The First Maritime Museum in Reborn Poland. Stanisław Ledóchowski Museum in Warsaw

Stanisław Ledóchowski Maritime Museum functioned in Warsaw at Przemysłowa Street until the beginning of World War II. 

The undertaking met all the contemporary criteria for being a museum (it had collections, a seat, was open to the public, employed its own staff, published a periodical, organized exhibitions in Poland and abroad).

Ledóchowski collected models of vessels, paintings and graphics related to the sea, photographs, posters of shipping lines etc. Before the war, he managed to collect around fifty models, several dozen paintings and several thousand photographs. In September 1939, the Germans closed the museum, like all Polish cultural institutions. This situation did not change until the outbreak of the uprising in 1944, when, as a result of fighting. the museum building (the so-called Ledóchowski Manor) was destroyed by fire. The exhibits have been destroyed or dispersed. Due to the lack of inventories, it is difficult today to assess the size of both the collection and the war losses.

Some of the surviving museum exhibits were donated by Ledóchowski's heirs to the Western Institute. They were to be the starting point for the maritime museum in Szczecin. Currently, these items are held by the local National Museum.

The dream of access to the sea was one of the founding myths of the Second Polish Republic. The revival of the homeland made the dreams of numerous generations come true. The establishment of the passenger and commercial fleet, the fishing fleet, the navy, maritime education and the construction of the port in Gdynia were examples of the revival of statehood in the field of maritime activities. The establishment of the first Maritime Museum in the reborn Republic of Poland should be placed in this context.

For Ledóchowski, the establishment of the facility was the result of a kind of transference mechanism. While his projects related to maritime economy (navigational studies, spedition, shipowning) ended in failure, in the symbolic sphere he achieved success, becoming the founder of the maritime museum in Warsaw.

Ledóchowski was professionally and financially successful in the metal industry. He was the founder and owner of the company called Polska Fabryka Siatki Uniolitej Hrabiego Stanisława Ledóchowskiego SA [Count Stanisław Ledóchowski's Polish Expanded Metal Mesh Factory]. Located in Warsaw, the factory produced metal mesh used in concrete reinforcement. In Polish literature, the product is referred to as the so-called Ledóchowski mesh.

The anniversary of regaining independence was a great occasion to recall, and for a great part of the audience - to get acquainted with the Maritime Museum in Warsaw and its founder and owner Stanisław Ledóchowski. This was the aim of the creators of the exhibition.

The exhibition consists of two narratives. The first of them presents Stanisław Ledóchowski as a pioneer in several spheres: one of the entrepreneurs of the first generation of the Second Polish Republic, the founder and director of expanded metal mesh factory. It also shows his activities related to the maritime field and to the creation of one of the first museums of technology in Poland. It also refers to his patriotic commitment.

The second narrative relates to the museum. At the exhibition, we present all the artifacts related to the facility at Przemysłowa Street, in particular, models of vessels preserved in our collections (e.g. the Megara tanker, the Nowgorod cruiser called Popovka, the Redut Cale steam and sailing vessel, Polonia and Comteledoc passenger and cargo ships) . The exhibits are presented in a scenography which is a reconstruction of one of the rooms of the non-existent museum.

The exhibition uses modern technology. On four VR stations, a Full HD 360-degree video is presented, with the use of Oculus Quest glasses. 3D rendering technologies with a real-time engine and advanced 3D modelling (24 frames per second) were employed.

The video shows the reconstructed interior of the pre-war museum with exhibits and furnishing. In this way, seven exhibition halls (the ground floor of the museum) are presented. The eye of the camera takes the viewer successively through the rooms from the so-called Polish, through Belgian, and then to Russian one. The images are accompanied by a commentary.

The exhibition was created as part of the Niepodległa program of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The National Museum in Szczecin has received a ministerial grant for the project: The First Maritime Museum in Reborn Poland. Stanisław Ledóchowski Museum in Warsaw.




The First Maritime Museum in Reborn Poland. Stanisław Ledóchowski Museum in Warsaw

Muzeum Narodowe w Szczecinie, ul. Wały Chrobrego 3
Wystawa czynna od 17 grudnia 2021 roku

Curator: Tomasz Budzan, PhD
Content: Tomasz Budzan, PhD
Proofreading for the Polish version: Wiktoria Klera-Olszak, PhD

Design: TENTA Architekci

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The exhibition financed from the national budget funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage within the Niepodległa 2017-2022 program.