Gallery – Arms and Uniforms in Poland



(in the National Museum in Krakow)


The National Museum in Krakow holds a huge permanent exhibition of antique military objects. In fact, this is probably the biggest such exhibition in Poland, and one of the biggest in Central Europe. Around 2000 square-metres, and over 2000 objects of high historical importance, dated from the medieval times up to the 20th century. This is, next to the Museum of Polish Army in Warsaw, the biggest collection of Polish National treasures, with many unique objects and remembrances after the most important people in the Polish (and European) history. And this is only the part of the collection, which number is about 12 000 objects, but most of it is not on show.

This gallery has its long history. It exists from the 1991 but in fact it seemed to be never finished. So when years passed by it became less attractive and neglected, with the number of visits going constantly down. But there is no doubt it was really dull, despite the great objects: no historical paintings or drawings, no window curtains (so the daylight was really disturbing, reflecting from the showcases), not covered windows were always dirty, old floor, dirty walls, old and ugly cellar lamps, and many more embarrasing defects:


Around 2007 the management of the Museum started to consider a serious change of the gallery into the modern exhibition, but it was clear it won’t happen before 2012, as this operation required a lot of resources. The first project was priced for the 2,000,000 USD! This was the price for the complete arrangement, repairs of the building, new showcases and much more. It was a lot of money so the Director started to consider closing the exhibition down.

But thankfully in 2008 the light in the tunnel has appeared. The meeting of the NATO countries was planned in Krakow, and the organizers of the meeting decided to give a huge banquet for the special guests in the National Museum building. It was decided that all visitors should have a possibility to see this huge exhibition. The Minister of the National Defence decided to refinance Gallery for some changes. Considering the amount of money originally planned for the change, the donation of 120 000 $ (against 2 million) seemed to be very low. But it looks it worked out anyway!

The gallery was opened in time, first for Ministers of Defence of the NATO countries, and one month later for the public. It quickly became one of the most popular exhibitions in the Museum (which keeps around 10 big permanent galleries and few temporary ones) with 10,000 visitors during first month (comparing to a few hundreds per month before the renovation).

Below you’ll find over 100 pictures and 1 movie (page 5) from the gallery. It shows only a few objects amongst few hundreds musterpieces, so this is “A MUST” place for a longer visit. If you have any questions, please contact with me.

The Gallery is placed in the Main Building of the National Museum:







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