This incredible museum can be found in Warsaw, Poland. Just like most other military history museums, this one houses and aggressively collects artifacts, including war planes, weapons, uniforms, gear, and many others. The museum actively creates amazing exhibits that display their historical collection for every visitor to learn about and experience for themselves.
The Polish Army Museum has been around since 1920, luckily surviving WWII. The Supreme Commander and Marshal of Poland at the time of the museum opening, Józef Pilsudski was the man who gave the orders to build such a building to house all of Poland’s military history. The mission statement of the museum when it opened was that it would house the glory of the Polish people who have served in war, and the young Polish warriors who would succeed them would inherit such a monument and add to the collection. The museum represents three important things that everything should be categorized inside:
Deeds- These exhibits would display the heroic acts of the famous Polish warriors throughout history. They present the bravery in certain battles, tactical genius, and sieges.
Things- These are the artifacts to which were the tools of the Great Polish Army. Visitors will see displayed here uniforms and clothes, weapons, paintings, rows, and banners, among various other memorabilia.
People- This museum is notorious for giving glory where it is due. The leaders and other heroes who went above and beyond the call of duty for the Polish people are proudly displayed among the various exhibits.
Although the museum survived WWII, it did take a significant blow to its collective inventory. In 1939, the Germans occupied the museum and they plundered and destroyed much of the artifacts that were placed there just 15 years earlier. One of the heroes of the time, Stanislaw Lorenz, saved most of the museum’s most prized possessions in a complicated evacuation plan. Once Europe was liberated, the collection that was saved came back to the museum from Krakow, Poland safely.
After WWII, the museum obviously had quite a bit to add to their exhibits, featuring heroes, leaders, and artifacts to further emphasize the strength of the Polish people. Today, the museum has 250,000 pieces of history in the many exhibits, and that number grows every year.
The main collections that are displayed throughout the museum have around 89,000 historical pieces. Visitors find themselves completely immersed in the extraordinarily large building and listing the permanent exhibits would take up an entire book.
What visitors find is that the museum displays everything related to warfare from Poland and the surrounding region dating back as far as possible, depending on what the museum acquires. The main collection is divided up into eight separate buildings, with the pieces displayed inside the main building as an exception. The museum’s staff further separates all the artifacts and memorabilia into categories such as:
· Riding and Equestrian Equipment
· Weksylia- meaning decorative military apparel and orders
· Signs and Badges
· Armor and other protective gear
· Firearm Bullets and Weapons that Flew
· Military Gear- this is organized by military career, like sapper, rifleman, medic, etc.
Every permanent exhibit will house the same types of items, and will always add on to the exhibits, never to take away. Other historical items visitors can find is:
· Offensive Weapons- this museum displays hundreds of years of history in combat arms, including spears, swords, guns, and other weapons
· Battle Specific Exhibits- visitors will find multiple exhibits that are solely dedicated to a specific battle or other period in time where they display the weapons used, the leaders who led the Polish Forces into battle, and the heroes who sacrificed everything for the Polish people.
Incisive Weapons Collection- This part of the museum houses about 7,000 different close combat weapons used by the Polish Military throughout the years, as well as different European and Asian weapons. This is a special exhibit that the museum is still working to expand while they search for acquiring more special items. Visitors can find weapons like:
· Ancient Polish Rapiers and Daggers
· Ancient European Weapons
· Modern Weapons- Both Polish, European, and Asian weapons can be found in the exhibit. Visitors will find katanas, European broadswords, rapiers, sabers, daggers, bayonets, cutlass’, and hunting knives and weapons
· Also, in the Oriental Collection, visitors will find Turkish, Persian, Indian, and famous Japanese swords from all parts of history
Firearms Collection- This collection of exhibits houses over 9,000 different firearms from the 15th century, forward. Throughout the museum, visitors will find muskets, arquebuses, pistols, powder guns, long rifles, and of course, the modern weapons used by the military.
Art Collections- Throughout the museum, visitors can find thousands of pieces that were painted by many famous artists depicting heroic acts, battles, war scenes, and many other military depictions. Visitors will also find many sculptures, mostly busts of famous leaders and heroes throughout the history of Poland.
The Polish Army Museum celebrates National Holidays with special events every year. But, one is particular is Poland’s National Independence Day, which the museum celebrates with the rest of the beautiful country in different ways every year.
Several different kinds of tours can be scheduled and booked in advance that does create a special event for you and your group. The museum does have special days where they do certain tours for people on specific days, remembering certain times in history. Although, every single day can be remembered, and every day is a special event in such a large museum with so much history inside of it.
Shopping and Dining
The museum itself does not have any restaurants or eateries inside, but the museum resides in Downtown Warsaw, so there is plenty of incredible places to go for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that are within walking distance.
The museum does have a shop though. No, you cannot buy any of the artifacts the museum proudly displays, but you can visit the shop inside to take a look at some of the replicas and other military style products they have for sale. The shop also has a small collection of books that different historians have wrote about certain times and events in history.
Al. Jerozolimskie 3 00-495 Warsaw, Poland, Phone: 02-26-29-52-71-72