Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Museum of the Warsaw Uprising

When it gets to Sunday morning and I'm lying in bed avoiding getting up, I usually think back over the weekend so far. Generally there have been a couple of interesting nights out but a wasted day, or a Saturday filled with boring necessities like cleaning and supermarkets.

Well, this weekend we decided to do something with our Sunday that would justify its (and our) existence. We trotted off to the newish Museum of the Warsaw Uprising (which their website actually calls the 'Warsaw Rising Museum' but that conjures a different image in my mind) and were impressed.

The museum is pretty new and modern in its approach. There are no long display cabinets under harsh lighting, but interesting and interactive displays using film, photography, newspaper extracts, models, mock-ups of rooms and bunkers, and plenty of bits of paper to collect.

The museum revolves around a central pillar, which pulsates, as if with a heartbeat. If you go up close, you discover speakers hidden all over with sounds of the uprising broadcast from it, but the beating sound follows you throughout the tour.

Its an awfully tragic story, and you can't but feel indignant and ashamed that the allies abandoned the Poles to defend their city alone, but the Polish sense of pride permeates the museum, and the heroic efforts of the unequal fight are honoured.

The information was well presented and clear (although they really should have got a native-speaker to check the English translations) and I especially liked the old photos and description of the Scout-run postal service that they set up around the city.

It's a museum that takes a good couple of hours to get round, and on Sunday it was packed, but towards the end they have thoughtfully placed a Blickle cafe where you can have a coffee and a piece of cake to see you through the rest of the displays.

If you haven't already been, go and see it!


At 11/22/2005 12:52:00 PM, Blogger jeronimo said...

Ditto! It's an excellent museum that is well-crafted and attention getting on all levels, literally and figuratively. Even the horrific video clips are set up in such a manner that young children aren't tall enough to look 'into' the monitors or peep holes. I went for the 2nd time a few weeks ago, and my first time was last year October. The cafe is new, along with a few more exhibits. It looks like they still have more stuff planned, too, so I'll be back again in the next year. Kudos to the Poles who worked so hard on this important exhibit!

At 11/22/2005 06:07:00 PM, Anonymous Kinuk said...

I agree with both of you! It is an excellent museum and N and I loved it when we went. The fact that it was so interactive made it really come home for me.

At 11/22/2005 09:25:00 PM, Blogger beatroot said...

Ditto. I can't actually think of a better museum in Warsaw than that one. And the word 'Rising' is the one Norman davies uses for his great book.

At 11/23/2005 06:05:00 PM, Blogger Gustav said...

This is a great resource for more on the Warsaw Uprising.

At 12/01/2005 08:17:00 PM, Blogger Eugene said...

Hi All! I'm new on this blog. I would like to introduce myself, born and raised in New York City, USA, moved to south-eastern Poland on June, 2002. My home is here in Siemiechów now. I've been to Warsaw many times and I really enjoyed it there each time I visited. There is so much history and culture in Warsaw. I currently live in a village, in the mountains, in south-eastern Poland, about 32 km south of the city of Tarnow. I hope we all get to know each other, and all are invited here. I hope to be in Warsaw in then near future again. Keep in touch!

At 12/02/2005 12:33:00 AM, Blogger Gustav said...

Welcome Eugene!

At 12/02/2005 08:16:00 PM, Blogger Eugene said...

Thanks Gustav! Hey, what does it take to become a 'member' of this blog? You should all make a trip down south to Małopolskie here for a beer, seriously. Keep in touch and thanks again!

Best Regards,
Siemiechów, Poland


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