A fragment of the exhibition
Zwierzyniec House is a typical suburban town house from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is located in the heart of the old Zwierzyniec – at the foot of St Bronisława’s hill, near the Norbertine cloister, the church of the Holy Saviour and Kościuszko’s Mound. The house was built by famous Zwierzyniec bricklayer, Jan Florczyk, who lived there with his family, with part of the house being set aside to apartments for rent. In the summer of 1912, one of the apartments was home to Vladimir Lenin, his wife and mother-in-law for several months. The authorities of communist Poland considered this such an important fact that they decided to commemorate it: between 1970 and 1990, a branch of the Lenin Museum operated here, with the exhibition Lenin’s first apartment in Krakow. Currently, Zwierzyniec House is a branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow. It is the site of exhibitions on the life of the Krakow suburbs.
For the exhibition, the appearance of a typical Krakow suburb apartment and its furnishings from the early 20th century was reconstructed. In two small rooms, everyday objects were collected. Some of them can probably be found in many old attics, but fewer and fewer people know what they were used for. Thanks to the exhibition, visitors can journey to the now-forgotten world of rural Zwierzyniec, to a time not only without the Internet, but even without electricity. The family life of the people who lived here at the time revolved around the kitchen and the room. The objects remaining here are in apparent disarray, as if they had just been used by a housewife. A scorched oil lamp, a slug iron, a copper kettle sitting on the tiled stove, an old-fashioned coat on a hanger, holy pictures, an old sewing machine, various kitchen utensils, furniture, preserves and the distinctive ticking of a clock create a unique domestic atmosphere, which is guarded by a black cat named Włodek...
The kitchen was the kingdom of the lady of the house, and its centre was the tiled stove with an oven. This was where meals were prepared, holiday cakes were baked, clothes were washed and ironed, and in the winter, wet clothing was dried over the always hot stove. On the dresser is a glass mustard jar from the Gablenz factory, which was located a few houses down. Beside the dresser are aluminium milk cans. Among the many pieces of equipment, it is worth noting the objects used for making morning coffee. The machine for roasting coffee, which hangs over the stove, with a shape that let it be set on the stove rings, allowed for the roasting of dried coffee beans to a desired colour. To ensure even roasting of the beans, a builtin stirrer was used. In order to save time, already-roasted coffee was sometimes bought from Jawornicki’s, the first Krakow electro-mechanical coffee roaster, which the lady of the house stored on the stove in a special ceramic tin with a dispenser. Roasted coffee had to be ground in a special grinder set aside for this purpose, and then brewed in a coffee pan, sometimes with Oriental spices added for a better taste.
In the bedroom, Jan Florczyk looks down on visitors from a portrait. The iron bed is covered with a bedspread, and hanging on the walls are a tapestry and holy pictures, as well as a cuckoo clock. On the opposite side is a two-door wardrobe that hides family secrets in its interior. On the wardrobe is a home altar: a statue of the Virgin Mary and a crucifix with candlesticks used during family celebrations. Beside the wardrobe is a Vesta sewing machine, and above it on the wall hangs a landscape of Zwierzyniec painted by a Krakow artist. Near the door, a washing station has been set up. Standing on a tall tripod are a bowl and a pitcher of water, which was warmed up on the stove to the desired temperature before use. In the corner of the room, under the painting of St Francis – the protector of animals – stands a round table with an oil lamp. By its light, the man of the house read the latest news in the Kurier Zwierzyniecki or explored the issue of joining Zwierzyniec to Krakow in Nowości Ilustrowane. Next to the lamp is a glass flycatcher – an ecological way of dealing with insects that is over a hundred years old.