Warsaw Uprising Museum, Poland

Warsaw Rising Museum (Polish: Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego), is dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The Warsaw Rising Museum was opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of fighting in Warsaw. The Museum is a tribute of Warsaw’s residents to those who fought and died for independent Poland and its free capital.

The institution of the museum was established in 1983, but no construction work took place for many years. It opened on July 31, 2004, marking the 60th anniversary of the uprising. The Warsaw Rising Museum was opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of fighting in Warsaw. The Museum is Warsaw residents’ tribute to those who fought and died for independent Poland and its free capital. It is located in a former tram power station, a 20th century landmark of industrial architecture located by Przyokopowa and Grzybowska streets.

The museum sponsors research into the history of the uprising, and the history and possessions of the Polish Underground State. It collects and maintains hundreds of artifacts — ranging from weapons used by the insurgents to love letters — to present a full picture of the people involved. The museum’s stated goals include the creation of an archive of historical information on the uprising and the recording of the stories and memories of living participants. The museum is a member organisation of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience.

For the ten years of its activity, the Museum received almost 4 600 000 visitors; more than 240 000 students from all school profiles took part in museum workshops. The Museum gathered over 30 000 exhibits, of which nearly 1000 are presented on the exhibition area of 3000 km2. The Museum Library’s collection consists of over 11 000 volumes. We have already issued over 170 000 own publications. The Museum was covered in over 10 000 press articles. By the present date, over 2000 interviews with the Insurgents were carried out and recorded as a part of the Oral History Archive.

The museum covers all aspects of the Warsaw Uprising.

There are exhibits over several floors, containing photographs, audio and video, interactive displays, artifacts, written accounts, and other testimonies of how life was during the German occupation of Warsaw, the uprising, and its aftermath. There are displays dedicated to each district of Warsaw. There are many free informative leaflets and flyers (in Polish and English), including 63 calendar pages covering the dates from 1 August 1944 to 2 October 1944 — each containing a summary of the most important events that took place on that particular day of the uprising.

Some of the many sections and exhibits include:

The “little insurgent” room: dedicated to the youngest insurgents and children’s experience of the uprising. The room includes a replica of the “little insurgent” monument and a colourised photograph of Róża Maria Goździewska, a girl who was known as “the little nurse”.
Kino palladium: a small cinema showing a continuous stream of original footage taken by insurgent filmographers in 1944, which was used to produce newsreels that were shown in Warsaw’s Palladium cinema during the uprising.
Sewer replicas: one on the mezzanine floor and another in the basement — a chance to experience the practice of using the sewers to move through German-held territory (without the dirt).
Insurgent hospital: help for the wounded during the uprising.
Hangar: a hall containing a full-size B-24 Liberator.
Large cinema: on the ground floor, it presents a film reconstructed of newsreels. It concludes with Chopin’s Prelude in D Minor, Op. 28 no. 24.
Observation tower: panoramic views of Warsaw from the top of the building.
Print shop: a room containing original typewriters and printing equipment used for producing underground newspapers during the German occupation.
City of Ruins: a short 3D movie of the ruins of Warsaw taken from the air in 1945.
Nazi section: the horrors of the German occupation and the atrocities committed by the Germans and their collaborators during the uprising.
Communist section: the Soviet takeover of Poland, Stalin’s puppet government, lack of help for the uprising, and the fate of the Polish resistance in post-war communist Poland.

The exhibition depicts fighting and everyday life during the Rising, keeping occupation terror in the background. Complexity of the international situation at the time of the Rising is portrayed, including the post-war years of the Communist regime and the fate of Insurgents in the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL). With the total area of more than 3000 m2, 800 exhibition items, approximately 1500 photographs, films and sound recordings, history of the days preceding the Rising is told. Visitors are guided through the subsequent stages of the Rising until the time when the Insurgents left Warsaw. Their further fate is also portrayed.

The second part of the permanent exhibition, opened in May of 2006 in Hall B, presents the story of Allied airdrops. Its highlight is a replica of a Liberator B-24J bomber. Much of the exhibition has been devoted to the Germans and their allies, showing their actions in Warsaw as documented in official texts from the time of the Rising and in private notes. The stories of eye witnesses of the August and September 1944 events are played in Hall B. These recordings came from the audiovisual Spoken History Archive at the Warsaw Rising Museum. A movie theatre shows films about the Rising on a panoramic screen. At the mezzanine gallery various temporary exhibition are displayed. The Museum tower is a special attraction with a view of the Freedom Park and the city of Warsaw.