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The History of Money. The Middle Ages

  The new exhibition at the European Money Centre is another part of the series (“The History of Money”), presenting the history of money from ancient times to today. This time, it helps to understand the importance, role and specific nature of medieval coins against the background of pilgrimages to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela and in the broad context of the history and culture of medieval Europe.

     Therefore, the exhibition includes a wide selection of numismatic items from the period of the 10th to the 15th century, representing different countries, rulers, mints, monetary systems and iconographic styles. Visitors to the exhibition can get an overall feel of what medieval Europe was like and be introduced to the realities of the period thanks to the extensive information, as well as graphical and multimedia imageries and the use of a wide variety of archaeological sources and monument replicas.

The exhibition is housed in 3 rooms, creating distinct thematic spaces, which, however, form a logical and continuous narrative. In the first one, through information using text and images and a suitable selection of monuments, spectators learn about the medieval social structure. Each of its representatives: a knight, priest, urbanite and peasant, first and foremost, are defined by fitting artefacts, typical for a given estate. This part of the exhibition is complemented by a multimedia and textual presentation of medieval monetary systems, as well as iconographic depiction of all kinds of daily activities related to the circulation of money. All this is supplemented by sound effects – medieval music and sounds coming from an inn, markets, etc. In the second room, a multimedia presentation shows the phenomenon of medieval pilgrimages to the shrine of St. James in Santiago de Compostela. The arrangement in the third room also relates to this journey. Its central part include sets of showcases, where medieval Polish, Hungarian, Czech, German, Teutonic, Scandinavian, French and English coins are presented, as well as those from the states of the Italian and Iberian peninsulas. Described images of saints – patrons of the countries – correspond to individual showcases. The educational dimension of the exhibition is underlined by a special stand, referring to a medieval inn, equipped with replicas of dishes and food, as well as original coins, where visitors can discover what the purchasing power of money in different periods of the Middle Ages was. A multimedia educational program on economic issues also covers this topic. Right by the “inn”, are cultural artefacts associated with medieval pilgrimages, as well as a contour map of Europe with marked trails leading pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela.

If a visitor wants to play a medieval pilgrim, he or she can try on a faithful replica of his costume. Because the exhibition is for anyone, without age limits, children can also find something of interest, including an interesting educational arcade game. Everyone leaving the exhibition receives a certificate confirming the visit. The certificate is made personally by quill pen. For convenience, the visitor may use examples of medieval lettering presented in a digital photo frame. Also in this room, visitors can hear background music – medieval liturgical songs. Those who are particularly interested in the topic can deepen their knowledge by using information contained in QR codes located in the exhibition rooms.

All text information is given in two languages, Polish and English. Some of it is also translated into Braille.

Exhibition Opening: 16 May 2015 (European Night of Museums), 7 PM 

Museums which the exhibits come from:

Leon Wyczolkowski District Museum in Bydgoszcz

District Museum in Torun

Museum of Archaeology and History in Elblag

National Museum in Gdansk

Museum of Archaeology in Gdansk

National Museum in Warsaw

Archdiocese Museum in Poznan

Malbork Castle Museum

Ossolinski National Institute

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Artistic Arrangement of the Exhibition: Jan Gordon
Invitation, Banner, Poster and Folder Designs: Franciszek Otto
Photography Workshop: Wojciech Wozniak
Multimedia Presentations: Karolina Suchodolska, Marcin Wachniak

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Designed: Jimpenny / Programmed: FreshData