Celebrating its thirteenth year, the annual Night of Museums has grown from a piddling acorn into a strapping oak. Over 250 museums in Warsaw,open their door during the annual Night of Museums 2016.
by Alex WEBBER & Małgosia KRAKOWSKA
From humble beginnings, when 11 museums attracted 16,000 guests, the event has emerged to become one of Warsaw’s favorite nights. With over 250 institutions signed-up for this year’s installation, find galleries, museums, theaters and government buildings opening through the night enabling members of the public to have a free snoop.
The Warsaw version of this international event, sees special retro buses laid-on to ferry sightseers’ around free of charge, as well as a medley of one-off events to make the night special. Queues, especially for the bigger attractions, will be immense, though for many actually play an intrinsic part of the experience. Eschewing the more land-mark museums, we’ve stalked out the few lesser-known favorites to consider tonight… Unless stated otherwise, all events are free.
Not unlike discovering a lost world, the underground passages of the Filtry waterworks are an eye-opening, and at time mystical experience. Completed in 1886, this architectural marvel rates as one of the true wonders of Warsaw. Bring ID and expect queues: guided groups of 25 will be allowed in every half hour.
Visitors have the voyeuristic chance to see the antique interiors of this building, as well as passing through the inner courtyard, the representative halls and the Ambassador’s office. Entry is limited to 20 people every 20 minutes. English-speaking guides from 7 p.m. till 8 p.m.
Sweet dreams come true at the Wedel Chocolate Factory: see for yourself how Poland’s most famous chocolate is made, while beyond lies the unique opportunity to view their vintage production line and chocolate sculpture gallery (which includes a giant chocolate train…).
Warsaw’s first skyscraper will host a world class exhibition of the works of artist Henryk Dąbrowski, as well as theater performances and activities organized by the Children’s University of Interesting History. The tower was a key battleground during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, and visitors will have the chance to chat with surviving veterans. The top floor terrace is open from 6 p.m.
Once the seat of the Gestapo, the basement has been preserved from this time and presents a murky glimpse into the city’s dark past. Historical reenactment groups will prowl around to add atmospheric value, while the upper floors of the Ministry will also be open: get your photo snapped sat in the Education Minister’s chair!
Built as a temporary solution to house architects working on the post-war reconstruction of Warsaw, the ‘Finnish’ housing estate survives to this day. A serene sanctuary in the very heart of the city, many of these wooden chalets will open their doors to host poetry readings, parties, discussions and other activities aimed at raising awareness of this largely unknown community.
Family-oriented ceramics workshops during which visitors will learn the insider secrets of ceramic artistry. Every work will be fired in the kiln and then awarded to authors. Admission: zł. 5.
Works by some of Poland’s foremost contemporary artists, film screenings, a book fair and the MonotypeFest after party organized in the courtyard of the castle.
Attractions include a giant 30 sq/m scale reconstruction of pre-war Warsaw, a tour of the theater and spooling films shot from the air – perhaps the most fascinating promises to be ‘Flight Over The Conquered City’, which consists of numerous photos taken by a Luftwaffe pilot in September, 1939.
A light and music display commemorating the Great Synagogue that was demolished by the Nazis during WWII. The evening will also include lectures, exhibitions as well as recordings of the legendary Jewish cantor Gershon Sirota.
All you need to know about Polish dance and wedding traditions. Also planned are documentary screenings, an installation by Colombian artist Alejandro Olarte, ethnic make-up workshops and a behind the scenes look at the museum’s backstage collection.
This project includes the digital recovery of the works of Marcello Bacciarelli, the Royal Court’s painter to the last Polish monarch. The evening will be enhanced by a performance by influential Polish musicians such as Wojciech Waglewski and Adam Strug. Stunning light installations will be kept on from dusk till dawn.
Capture the moment a water balloon pops through the lens of a high speed camera, check out the illuminated 3D prints and explore their latest exhibition: the On The Move, Thinkatorium. The planetarium will be open from 8.30 p.m. till 1.30 a.m.
Such a museum does exist, and aside from being handed free butter croissants, visitors can look forward to hearing anecdotes from the bakers as well as viewing the vintage collection of baking equipment.
Warsaw’s newest – and swankest – micro-district officially launches today! Proceedings begin at 7 p.m. and will include an exhibition of upcoming artists representing the Academy of Fine Arts, a photography competition, outdoor theater, the unveiling of the fountains, 3D mapping and much more besides.
Enter the virtual reality of Alice in Wonderland. The experience involves interactive workshops, games (a game of Snake that utilizes glass bricks), 3D video-mapping, and the interdisciplinary board game Where is Alice. Also, anime cartoon screenings prepared in cooperation with the Japanese embassy.
So long, farewell. Aside from a last chance to view the Museum’s provocative collection of contemporary art, there’ll be numerous musical performances courtesy of Warsaw-based foreign musicians. On the stroke of midnight, this remarkable piece of communist era architecture will close its doors for the final time: symbolically somewhat, staff and visitors are encouraged to leave as one.
Join Warsaw’s army of jazz fiends to geek over photography exhibitions and record covers. The principal highlight, however, is a musical program that’s set to run through the night with performances by such luminaries as the Warsaw Dixielanders, the Dreaming Ukulele Trio and Olga Boczar.
An evening of fencing demonstrations, live kendo, and judo led by Polish Olympian Paweł Nastula. Buses will run to the museum’s sister establishment, Legia Warszawa’s football museum.
This event involves a fencing tournament prepared by the Hungarian-Polish Fencing School, a Hungarian food tasting, movie screenings and an exposition relating to Francis II Rakoczy, a Hungarian national hero and the leader of the Hungarian Uprising against the Habsburgs.
Lectures, painting and calligraphy workshops, surmounted with fittings of traditional Korean Hanbok outfits.
If you fancy beer to go alongside your dose of culture then his cult café-bar provides just that opportunity. Aside from an exhibition showcasing the works of young illustrators from the Academy of Fine Arts, one particular highlight will be looping screenings of Example: 9 Grzybowska Street, a film that delves into the ‘wild east’ days of 90s Warsaw.
Aside from tours of the buildings, specific events that have been lined-up include a police dog display, bomb disposal demonstrations and a staging of famous criminal cases. For reasons of crowd control, admission to the more ‘in demand’ activities will be limited.
Warsaw’s Dom Ukraiński invites all to partake in doll-making workshops, listen to folk concerts and taste regional delicacies prepared by ladies from the Ukrainian Women’s Association. Educational games for children, dance and art workshops for everyone.
For a full comprehensive schedule of events, see the excellent English-language PDF released by City Hall: click here!