The Museum of History of the City of Łodz
Opening hours: Closed Mondays; Open Tuesdays, Thursdays 10am-4pm; Wednesdays 2pm-6pm; Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays 10am-6pm.
The Museum of History of the City of Łodz opened in 1975 in the former residence of the Łodz-based manufacturer Izrael Kalmanowicz Poznanski. Poznanski and his sons built their palace at the turn of the twentieth century at the height of the textile industry. Huge fortunes were amassed overnight, and spectacular residences were built to testify to their owners' status and wealth.
The most magnificent of these residences built at the time, the Poznanski Palace is also one of the few remaining compounds where the palace and the factory buildings represent a unity. The Palace itself is a monumental neo-Baroque edifice richly decorated with architectural and sculptural detail, displaying dome and turret-topped roofs covered in intricate tin scales. Equally splendid are the interiors, especially the ballroom, dining room, card playing room, and snooker room. Decorated with stuccoes, colourful marble, paintings, gilding, mosaics, and wood panelling with in-built wardrobes, cupboards and sofas, these rooms were made to look even more resplendent by vast mirrors, cut-glass chandeliers and brass sconces.
However, interiors are not simply a reconstruction of the former Palace rooms. The furnishings, objects of daily use, bric-a-brac, paintings, photographs, documents, and other items have been put together in the exhibition History, Culture, Everyday Life of Łodz, presenting the life of the population of Łodz from the late 19th-century to the outbreak of World War II. Visitors will see an average kitchen, hall, washing room, mangle room, a section of a street, as well as interiors of the rich townspeople, furnished with Louis Philippe and Louis XV furniture, decorated with paintings by Leon and Samuel Hirszenberg, Maurycy Trebacz, Natan Spiegel, and containing silver tableware and porcelain dating from the late 19th and early 20th-centuries.
Another part of the exhibition is devoted to the famous citizens of Łodz, such as Izrael Poznanski and other key industrialists; Hilary Majewski, the architect and first designer of the Poznanski Palace; Wladyslaw Strzeminski, famous painter of the inter-war period, and other artists of his circle; the poet Marian Piechal (b. 1904); the world-famous pianist Artur Rubinstein (the only exhibition devoted to Rubinstein in the world); the poet and translator Karl Dedecius; and Jan Karski, the envoy of Poland's underground authorities who first alerted the West to the Holocaust. The theatre life of Łodz is attractively presented in interiors imitating an actress's dressing room, while the card playing room, containing a collection of games from the second half of the nineteenth century, such as draughts, chess, dice, cards, snooker, and various kinds of record players, also shows photographic portraits of the citizens. The whole exhibition tells the story of the unique history and culture of Łodz - a multinational industrial whose birth and growth was unprecedented. The contribution of Łodz's nationalities to the town's culture is reflected in the title given to one of the sections of the exhibition The Triada of Lodz. Three Great Communities: The Poles, the Germans and the Jews. The Holocaust of the Łodz Jews during World War II is shown through the exhibition Work is the Only Way: The Łodz Ghetto 1940-1944.
Muzeum Historii Miasta Łodzi
ul. Ogrodowa 15
Phone: (+48 42) 654 00 33, 654 03 32 (dyr.)
Phone/Fax: (+48 42) 654 03 23