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The official opening of the new branch of the Tatra MuseumTHE ZAKOPANE STYLE - INSPIRATIONS in a 19th century wooden house once owned by the Gąsienica Sobczak family at Droga do Rojów 6, Zakopane.


July 1, 2009 marks the 120th anniversary of the opening of the Tatra Museum to the public. The Museum will hold the permanent exhibition Zakopane Style - Inspirations in its new branch. The display shows the roots of the Zakopane Style: the regional architecture, arts and folk crafts, as well as ethnographic collections from the end of the nineteenth century, and in particular the collection of Maria and Bronislaw Dembowski.

The venue of the exhibition, a wooden Highlander house -in the past owned by the Highlander Gąsienica Sobczak family- is one of the most valuable historical regional buildings in Zakopane. Its oldest part was built around 1830, and its present shape is the result of the extension of the house which took place at the end of the 19th century.

The exhibition is organized in the two front chambers of the house. The black chamber, where the life of a Highlander family was concentrated, is furnished with the Museum collections' oldest artefacts in exactly the same way as it was at the end of the 19th century.

In the white chamber, which served as a living room in a Highlander house, is part of the ethnographic collection of Maria and Bronisław Dembowski, gathered between 1886 and 1893 and bequeathed to the Tatra Museum in 1922. It contains nearly 400 items, among them glass paintings, ceramics, spoon holders, sculptures, regional costumes and richly decorated shepherds' utensils.

Stanisław Witkiewicz, the author of the Zakopane Style in architecture and the applied arts, drew his inspiration for the style from this collection.

The new branch, along with the Museum of the Zakopane Style in the nearby Koliba villa, form an ensemble which allows the visitor to understand how Witkiewicz's idea of the Zakopane Style was conceived, from the sources of his inspiration to his specific accomplishments in architecture and the applied arts. 

The opening of the new branch of the Tatra Museum was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Małopolska Region, a grant from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, and the generosity of the Polish community in the United States, which raised money for this purpose in response to an appeal published in the magazine The Tatra Eagle.

Anna Kozak

(photo: Andrzej Samardak)
Chałupa Gąsieniców Sobczaków
Zakopane, Droga do Rojów 6
(photo: Andrzej Samardak)

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