Opening hours: Closed Mondays and Tuesdays; Wednesday 10am-5pm; Thursday to Sunday 10 am to 4 pm
The Polish Military Museum was established on the basis of a 1920 decree by Supreme Commander Marshall Jozef Pilsudski. Initially housed together with the National Museum in a building in Podwale Street, in 1934 it moved to a section of the National Museum's new building, a purpose-built edifice constructed in 1926-38 after the design by Tadeusz Tolwinski. The museum reopened after World War II in 1946 and continued to grow with the 1993 addition of its new divisions, the Museum of Katyn and the Museum of Polish Military Technology.
The holdings were compiled from the military section of the National Museum and various military objects used by the Polish formations in World War I. After World War II , the museum received an invaluable gift of weapons, uniforms and other objects used by the Polish Armed Forces in the West. Germany returned several military standards from 1939, while the Soviet Union and Russia contriubted many valuable pieces: a valuable seventeenth century gun barrel; an officer uniform from the time of the Kosciuszko Rising; a unique Polish Mors machine gun; and several standards, banners, and a gun used by Marshall Pilsudski were returned after 1989.
The holdings tell the story of the Polish armed forces from the Middle Ages to contemporary times, and include collections of edged weapons, firearms and protective weapons; eighteenth century and later uniforms; sixteenth century and later standards and banners; military orders and distinctions; equestrian equipment; hunting and sports weapons; marine and aviation equipment; and oriental and exotic arms. The Art Department houses a collection of battle-scene paintings, graphics, posters and drawings. The special holdings encompass extensive iconographic, archival and cartographic collections. Among the museum's prized possessions are the personal effects of distinguished military leaders and commanders, including Hetman Jan Tarnowski and Jozef Pilsudski. The park surrounding the museum is also home to an open-air exhibition of heavy military equipment (tanks, artillery, aircraft and mine detection and diffusion).
The Katyn Museum, housed in the Czerniakowski Fort built in 1883, contains the Katyn Exhibition, featuring objects left by the POWs murdered in 1940 and recovered in Katyn, Kharkov and Miednoye during the exhumation works carried out in 1991-94. The exhibition also includes documents related to the 1940 crime and its victims and many photographs. Other exhibitions include Polish Armoured Weapons: 1918-39 and Polish Military Aviation: 1917-2000. There is also an open-air exhibition of aircraft, armoured and artillery weapons.
Permanent exhibitions: Polish Armed Forces in the Middle Ages; Polish Army at the Time of Renaissance; History of the Old Polish Military: 1576-1648; Polish Army in the Second Half of the 17th Century; Polish Army in Saxon Times; Polish Army at the Time of the Enlightenment and the Kosciuszko Rising; Polish Legions in Italy and the Army of the Dukedom of Warsaw; The Army of the Kingdom of Poland and the November 1831 Rising; The January 1863 Rising; Polish Paramilitary Organisations of the Early 20th Century; The Roads to Independence: 1914-45; 'The Polish Army: 1921-39; Poland's Defence War of 1939; The Armed Struggle in the Occuppied Country: 1939-47; Polish Army in the East: 1943-45; UN Peace Missions of the Polish Army.