Opening hours: The Palace: May-October: closed Mondays, open all other days; other months: closed Mondays and Tuesdays, open all other days; Rynek (Market Square) premises: closed Mondays and Wednesdays, open all other days.
The Museum was established in 1908 as a community-run institution of the Kielce Division of the Polish Nature and Heritage Society intended to document local archeology, history, nature and wildlife. In 1936 it adopted the name of the Museum Swietokrzyskie, and this name was used when it reopened after World War II. Although 1947 was the year of the musem's official revival, the Organisational Committee had been active since 1945, and the first exhibition was shown in 1946. Poland's eighth museum to be accorded the status of a national museum (in 1975), it has two divisions: the Henryk Sienkiewicz Museum in Oblegorek, opened in 1958, and the Stefan Zeromski School Years Museum, opened in 1964, on the centenary of the writer's death, in the eighteenth century building of the Kielce gymnasium where Zeromski had been a pupil.
The first post-war premises of the Museum were the Houses under Three Coats of Arms, the second half of the eighteenth century and nineteenth century buildings in the Rynek (Market Square). In 1971 a new location - a palace assembly, once a residence of Cracow bishops - was added, and has since become the Museum's main premises. Built owing to the efforts of Bishop Jakub Zadzik and with the participation of Italian architects J. Trevano (?) and T. Poncino in 1637-41, the manneristic palace, its wings added in 1729 and 1745, is a rare example of secular architecture of the Vasa dynasty period. The ceremonious interiors still feature the original polychromied beam-framed ceilings with three plafonds made in the workshop of the Italian master Tomasso Dolabelii in the 1640s, a frieze in the Great Dining Hall with 35 portraits of Krakow bishops, stuccos on the vaulting, portals and fireplaces.
The Museum preserves its holdings in the following departments: Painting and Sculpture, Decorative Arts, Graphic Art, Numismatics, Militaria, History, Archeology, Nature. and Folk Art. The Gallery of Polish Painting presents the output of Polish artists of the seventeenth century to contemporary times, boasting one of Poland's largest collections of old Polish art, with the famous portrait of Tadeusz Kosciuszko by J. Grassi, one of Kosciuszko's six portraits done in his lifetime and surviving to this day. Realistic landscapes and genre painting are represented by J. Szermentowski, whose works are more numerous at Kielce than anywhere else in Poland, W. Malecki, A. Kotsis, A. Gierymski, J. Chelmonski, W. Gerson and others. The holdings include paintings by such masters as J. Malczewski (POLONIA and SELF-PORTRAIT IN ARMOUR), J. Pankiewicz (PORTRAIT OF THE GIRL IN A RED DRESS), S. Wyspianski (PORTRAIT OF ELIZA PARENSKA and TREASURES OF THE SESAME), J. Falat, L. Wyczolkowski, T. Makowski and W. Wojtkiewicz. There is a collection of paintings by O. Boznanska from her Munich and Paris periods, paintings by the formists (K. Winkler, Z. Pronaszko, S. I. Witkiewicz) and by the capists, and contemporary paintings by J. Tchorzewski, B. W. Linke, W. Hasior, Z. Beksinski, F. Starowieyski, M. Anto and others. The holdings of graphic art encompass works by Polish artists of the seventeenth through the twentieth century, notably a collection of 236 works by S. Mrozewski with his lifetime achievement, a series of 101 woodcut illustrations to Dante's DIVINE COMEDY. There is also a collection of prints and drawings by Italian, German, French, Dutch and English artists of the sixteenth through the nineteenth century. Decorative arts encompass sixteenth through eighteenth century furniture made in Italy, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands as well as in the workshops of Gdansk, Elblag, Kolbuszowa and Kielce; Dresden, Chinese and Japanese china, Italian maiolicas, Delft faiences; artistic glass; silver tableware, including Augsburg Baroque trays, mugs and tankards; church and secular items made by the goldsmiths of Gdansk, Krolewiec (Koenigsberg), Silesia, Germany and Italy; a collection of textiles, including Polish and oriental carpets, silk rugs and tapestries from the workshops and manufactures of the Netherlands, Brussels, Paris and Poland. The Folk Art Department preserves exhibits from the area of Kielce. The holdings inlcude sculpture with 150 works by J. Pilat, contemporary folk painting, notably by M. Wisnios, costume from the regions of Opoczno, Radom and Swietokrzyskie, and crafts, particularly weaving, pottery, smithery, wood-carving, and toys. The archeological holdings, encompassing exhibits ranging in date from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages, boast a rare treasure of third century A.D. Roman denars found in Polaniec, the only such find in the world outside the area of the Roman empire; a set of clay vessels from the graveyard of Zlota near Sandomierz, instrumental in defining the archeological culture by the same name; Poland's largest excavated vessels of the Bronze Age Trzciniec culture; militaria and Roman imports. The History Department preserves printed documents and manuscripts, with a valuable group of fourteenth century parchments; letters, including those written by Michal Czajkowski - Sadyk Pascha to Ludwika Sniadecka, as well as archival items and iconography related to Kielce and its environs. Among the strengths of the holdings of numismatics, seals and orders and distinctions are coins dating from the times of Jagiellonian and Vasa dynasties, a collection of sixteenth to twentieth century seal pistons, as well as silver and bronze medals from the mints of Gdansk, Warsaw, Nuremburg and Munich. The militaria include Polish and European arms and weapons of the sixteenth through through the twentieth century, used both for defence and attack purposes, as well as items used in ceremonies and by officials, notably Russian, Prussian, French and Hungarian sabres. There is a also a numerous collection of Middle and Far Eastern weapons, including janissary sabres, jatagans (swords), Caucasian double-edged swords, Hindu talwars, and Persian and Japanese swords. The Nature and Wildlife Department contains specimens of local plants and animals, including trilobites and organisms living in the Miocene epoch. There is a unique ornithological collection with specimens of water fowl now extinct in the Swietorzyskie area. The geological and mineralogical holdings include rare minerals, ores and barites as well as specimens of the Kielce marble. The herbaries feature complete sets of local plants.
Permanent exhibitions: "Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Interiors" (the Hall, Great Dining Room, suites of the bishops and prelates of the Cracow chapter and senator rooms furnished according to their function); "Old European and Oriental Arms and Weapons"; "Marshall Jozef Pilsudski's Sanctuary"; "Gallery of Polish Painting and Decorative Arts" (in the north wing). The exhibitions at 3, 4 and 5, Market Square, include "Nature and Wildlife of the Swietokrzyski Region" and "Contemporary Folk Art of the Kielce Region".
Muzeum Narodowe w Kielcach
pl. Zamkowy 1
Phone: (+48 41) 344 40 14, 344 25 59, 344 67 64
Fax: (+48 41) 344 82 61
Email: [email protected]