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The Kościuszko Museum at the Kościuszko Mound is a new tourist attraction in Krakow
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The Kościuszko Museum at the Kościuszko Mound is a new tourist attraction in Krakow

From the beginning of July, a new exhibition “Kościuszko – a Hero for Our Times” will be open to visitors at the Kościuszko Museum at the Kościuszko Mound in Krakow. The multimedia exhibition is the most important part of the new museum, which was established on the initiative of the Kościuszko Mound Committee in Krakow. The Museum will also include: an educational route adapted to the needs of people with disabilities, the Kościuszko Garden, a bronze model of the Kościuszko Mound and the fort, a playground for children and the Kościuszko Library. Thus, the largest investment in the history of the Kościuszko Mound is coming to an end, as part of which the fort surrounding the Mound has also been revitalized.

The new Kosciuszko Museum is the culmination of many years of efforts to create a place dedicated to the life and achievements of Tadeusz Kościuszko. Memorables collected over the years have been displayed in a modern way at an interactive and multimedia exhibition dedicated to Kościuszko.

I am happy that fate allows us to make this cultivated by the Committee for 200 years dream of the great Kościuszko exhibition come true. General Paszkowski already brought the Chief’s memorables from Solothurn to the Kościuszko Museum in Krakow. Prof. Karol Estreicher took care for this and we are finally realizing it. Kościuszko is a universal and timeless hero, so he is still needed. We hope that our exhibition under the Kościuszko Mound will not disappoint anyone

says prof. Mieczysław Rokosz, president of the Kosciuszko Mound Committee in Krakow.

The exhibition “Kościuszko – a Hero for Our Times” commemorates the heritage of Tadeusz Kościuszko, but is especially aimed to young people. To reach to the new recipient, modern exhibition tools were used, showing Kościuszko as a superhero who, thanks to his character traits and many talents, changed the world. The viewers take part in an extraordinary spectacle that combines multimedia projects and elements of a computer game with traditional museum exhibits from the collections of Polish museum institutions.

Threads from the life of the main character are enclosed in memory capsules. They lead the viewer after Kościuszko from his family home in the Belarussian Mereczowszczyzna, to the Cadet School in Warsaw, through Philadelphia, to the Kraków market square and the battlefield of Racławice. They are filled with sound and visual effects. The story of Kościuszko is also created by valuable exhibits and memorables, including the original door to the manor in Miłocice, where Tadeusz Kościuszko spent the night after the battle of Racławice or the gorget with the Holy Mary, which according to tradition belonged to him. The exhibition also includes faithful replicas of items made of wood by the hero of the exhibition himself, his saber, uniform of the Knight’s School cadet, decorations and a token that Kościuszko brought from a trip to the United States. The youngest visitors have their own sightseeing route, for which many puzzles and curiosities have been prepared in the museum.

Works on the exhibition lasted less than two years. The author of the script is dr Michał Niezabitowski, member of the Kościuszko Mound Committee and director of the Krakow Museum. The exhibition was designed and made by a consortium of Adventure Multimedialne Muzea and Koza Nostra Studio, known from dozens of exhibition implementations throughout Poland.

Although this exhibition is the culmination of the entire project related to the revitalization of the Mound, the new museum also plans to create a Kościuszko Garden at the foot of the Mound, which refers to the great passion of Tadeusz Kościuszko. It is known from history that he liked gardening very much and was passionate about rose breeding. He designed gardens for Polish magnates, and also arranged the famous rock garden at West Point Aademy in the USA, which still exists today. In the Kościuszko Garden in Kraków, the vegetation has been designed to be green and attractive throughout the year. Native species also have a symbolic dimension, referring to Polishness, patriotism, and thus to the figure of Kościuszko himself. There will also be small rock gardens, referring to the garden design that Tadeusz Kościuszko created in West Point. There will also be trees – symbols of Tadeusz Kościuszko’s youthful love – Ludwika Sosnowska. According to sources, they once planted two trees in memory of their feelings: pine and oak. A special place in the garden will be reserved for roses “Tadeusz Kościuszko” – a variety bred specifically in honor of the hero by Łukasz Rojewski, president of the Polish Rose Society. It is characterized by velvety, burgundy color and abundant flowering. “Tadeusz Kościuszko” is a soil and twig rose that repeats flowering. Work on this variety took him almost 10 years.

A disabled friendly educational route is being created in the garden, showing Kościuszko from another – private perspective. We may observe here facts about his appearance, personality, preferences, passions and interests, emotional life and friendships he made. We learn, among others, that he composed music (polonaises and waltzes), played chess and billiards, and his favorite drug was coffee, which he was able to prepare in many ways.

Right at the entrance to the Kościuszko Mound, you may see a model of the Mound and Fort No. 2 “Kościuszko”. It is a reconstruction of the fort from the interwar period, from the time the Polish Army was stationed, when the fort was complete. The fort from before the communist demolition after the war was mapped on it, which will allow visitors to understand the essence and sense of the survived buildings. There are also descriptions in Polish and English. The mock-up fulfills an educational function also for the disabled, including the blind – on the side of the mock-up there are also descriptions in Braille (in Polish and English), and the elements were made with high accuracy so that it was possible getting to know them by touch. Style and method refers to mockups located on the Royal Road in Krakow. It fulfills an educational function, made of bronze, and heated in the winter.

As part of the investment, conservation, renovation and modernization works were carried out. The interior of the fort regained its former splendor – instead of plasters, the original red brick appeared on the walls. Above the courtyard with an area of 300 sq m a glass roof was created, with special heating and sunscreen grass, with the function of melting snow, to not only enjoy the beautiful view in the winter, but also to feel comfort in the summer. Thanks to this, the courtyard can be used as an exhibition and conference space. In the future, in the courtyard you will be able to watch visualizations of the fortifications that Kościuszko designed and built in America. Digital reconstructions of forts will come from the United States Military Academy at West Point. A modern and ecological heating system using heat pumps was also installed in the fortress buildings and in the courtyard.

Thanks to the efforts of the Kościuszko Mound Committee, a Kościuszko Library was also created – a unique and priceless book collection, which includes editions from the 1820s. Library counts a total of about 1.5 thousand copies, which, after cataloging and conservation, are put into the glass cases in the rebuilt part of Fort No. 2 “Kościuszko”. The new rooms also have function of a reading room where books from the Kościuszko Library will be made available for readers.

All this creates an impressive integrity, which is complemented by magnificent views of Krakow and Lesser Poland from the top of the Kościuszko Mound in Krakow.

The Kosciuszko Mound Committee and the Mound itself are celebrating the 200th anniversary of their existence this year. The new museum is to be the culmination of a two-century social mission to care for this extraordinary monument of history and to promote tradition and education about our great national hero

– says Leszek Cierpiałowski, director of the office of the Kościuszko Mound Committee.

The exhibition “Kościuszko – a Hero for Our Times” can be visited from the beginning of July. The Kościuszko garden and educational route as well as a playground for children are still being implemented.

The investment is implemented thanks to co-financing from European funds, with the support of the Social Committee for the Restoration of Historic Monuments in Krakow and the own resources of the Kościuszko Mound Committee. Its cost is almost PLN 11 million.

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