The Polish Aviation Museum is situated within the heart of Krakow, Poland, located on the site of the now defunct Kraków-Rakowice-Czyzyny Airport. Combining cutting-edge technology with a look into the history of aviation, the Polish Aviation Museum is a must-see for those visiting the city, particularly the aviation buffs among them.
Following the 1963 closing of the Kraków-Rakowice-Czyzyny Airport, the Polish Aviation Museum was opened, due in part to efforts by the Kraków Aero Club. By 1967, the museum was taken over by the Polish Federation of Engineering Association and renamed the Polish Aviation Museum.
The museum operated out of the airport’s remaining buildings, presenting their collection in the four existing hangars despite their lack of modern amenities. In 2010, however, the museum expanded their property, opening a new, modern facility to serve as their center of operations. This main building holds permanent and temporary exhibits, an auditorium, a museum store, and a variety of spaces for educational and cultural events.
The Polish Aviation Museum has a wide variety of aircrafts in their permanent collection. While some are only a few decades old, others date back more than a century, truly making the collection a journey through time. Displayed throughout the buildings, hangars, and grounds of the museum, the permanent exhibits offer an up-close look at the aircrafts that shaped history.
The museum’s permanent exhibit is made up of 6 categories of aircrafts.
Airplanes – With over 100 displayed vehicles, airplanes make up a majority of the museum’s permanent collection. These aircrafts range in purpose from passenger planes to military vehicles.
Helicopters – The museum also has 16 helicopters shown. Although many are of Polish origin, the museum has several from France, the United States, and Russia in their collection as well.
Gliders – 27 gliders make up this portion of the museum’s collection. Including the first Polish glider with an entirely metal body, these vehicles again range in purpose, significance, and origin.
Motor Gliders – Comprised of only three aircrafts, this is the museum’s smallest collection. Nevertheless, the collection offers a look into the past with motor gliders from 1949, 1972, and 1990.
Aircraft Engines – There are over 100 aircraft engines displayed at the museum, sharing the spotlight with airplanes as one of the largest parts of the museum’s permanent collection.
Other – This final element of the museum is made up almost entirely of anti-aircraft guns from Russia. These weapons provide interesting and necessary context to the rest of the museum’s aviation-based exhibits.
Visitors of the Polish Aviation Museum are also always welcome to use the available Internet stations, as well as the scientific library’s reading room and photographic archives.
The Polish Aviation Museum offers educational opportunities for school-age children. Although some are limited to local children, school groups are encouraged to make reservations through the museum’s website or by phone.
For children between the ages of 6 and 14, the museum has put together a modeling class, in which students can learn how aircrafts are built. Reservations are required and can be made through the museum’s website.
Children in the Krakow area can also enjoy the museum’s “Aerial Kindergarten” program. Students will be given a tour of the museum, an opportunity to make art inspired by aviation, and a morning meal. Groups may book a specific date for their visit by contacting the museum.
The Polish Aviation Museum also hosts a variety of regularly scheduled special events guaranteed to pique any air-enthusiast’s interest.
Every Tuesday, the museum shows films that are related to aviation in their on-site cinema. The cinema is located within the main building, and information about these showings is available on the museum’s website or at the information desk.
On Sundays, guests are invited to attend the museum’s event, “Meetings by Plane.” At each of these meetings, aviation expert Jan Hoffman shares the story of a different aircraft, from the machine’s design and creation to its participation in historical events.
During the last weekend in June, the museum also hosts the annual Lesser Poland Air Picnic. The event features a showcase of historical aircrafts, airshows from experienced pilots, and a wide range of food and entertainment. Groups also reenact distant and contemporary events. Visitors should be sure to check the museum’s website for changes in the events scheduling due to weather conditions.
Dining and Shopping
The Polish Aviation Museum includes at least one vending machine and a coffee bar that sells light snacks, but visitors seeking a full meal may need to leave the museum to eat. Although the museum does not offer any sit-down dining options, Krakow is home to a growing culinary scene, so visitors will not find themselves hungry for long.
In the museum’s main building, visitors can find a museum store that offers aviation-related souvenirs, publications, and gifts.
al. Jana Pawla II 39, 31-864 Kraków, Poland, Phone: +48-1-26-40-99-60