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Main building


The visitor to the ethnographic exhibition first sees the ‘black’ and the ‘white’ chambers separated by a vestibule, in imitation of the inside of the typical Podhale cottage. The original element is the entrance door with rich decoration of wooden pegs running diagonally to the top corners of the doorframe. The door, originally part of Stanisław Wójciak’s house in Kościeliska, was purchased for the museum collection in 1905.

The furnishing of the interiors gives the visitor an insight into how a not too affluent local family lived in the 19th century. The family’s daily life concentrated in the ‘black’ chamber, the walls of which were blackened with smoke from the stove. Household utensils, pots and pans, and other necessary implements were kept here and in the vestibule.

The ‘white’ chamber was used on festive occasions and as a guestroom. Here the young would dance and entertain themselves, and here all of the important family events were celebrated. In the ‘white’ chamber the furniture was more sumptuous and more elaborately wrought. Eye-catching at the exhibition is a long painted shelf behind which paintings on glass are mounted as in the past. Another highlight is the 1820 cupboard where ornamental pottery, often bought at fairs in Slovakia, was stored.

Next, the visitor moves on to the exhibition section devoted to the economy of the region of Skalne [Rocky] Podhale: food-gathering, hunting, shepherding and farming. Also presented are articles produced by the local population in the past and at present: wooden tools and furniture, with, for instance, beautifully decorated wooden spoon-racks, leather articles and objects cast by the local smiths. Displayed in the showcases are ceramic articles, musical instruments and examples of Podhale traditional and contemporary costume. An exhibition section illustrating the now so popular painting on glass, which has its roots in the glass pictures produced in the past in Slovakia, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, comprises antique paintings on glass displayed alongside their contemporary copies and pieces by currently active artists.


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Translated & edited by: Joanna Holzman, Adrian Smith, Anna Wende-Surmiak