Gray Sundays in Warsaw: National Ethnographic Museum

It was a gray Saturday, but they count too. In fact, it had been cold and gray all week, so I insisted on an expedition, and picked the National Ethnographic Museum because it happened to be open.

“Ethnological” or “ethnographic” museums are a European concept. Basically, they are big collections of whatever folk art or other ethnically specific type stuff someone has bequeathed to the museum! This particular collection focuses on Polish cultural heritage, but includes a lot of other items from around the world. It’s a bit random, but lots of fun. I agree with Warsaw in Your Pocket’s assessment that this an often-overlooked jewel in the city.

Since the website is only in Polish, I fully expected that the exhibits would be only in Polish. To my pleasant surprise, almost all of them had been translated, and quite well. We really enjoyed our visit, although it did really make me want to go shopping. Note to self: find the flea markets, and soon!

There was a large exhibit of various European regional clothing.
There was a large exhibit of various European regional clothing. 

For women and men.
For women and men. Look at the beautiful embroidery!
Lots of folk art paintings.
Lots of folk art paintings.
Some pysanki, or Polish painted eggs.
Some pisanki, or traditional decorated eggs.
A big collection of these funny little figures illustrating European folk dances.
A big collection of these cute little figures illustrating European folk costumes and dances.
The figures date from the 1930s. I believe this is a Norwegian fish-slapping dance :)
The figures date from the 1930s. Not sure what is going on here. 
A room full of musical instruments. This is a koziel, a sort of Polish goatskin bagpipe.
A room full of musical instruments. This is a koziel, a sort of Polish goatskin bagpipe.
Big diorama of a Polish wedding.
Big diorama of a Polish wedding.
Hand-painted furniture. (I WILL buy a trunk like this before we leave Poland.)
Hand-painted furniture. (I WILL buy a trunk like this before we leave Poland.)
Traditional Easter bread (I think it's for Easter, anyway.)
Traditional Easter bread (I think it’s for Easter, anyway.)
Gingerbread molds. I love these.
Gingerbread molds. I love these.
Lots of folk art crucifixes in this overwhelmingly Catholic country.
Lots of folk art crucifixes in this overwhelmingly Catholic country.
And a bit of Catholic tat.
And a bit of Catholic tat. 
On the top floor, we were surprised to find an exhibition on beekeeping. This is a 19th century beehive.
On the top floor, we were surprised to find an exhibition on beekeeping. This is a 19th century beehive.
This beehive is shaped like Saint Ambrose, the patron saint of beekeeping. The bees enter just where he holds the Bible.
This beehive is shaped like Saint Ambrose, the patron saint of beekeeping. The bees enter just above where he holds the Bible.
And finally, a big room chock-full of handmade farm implements. I liked these butter churns.
And finally, a big room chock-full of handmade farm implements. I liked these butter churns.

 

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