National Museum in Warsaw (MNW), PL

The Museum of Fine Arts, the direct predecessor of the present National Museum, was founded in 1862. It was at that time closely connected with the School of Fine Arts. In 1916 it was renamed to National Museum and started to grow rapidly. Its collections spanned large areas of collection including: fine arts, archaeology, decorative art, ethnography, memorabilia and military works. The construction of a new building - the museum's present location - was started in 1927. In 1938 the museum opened its new galleries. During World War II the museum was closed to the public but worked as Museum der Stadt Warschau with the objective of preparing works for transport to German collections. The underground centre for documenting damage and the looting of works of art by the Germans was organized. It served as a basis for post-war retrieval efforts.

After 1945 the museum became the "central museum institution in Poland". The period of Stanislaw Lorentz's directorship (1935-1982) is described as its "golden era". The museum acquired new branch institutions and its collection expanded (to over 500.000 items in 1955). Large aristocratic collections as well as art objects from former German territories nationalized after 1945 were important additions. A treasure of the museum is the collection of wallpaintings from Faras discovered by Polish archaeologists and acquired in 1972. The museum has one of the best collections of Polish art.

Role in the Partage Plus project: MNW is a project partner digitising content.