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The Ethnographic Department


Objects kept in the museum storage rooms have been frequently lent for exhibitions at home and abroad. Many scholarly papers have been written on the basis of the museum’s ethnographic collection. Research on parts of the collection had already been carried out between the World Wars. Thus the well-known musicologist Adolf Chybiński wrote a paper on Podhale musical instruments on the basis of items in the Tatra Museum holdings. The outstanding archaeologist Włodzimierz Antoniewicz is credited with the elaboration of the collection of metal clasps. After World War II, thanks to the costume collection, ethnographer Edyta Starek was able to prepare two fascicles of the Atlas polskich strojów ludowych [Atlas of Polish Popular Costume], Strój orawski [Costume of Orawa] and Strój spiski [Costume of Spisz].

Today the ethnographic collection is likewise accessible to Polish and foreign scholars. Studies on the costume of the region of Podhale are conducted at the Ethnographic Department. The Podhale costume of the past in the Tatra Museum’s holdings has acted as an important source of information to Stanisława Trebunia-Staszel, author of the pioneering study entitled Śladami podhalańskiej mody. Studium z zakresu historii stroju górali podhalańskich [Tracing Podhale Fashions. Study on the Costume History of Podhale People].

1997 saw a large exhibition of the museum’s complete collection of old paintings on glass on display at the Kulczycki Gallery accompanied by a catalogue entitled Obrazy na szkle XVIII-XIX w. w zbiorach Muzeum Tatrzańskiego im. Dra Tytusa Chałubińskiego [18th–19th-century Paintings on Glass in the Collection of the Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum]. In 2004, a large part of the collection of old and contemporary painting on glass was presented at the exhibition ‘Tatras, une légende dorée polonaise. Collection du musée de Zakopane’ within the framework of the ‘Nova Polska 2004’ Polish season at the Musée d’Aquitaine in Bordeaux, France.

Contemporary artists and craftsmen likewise draw their inspiration from items in the Ethnographic Department collection. Also production designers have found here patterns for the sets and costumes featuring in a number of feature and documentary films on Tatra subjects.


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