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May 17, 2009 - October 25, 2009
The Art Gallery in Koziniec
ul. Koziniec 8, Zakopane

The anniversary exhibition The Time of the Tatra Explorers is organized on the basis of the Tatra Museum's collections acquired during the 120 years of its existence. It shows how the Tatras were discovered and what their importance has been for generations of Poles in the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th centuries.


The artworks of painters who were fascinated by the Tatra landscapes, and stereoscopic photographs by Walery Rzewuski, one of the pioneers of Polish photography, introduce us to the "romantic Tatras" from the first half of the 19th century. Wooden shepherds' huts were hospitable for a few travellers who dared to venture into the wild lands of the Tatras, which were seen as full of dangers and mysteries. The 19th century equipment found in such a hut is on display. Visitors to the region also stayed at Kuźnice manor house, where ironworks functioned until the 1870s. The Homolacs family manor house, mining and ironworks are featured in Walery Rzewuski's photographs and some industrial archaeological artefacts. At the beginning of the 19th century, research on the Polish side of the Tatras started, which resulted in academic publications on display.

The 1870s and 1880s marked the beginning of a new epoch of discovery in the Tatras, with the emergence of such eminent personalities as the priest Józef Stolarczyk (1816-1893), Doctor Tytus Chałubiński (1820-1889) and local bard Jan Krzeptowski Sabała (1809-1894) and the foundation of The Tatra Society (1874), the Tatra Museum Society (1888) and the process of making the Tatras more accessible to wider Polish society. At that time, many outstanding painters and photographers were fascinated by the landscapes of the Tatras. It was also marked by the rapid development of intensive research on the Tatras. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the epoch of mountain expeditions with guides came to an end and independent mountaineering began. In this part of the exhibition, mountaineering, skiing and the foundation of the Tatra Volunteer Rescue Service are the central subject.

Anna Liscar

(photos: Andrzej Samardak)

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