Collections

Patriotic mementos

Mementos collection contains objects related to the Kościuszko's Insurrection, November and January Uprisings, era of patriot manifestations before January Uprising, Kraków Revolution, Polish Legions and Supreme National Committee and also keepsakes from the latter half19th century and 1st half of 20th century reminding important anniversaries of historic, social and political events, birthdays and death of national heroes. Importance of national mementos had increased before January uprising 1861 - 1862. Mementos were created mainly under Russian and Austrian annexation (Partitions of Poland era). Because of censorship, they were homemade without any signatures. Collecting and wearing them was an act of patriotism, approving rebels fighting for fatherland independence. Mementos were signs, symbols and allegory articulating fidelity to motherland and God.
The most precious memento from Kościuszko Insurrection era is golden ring with miniature portrait of Tadeusz Kościuszko. With Kraków Uprising era of 1846 connects inter alia bronze medallion commemorating Galician Slaughter with effigy of Austrian Chancellor Clemens Metternich and Jacob Szela by H. Dmowski, also uprising's standard with eagle without crown and black glazed golden ring "the Eternal Tear of 1846", recalling to the last events that year. Among precious mementos from Kraków time of the Spring of Nations, we can find bead broidery with patriotic emblem 1848, red and white rosettes with eagle worn by rebels.
From the November Uprising, an important item is a pair of golden glazed rings with coffin shape spots, where insurgents' figures are hidden, showed by pressing mounted button. Also, brooch with an eagle, arms of Lithuania, crossed lance with scythe, three November uprisings allegories with Polish and Lithuanian crests made by anonymous authors. With uprising's fall is related an allegory painted by January Suchodolski on blade in 1840 and tapestry from 1831 made by anonymous Siberian exile.
Patriotic feelings refreshed in the years preceding January Uprising are documented with precious collection of mourning and black jewelry. It consists of rings, medallions, iron and silver crosses, wore mass to remember victims of February, March and April patriotic manifestations in Warsaw 1862. There is also a collection of elite jewelry, higher quality of manufacture, made from silver, lacquer, ebonite, black glass and pearls beads, bracelets, chain necklaces, manacles and thorns. With the uprising itself, there is a related inter alia an album and tableau made with insurgents' photographs, silver eagle from the pole of the regiment's standard of Marian Lingiewicz, the dictator of the uprising. There is also an Uprising's garget and a diary- album with a collection of patriotic poems from the 1863. After the failure of the uprising, the repressions enacted by the authorities had prohibited patriotic jewelry and therefore it was no longer a common form of demonstrating patriotic feelings.
Prisoners and exiles made the most precious and valuable among the mementos from the 1870's and 1880's. There is a well-preserved set of those mementos in the Museum-- like a model of a Siberian silver mine in a bottle or a model of a prison cell from an Austrian Fortress in 1865. There are also embroidered and painted allegories of November Uprising with homeland tomb theme from the second half of the 19th century, embroideries, table clothing with Polish and Lithuanian crests, bracelets, medallions and brooches.
The pursuit of country's independence was getting stronger and stronger in the 1890's and it is best visible in the Austrian annexation. Documented by numerous medallions, badges, stickers, utilities and jewelry, those items were made for special anniversary celebrations. They were as follows: the resolution of the 3rd May Constitution, 250th anniversary of the Winner relief, funeral of Adam Mickiewicz in 1891, anniversaries of birth and death of Tadeusz Kościuszko and Józef Poniatowski, the unveiling of the Grunwald monument in Kraków in 1910, the beginning of Kosciuszko Insurrection and the January Uprising.
After the beginning of World War I, forming of the Polish Legions and Supreme National Committee, Austrian annexation became the enclave of public exposure if patriotic feelings. Celebration of anniversaries of the break of successive uprisings, anniversaries of deaths of national heroes, and holidays and anniversaries connected with forming and battles of Polish Legions and the activity of Supreme National Committee, all this led to creating dozens of various mementos. These were mainly such things as wedding rings, rings, brooches, snuffboxes, badges, plates, tokens and medallions, commemorating albums, Legion Shields and columns of Legions. The habit of immortalizing important evens for Poland and Kraków by making such patriotic mementos lives on even today.
Various items of such type, from 1918 until 1990 are preserved. Among them we can find: Kraków's liberation mark of distinction 1918, mementos commemorating moving Juliusz Słowacki corpse to Wawel Hill, rising of Józef Piłsudski's mound in Kraków (shovel and barrow miniatures), items dug out by people who were incarcerated by Nazis in Montelupich prison and on the Czarnieckiego Street 3, (napkin with the names of prisoners, chess figures and ashtray made of bread, jewelry, chaplets, bottle with the emblem of the Passion of Christ), a silver ring with polish eagle of 1941, partisans' badges donated by ZBOWiD from between 1939 and 1945; and from our times e.g. mementos from the ceremonies in memory of Katyń in Kraków in 1990 and 1991 (a cross and coils from the wreaths laid under the Katyń Cross on 11th November 1991).
The patriotic mementos collection differed artistically, ichnographically allows tracing of the manufacture of souvenirs evolution, to survey city's history by aspect of society reaction on past and present social and political events.