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2013-2023 [ENG]

The last decade has brought further modernization and expansion of the Museum’s premises. Great support in the restoration of the building at 4 Gdańska Street came in the form of a grant from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Piotr Gliński, in 2016, thanks to which funds from the European Regional Development Fund to the amount of over PLN 14.5 million were transferred to the project. The reopening of the historic headquarters was a great celebration for the Museum. The facility, commissioned in 2021, has changed beyond recognition, e.g., thanks to the addition of a modern architectural block on the eastern side, in which a workshop-conference space is located. At the same time, care was taken to preserve the historic substance, including the extremely valuable room of the former monastery refectory with paintings from the 17th century depicting scenes from the life of Christ. The preserved fragments are not only of high artistic value in the context of Bydgoszcz’s history, but are also unique in the region.

In 2018, the Museum acquired the Museum Education Centre, in a building located on Mill Island at 6 Mennica Street. Currently, there are workshop rooms, a quiet zone, and an educational space dedicated to Marian Rejewski. The acquisition of the premises allowed the Museum to expand its educational offer and activity, which has been one of the important elements of the institution’s activity since the very beginning. The following years brought new investments. In 2020, there was a renovation of the former „Under the Swan” Pharmacy at 5 Gdańska Street, which the Museum acquired in 2017.

In September 2015, the Museum received a grant from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage for the purchase of a unique ducat of Sigismund III Vasa, minted in 1628 at the Bydgoszcz Mint. Thanks to funding from various sources and its own funds, a number of works by the Museum’s patron – Leon Wyczółkowski, were purchased, including: St. Florian’s Gate (2012), Anemony (2014), and Lirnik (2017). In 2016, the Museum received a trial lithograph by „Wyczół” with the Bust of Feliks Jasieński from 1913 as a gift. In 2017, thanks to a special subsidy from the City of Bydgoszcz, the Museum purchased a collection of over 7,000 exhibits from Bartłomiej Wodyński, the creator of the private Museum of Pharmacy in the „Under the Swan” Pharmacy. The development of a substantial collection on the history of medicine and pharmacy required the creation of the Department of History of Medicine and Pharmacy (currently Workshop of History of Medicine and Pharmacy). The latest donation of exceptional artistic and sentimental value was the Wanda and Leonard Pietraszak collection donated in 2021, which consists of several dozen paintings by Jan Stanisławski and his students. For Leonard Pietraszak, an outstanding actor and Honorary Citizen of Bydgoszcz, this event became the last act of his cordial contacts with the city on the Brda, which he never forgot.

In the last decade, a series of temporary numismatic exhibitions entitled The History of Money: Ancient Rome (2014-2015), Middle Ages (2015-2016), Thirty Years’ War (2016-2017), Duchy of Warsaw (1807-1815) (2017-2018) and Between Great Wars (1918-1939) (2018-2018) 2019), was organized. An important event in the Museum’s life was the preparation of a modern exhibition of the Bydgoszcz Treasure, discovered in 2018 in the Parish Church in Bydgoszcz and deposited with the Museum. The exhibition created in 2018 required modernization, and the treasure itself needed a scientific study. The new exhibition’s official opening took place during the Night of Museums in May 2022.

Important events in the History Department include the organization of exhibitions related to the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence and the return of Bydgoszcz to the Motherland. Two large exhibitions were prepared for these occasions – in 2018 and 2020.

The phenomenon of multiplication in contemporary art was covered in the popular Multiplication exhibition (2014). Among the recipients and employees of the Museum, the exhibition was remembered as a unique event that was a great success. Significant solo exhibitions of artists such as Karol Mondral (2013; the exhibition also had its opening in Paris), Ferdinand Lepcke (2014-2015), and many others were also organized. From 2020, the Red Granary hosts only temporary exhibitions, presenting the works of contemporary artists, as well as eclectic exhibitions combining contemporary and historical threads. An outstanding example of such an exhibition is From Princess to New Look. Women’s clothing from the collection of Adam Lej (2021-2022). The exhibition was a success, arousing interest in the national media.

In 2021, there was the premiere of the new exhibition of contemporary art in the building at 4 Gdańska Street: IMAGES OF UN/REALITY. On December 15, 2022, a new branch of the Museum, the „Under the Swan” Pharmacy, opened at 5 Gdańska Street. The permanent exhibition of Bydgoszcz Apothecaries has been made available to guests, with the most important element being the original galenic laboratory used to produce medicines from minerals and products of plant and animal origin. It is the only room of this type preserved in Poland. The exhibition includes original pharmacy furniture and exhibits from the history of pharmacy.

In 2018, work on the study of the Museum’s war losses was intensified. At that time, funding was obtained to create an online database of objects lost by the institution. A year later, as part of the proceedings regarding war losses of the Municipal Museum in Bydgoszcz, law enforcement authorities, with the substantive cooperation of the Museum’s employees, safeguarded approx. 500 artworks, archaeological artefacts, archival materials, documents and other objects, which underwent detailed verification. Thanks to the team’s work, it was possible to identify both objects from the list of war losses of the Museum and other entities. In December 2021, objects listed in the ministerial database of war losses returned to the Museum collection, including graphic and painting works by Leon Wyczółkowski. In addition, objects that are not war losses but have Museum documentation or ownership marks in the field of artistic craftsmanship, archaeology, as well as archival materials, photographs and books have returned to the institution.

During an extremely difficult time – the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic – there was an extremely interesting exhibition with a perfidious topic encouraging reflection on the city’s past – Bydgoszcz was not only about money. The inauguration of a protonation festival in the form of the Kurdistan. Images of existence in 2022 exhibition was a historical event of a transnational nature.

In this decade, the Museum received, among others, the awards: „Sybilla 2013”, 34th Competition for the museum event of the year. Distinction in the category „Digitization and new technologies” for the Museum for the Internet vortal; competition for the Bydgoszcz Literary Award of the Year 2013 „Archer’s Arrow”, award in the category „Editorial Level” for the album Karol Mondral (1880-1957). Graphic arts between Paris, Bydgoszcz and Poznań; „Musejon” – Kuyavian-Pomeranian Museum Event 2020, category III – Education and Regionalism. Award for the implementation of the project Educational Space „Playing with Art”; Competition for the Bydgoszcz Literary Award of the Year 2022 „Archer’s Arrow” in the „Editorial Level” category for the album Anna Sobol-Wejman and Stanisław Wejman.

Currently, the Museum has 4 collection departments, 13 collection workshops and galleries, 50 active collection inventories and almost 150,000 exhibits.

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