After months on ice, Warsaw’s cultural scene has finally hit the reactivate button!
Fryderyk Chopin Museum
ul. Okólnik 1, chopin.museum
The 18th century Ostrogski Palace is the perfect foil for the ultra-modern content of this multi-sensory space. The personal items are captivating (his death mask, gifts from his muse, etc.), but the big victory here is the museum’s ability to suck visitors right back into the times of Chopin through the use of interactive sights and sounds. Reopened TODAY.
Museum of Life Under Communism
ul. Piękna 28/34, mzprl.pl
One of our favorite independent museums in the country, this deeply personal insight into the former system allows visitors to view what Communism meant to the everyday person. Here, rifle and rummage through a room mocked-up to resemble a typical household apartment, watch propaganda films, peer inside a phone box, paw at vintage keep-fit gear, covet the ladies fashions of the time or sit inside a café inspired by the PRL era. Small but perfectly formed, it’s an absolute must-visit and officially reopened as of TODAY!
National Museum in Warsaw
Al. Jerozolimskie 3, mnw.art.pl
Famed for its collection of Dutch and Flemish masters, it’s also the final word in Polish art, with all the greats represented – inc. Matejko, Witkiewicz and other such stars. Other highlights include the Gallery of Polish Design, a full 360 view of Polish 20th century applied arts, not to mention the recently unveiled Gallery of Ancient Art. Featuring 1,800 ancient relics, find papyrus scrolls, Iranian golden masks and even an Egyptian mummy! Reopened TODAY, the museum also promises the reveal of a new temporary exhibition on Friday titled “Different Views: Dutch & Flemish paintings from the ERGO Hestia Collection”.
Zachęta National Gallery of Art
Pl. Małachowskiego 3, zacheta.art.pl
Consistently challenging our perception of “what art is”, the Zachęta’s reputation precedes itself: a bastion of contemporary art, its ever-changing lineup of exhibitions have presented a range of Polish and international artists. Often provocative and always on-edge, this is arguably the most famous gallery in the country. Reopens TODAY with exhibitions including Joanna Rajkowska’s Rhizopolis – a project that explores the future as seen after the planet reassembles itself from “a great catastrophe”.
Copernicus Science Centre
ul. Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie 20, kopernik.org.pl
Zillions of interactive exhibits allow visitors to experience an earthquake, walk on the moon, look at the world through the eyes of a snake and discover if your partner’s a good liar – and that’s the tip of the iceberg. Reopened TODAY.
The Royal Castle in Warsaw
Pl. Zamkowy 4, zamek-krolewski.pl
Highlights include the lavishly restored 18th century royal apartments with 22 paintings by Canaletto, the Senators’ Chamber in which the Constitution of the Third of May was signed, the biggest collection of oriental rugs in Europe and two remarkable Rembrandt paintings. Reopened TODAY.
Polish Vodka Museum
Pl. Konesera 1, muzeumpolskiejwodki.pl
Spread across five thematic exhibition halls and a screening room, the nation’s 600-year-old love affair with the drink is documented in a manner that, whilst meticulously detailed, comes interlaced with dry bursts of humor. Slick and visually enticing, visits reach a zenith inside a room stacked with glinting bottles. Reopened TODAY.
Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
ul. Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie 22, artmuseum.pl
Previously used to temporarily house Berlin’s Kunsthalle, this riverfront pavilion has housed a number of edgy contemporary exhibitions that have placed it firmly on the leaderboard of Poland’s top modern galleries. From TODAY, catch the works of Polish-Jewish modernist Henryk Streng.
ul. Towarowa 3, stacjamuzeum.pl
Inside, find 200 scale models of locomotives and steam engines, some beautifully detailed model villages and all kinds of train related ephemera: clocks, timetables, uniforms, etc. Outside is where the real anoraks head though, namely to clamber over fifty trains and carriages in various stages of life. Top billing goes to a 1942 German armored artillery train, and the walnut-clad personal wagon once used by Poland’s first post-war leader, Bolesław Bierut. Reopened TODAY!
Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw
Łazienki Park, lazienki-krolewskie.pl
Reopened as of TODAY, facilities to peruse within this imperial era park include the ground floor of the Palace on the Isle, the Old Orangery, the Myślewicki Palace and a temporary exhibition inside the White House titled “Beautiful Objects. Acquisitions 2020.” Admission is FREE until May 9th.
ul. Kozia 11, muzeumkarykatury.pl
The Guardian called it “one of the best museums you’ve probably never heard of”, a backhanded compliment that still sits proudly on the museum’s home page. Having recently fought off an attempt to merge it into the Museum of Warsaw, the museum still stands on its own feet fulfilling its mission to bring mirth and a bit of mayhem to Warsaw’s cultural scene. Reopened TODAY, the current exhibition focuses on the works of Teresa Jakubowska dating from the 1950s till the early 2000s.
The Warsaw Rising Museum
ul. Grzybowska 79, 1944.pl
Points of interest in the city’s most important museum include a life-size replica of a B-24 Liberator plane as well as a claustrophobic ‘sewage tunnel’ through which visitors gain an idea of the kind of conditions combatants faced. But it’s the little details that make the most impact: a pair of wedding bands forged from bullets; an Omega watch, it’s hands frozen at the same moment a bomb killed its owner; and a lucky cuddly mascot made from a German overcoat. At the end, view a stunning 3D CGI flight simulation that takes you over the smoldering ruins of Warsaw. Reopens on WEDNESDAY!
ul. Dzielna 24/26
What was once a Tsarist prison assumed a doubly sinister function under the Nazis. Some 100,000 Polish political prisoners were held here, 37,000 of which were executed on-site. Split in two sections, cells are found on one side, while on the other find a keen exploration of the invasion and subsequent German occupation. Reopens WEDNESDAY.
ul. Anielewicza 6, polin.pl
It’s staggering architectural beauty aside, POLIN’s copious highlights include a beautiful replica of the ceiling of the Gwoździec synagogue, a giant scale model of ancient Kraków, a rebuild of a pre-war Warsaw street and the so-called Legacy Gallery that was opened earlier in the year. Deservedly named the European Museum of the Year in 2016, the plaudits it’s received have been entirely deserving. Find it reopening on WEDNESDAY, and note that admission is FREE on Thursday.
ul. Jeziorańskiego 4, muzeumkatynskie.pl
Reopening this WEDNESDAY, this museum commemorates the murder of 21,000 Polish officers by the Soviets in the spring of 1940. Beyond its quite staggering architectural merit, the museum has done a stunning job of collecting and presenting artifacts relating to the slaughter.
Museum of Warsaw
Rynek Starego Miasta 28-42, muzeumwarszawy.pl
Reprised as a maze-like treasure-filled trove glimmering with curiosities, thousands of objects have been gathered here to detail the story of Warsaw in a non-linear style that can at times feel overwhelming. Peculiar souvenirs, scale models, old postcards and recovered works of art all combine with a mass of trivia to leave visitors boggled with knowledge. The vertiginous views of the Rynek are worth the admission alone. Reopens THURSDAY – though you may want to hold your visit until May 12th when they reveal their Animals of Warsaw exhibition!
ul. Mińska 25 (Soho Factory), neonmuzeum.org
Salvaged from the scrapheap (in many instances, literally), this museum houses several dozen PRL era neons that once lit up the capital and beyond. Beautiful in every respect, these renovated signs make for Warsaw’s coolest attraction: Instagram them now – or, at least, when the museum reopens THIS FRIDAY!
ul. Kredytowa 1, ethnomuseum.pl
Considerably revamped to meet the demands and attention-spans of the 21st century sightseer, the Ethnographic Museum is a visual pleasure that showcases colorful costumes, fabrics and ceramics from Poland and beyond. If ‘ethnographic’ sounds a bore, then this place is anything but – previous exhibitions include those dedicated to Hungarian erotica and the weird phenomenon that is Disco Polo. Opening on SATURDAY, the current temp exhibition is dedicated to fantastical Mexican sculpture.
The Heritage Interpretation Center
ul. Brzozowa 11-13, ciz.muzeumwarszawy.pl
This small hidden gem tells the complex story of Old Town’s reconstruction: if the first section about Warsaw’s physical elimination is poignant, then the path that follows does a fabulous job of sharing the optimism and alacrity that followed whilst making public the plans and methods used to raise this Phoenix from the ashes. Reopens MAY 15TH.
Museum of Praga
ul. Targowa 50/52, muzeumpragi.pl
The Praga Museum tells the story of the area with such charm and simplicity that it manages to leave an unlikely impression that’s as punchy as that of the big institutions. Star billing goes to a restored Jewish prayer room and the Flying Carpet: an exhibit festooned with various trinkets and treasures once available for purchase from local pavement traders. Reopens MAY 15TH.