POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
The Museum of the History of Polish Jews stands in what was once the heart of Jewish Warsaw – an area which the Nazis turned into the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II.
This significant location, coupled with the Museum’s proximity to the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, demanded extreme thoughtfulness on the part of the building’s designers, who carefully crafted a structure that has become a symbol of the new face of Warsaw. The design by the Finnish studio Lahdelma & Mahlamäki was selected in an international competition. In 2008, with the building still under construction, it received the prestigious Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award (2008).
The idea for creating the museum was initiated in 1995 by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland. In the same year, the Warsaw City Council allocated the land for this purpose in Muranów, Warsaw’s prewar Jewish neighborhood. In 2005, the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland established a unique private-public partnership with the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the City of Warsaw. On January 17th 2014 the Minister of Culture, Bogdan Zdrojewski, appointed Prof. Dariusz Stola as the new director of the Museum.
As early as in September 2006, a specially designed tent called Ohel was erected for exhibitions and events on the museum's future location.The cornerstone was laid in 2007, and the museum opened its doors to the public 0n April 19, 2013 on the 70th Anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. During the first few months that followed, more than 180,000 visitors toured the building, visited the first temporary exhibitions, and took part in cultural and educational programs.
The Grand Opening, with the completed Core Exhibition, occupying around 4 000 sq m (ca. 43 000 sq ft), is planned for 28 October 2014. It will immerse visitors in the world of Polish Jews, from their arrival in Po-lin as traveling merchants in medieval times until today. The exhibition was developed by an international team of more than 120 scholars, working under the direction of Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett from New York University. It is being produced by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland thanks to the support of donors from all over the world. Each of the eight galleries will present a different chapter of the story of Polish Jews, enabling visitors to come into intimate contact with those who lived that story through images, artifacts, first-person accounts and interactive multimedia.