Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis for Muzeum Śląskie
During the ceremonial concert at the seat of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice on 31 January 2019, Muzeum Śląskie was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis. This highest distinction, awarded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, is granted to individuals or institutions that stand out in the field of artistic creation, cultural activity or protection of culture and national heritage.
“The Minister of Culture and National Heritage has decided to award Muzeum Śląskie with a Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis, taking into account the importance of this cultural institution to Silesia and appreciating the importance of its work to preserve the Silesian heritage for Poland and future generations of Poles,” said the Deputy Minister of Culture Jarosław Sellin, handing the award to the Director of the Museum – Alicja Knast.
“We are celebrating the 90th anniversary of the establishment of Muzeum Śląskie, but our story began five years earlier, in 1924, when the Silesian Museum Society initiated the collection of memorabilia of material and spiritual culture. This collection was successfully built and five years later, in 1929, by the decision of the Silesian Parliament, Muzeum Śląskie was formally established,” Jarosław Sellin noted.
The Minister also drew attention to the difficulties faced by Muzeum Śląskie and its dramatic fate. He also stressed that Muzeum Śląskie in Katowice, co-funded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and the authorities of the Silesian Province, has been priding itself on a new seat with the highest standards in the field of museology for almost four years.
Congratulating and wishing all the employees of Muzeum Śląskie further successes, Minister Sellin expressed his conviction that this prestigious award would be an impulse for the Museum to continue and develop the activity which is very important to Polish culture.
The ceremony at the PNRSO seat began with the screening of a film showing the complex history of Muzeum Śląskie. It was also referenced by Director Alicja Knast in her speech.
“The turbulent history of our institution, which you could see in the film, does not, fortunately, consist only of difficult moments. I would like to emphasise here that the continuity of the 90-year tradition of the Museum is not determined by the activities of the institution, which was discontinued for many years. It is also not determined by the existence of a headquarter. We are celebrating today, above all, the existence of a collection of Polish art and an extremely strong idea – an idea that proved stronger than the Nazi occupation or the policy of the communist authorities, and which is showing the history of the region on a national and European level,” Alicja Knast said.
The Museum’s Director also stressed that one of the elements of the Museum’s mission is to ensure the highest possible level of access to culture for all inhabitants of the region – without excluding anyone. “We want to show the inhabitants of the region its beautiful and rich heritage and all the significant phenomena of contemporary culture and art. This idea was the motivation of the team of Dr Tadeusz Dobrowolski, the first Director of Muzeum Śląskie, and I want to assure you that we are also guided by it,” the Director added.
The ceremony was also attended by Tadeusz Deszkiewicz – adviser to the President of the Republic of Poland, who extended President Andrzej Duda’s congratulations and wishes to the management and employees of Muzeum Śląskie.
Wishes and congratulations were also extended by the Director of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ewa Bogusz-Moore, and the Marshal of the Silesian Province, Jakub Chełstowski.
The PNRSO orchestra under the direction of Bassem Akiki and soloists: Ewa Majcherczyk (soprano), Aleksandra Olczyk (soprano), Anna Borucka (mezzo-soprano) and Łukasz Konieczny (bass) performed the operatic repertoire during the concert at the PNRSO seat, which inaugurated the celebrations of the 90th anniversary of Muzeum Śląskie. The concert was accompanied by a screening by Marcel Sławiński and Katarzyna Sobańska, inspired by scenographic designs from the Centre for Polish Scenography, a Department of Muzeum Śląskie. Ewa Kucharska was responsible for the multimedia editing of the screening.
At the beginning of the Museum’s existence, it was important to build it in the context of fulfilling important social needs, therefore related cultural institutions were invited to join the celebrations; these were: Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Opera Śląska, Teatr Śląski, Rozrywka Theatre in Chorzów, Silesian Philharmonic, Silesian Library and the Telewizja Polska regional channel for Katowice. Owing to this, the programme of events planned as part of the 90th anniversary of Muzeum Śląskie emphasises the interpenetration of such fields of art as music, theatre or visual arts.
Muzeum Śląskie was established by the Silesian Parliament on 23 January 1929 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of regaining independence by Poland. According to the audience surveys carried out in January last year, Muzeum Śląskie is eighth in terms of recognition among museums in Poland and first when it comes to regional museums.