History

The History of the Museum of Hunting and Horsemanship

 

The concept of creating a museum of hunting originated in the 1970s. The Polish Hunting Association commenced negotiations with Professor Stanisław Lorentz, then the Director of the National Museum in Warsaw, who suggested locating the new museum in the Royal Baths Park (Łazienki), which used to be a royal animal park. It is housed in the Cantonist Barracks, a building erected in 1826-1828 in the southern part of the Royal Baths Park manor house, and most probably designed by Wilhelm Henryk Minter, who also constructed the nearby barracks for hussars, uhlans and cuirassiers (non-existent at present).
In 1977, a team for design and programme development, chaired by graphic artist Tomasz Konarski, created a project for adapting the building for the purposes of the museum and wrote its activity programme. Renovation of the building was completed in 1983, but it was also subsequently renovated in 1995-1997 and 2003 with financial support provided by the National Fund for Environment Protection and Water Management and the Ministry of Culture and Art.
In 1982, before completion of the renovation, enthusiasts of hunting joined their efforts with horsemen who wished to create a forum for presenting the art of horsemanship, and as a result, the museum was established in its present form. The hippological exhibition was to be located in the Kubicki Stables, a building constructed in 1825-1826 and designed by Jakub Kubicki. This horseshoe-shaped building had stables within its one-story wings adjacent to the main building, carriage houses were located inside the buildings and the central, two-story section was a residential building. In 1995, the Museum obtained only a part of the Stables, consisting of a single wing.
The Museum of Hunting and Horsemanship was established on July 1st, 1983. Its first director was Tomasz Konarski, who worked in this capacity until 1993. During the first year of its operation, the team of the Museum created three hunting exhibitions, which were presented outside Warsaw, and in the following year, it developed its first foreign exhibitions, showing traditional and modern hunting and horsemanship in Poland. In 1993, Piotr Hubert Świda was appointed as director of the Museum. In subsequent years, the team worked intensely on developing new permanent exhibitions, which were opened to the public on St. Hubertus Day, November 3rd, 1997.
The key operations of the museum focus on developing exhibitions and educational activities for children, young people and adults.
The first permanent exhibition named Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, located in the Cantonist Barracks in 1985, was an attractive graphic presentation of the birds and mammals of Polish forests and fields. Another exhibition, named Not Only About Hunting, opened in 1986 in the Cadet School of the Royal Baths Park. It featured works of art, weapons and hunting accessories, a hippological collection and a set of exotic trophies donated by Roman Hubert Hupałowski. In 1993, visitors had an opportunity to become acquainted with the History of Hunting from Prehistoric Times Until the Reign of King Jan III Sobieski, an exhibition presented in the Cantonist Barracks.
The Museum created numerous temporary exhibitions to nature, documents and works of art related to hunting and horsemanship, presented in its own buildings and also in a variety of museums in Poland and abroad - in Sweden, France, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Belgium, Democratic Republic of Germany, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Hungary.
Projects of the Museum have received many awards. In 2001, the Museum of Hunting and Horsemanship was nominated as European Museum of the Year; in 2003, it won the Sybilla 2003 Museum Event of the Year Competition with its exhibition entitled Hey, Gervaise, Give Me the Rifle - the History of Gunsmithery between the 16th and 20th century, and it received a honorary mention in the Sybilla 2004 Competition in the category of Educational and Promotional Projects.
In subsequent years, the Museum created numerous interesting and even unique exhibitions and cultural events, including a meeting arranged in 2004 with Michał Gutowski, representative of Poland at the Olympic Games and a military commander who participated in the fighting in Normandy. In 2006, the Museum of Hunting and Horsemanship launched a widespread project on Protection of Rivers as Polish Ecological Priority , including a competition on ecology and an exhibition on Water as the Key Life-Supporting Resource on Earth. One should also mention an exhibition arranged at the turn of 2006 called Józef Korolkiewicz. The Youngest Student of Kossak, accompanied by a lavishly illustrated album issued in partnership with the BOSZ editing house.
Research conducted by the team of the Museum resulted in numerous publications which often accompany exhibitions and focus on all issues within the scope of activity of the Museum. The most important include the books and albums: Made of Wood, Stone and Bronze. Animalistic sculpture of the 19th and 20th century in Polish Collections (1999), Olympic Horsemen (2001), Lady in the Saddle (2003), Flora and Fauna of the Royal Baths Park (2007).
The Museum plans to continue its research work, exhibitions and educational activities. In the nearest future, it shall expand its premises to encompass the remaining rooms of the Kubicki Stables in order to increase the exhibition space for its collection of carriages, to create a permanent hippological exhibition and to broaden its educational programme


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Museum of Hunting and Horsemanship 2012 All rights reserved. st. Cavalry 9, 00-464 Warsaw,
Tel: 22 522 66 30 fax. 22 628 46 99, www.muzeum.warszawa.pl, mlij@muzeum.warszawa.pl
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