobering history lesson of the anti-Communist struggle in Poland. The mock-up of a typical empty grocery store in late 1970s, grainy news reels, interactive displays, and documentary films keenly capture the atmosphere of the times.
- Lódź Art Museum, Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi: A must for fans of modern art, the collection includes works by Marc Chagall and Max Ernst. Skip the bottom floors and head straight for the museum’s prize pieces on the upper levels, including several of Stanislaw Witkacy’s amazing society sketches from the 1920s.
- Amber Museum (Gdańsk) Muzeum Bursztynu w Gdańsku: A must for all fans of the beautiful ossified pine resin that helped make Gdansk wealthy. On six floors of exhibits, you’ll learn everything you’ll ever need to know about amber; if you’re thinking of buying some amber while you’re in Gdansk, you might want to stop here first for an educational primer.
- Museum of Cinematography (Lódź) Muzeum Kinematografii: International film fans will want to stop here to pay tribute to Poland’s panoply of great directors, including Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda, and Krzysztof Kieslowski, all of whom studied and worked in Lódz.
- Ethnographic Museum (Tarnów) Muzeum Etnograficzne: A rare and fascinating exhibition on the history and culture of Europe’s Roma (Gypsy) population, it traces the emergence of the Roma from parts of modern-day India some 1,000 years ago to their arrival in Europe and subsequent (mostly tragic) history.
- Chopin Museum (Warsaw) Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina: The city where Chopin was raised wants to tell you everything there is to know about the composer. The museum was recently thoroughly revamped to deliver Chopin stories and melodies via high-tech media.
- Museum of Icons (Supraśl) Muzeum Ikon w Supraślu: This is the most extensive collection of Orthodox icons in Poland. The exhibits are thoughtfully laid out to give you a full picture of the history of the Orthodox faith.
- Pharmacy Museum (Kraków) Muzeum Farmacji w Krakowie: One of the biggest and best old-style pharmacy museums in this part of the world, with fascinating exhibits of potions, leeches, and concoctions that show just how far modern medicine has come.
If you visited any of them, please let us know in comments below:)
Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)