The Ethnology Department documents folklore, plebeian culture and bourgeois culture of Poland, especially Upper Silesia and the territory of former Second Polish Republic.
The Department is committed to developing museum collections through acquisitions made during ethnographic research trips, acquisitions from private sellers, Internet auctions, antique fairs, antique shops and auction houses. We also accept transfers and donations. Some of the collections are the follow-up to the pre-war collections developed between 1927 and 1939 by Dr. Tadeusz Dobrowolski, the then Director of Muzeum Śląski, and collectors Jerzy Langmann, Longin Malicki and Mieczysław Gładysz. However, the exhibits recovered after the war have been included in the collection of Muzeum Górnośląskie in Bytom.
The entire collection of the Ethnology Department numbers more than 11,000 items. The vast majority of them date back to the period between the mid-19th century and the 1970s/1980s. The oldest exhibits are a 17th-century canvas painting with the Virgin Mary of the Rosary, silver pins, Jabłonków buttons of the turn of 17th and 18th centuries, an embroidered headscarf, ginger cake tins and painted Silesian cabinets of the 18th century.
The Ethnology Department’s collections also include:
- Folk costumes from various parts of Upper Silesia (Rozbark, Pszczyna, Cieszyn, Silesian highlands, Racibórz, Opole), as well as Wilamowice and Hutsuls’ costumes;
- Folk art;
- Cieszyn jewellery;
- Ceremonial costumes, masks and accessories;
- Hutsuls’ handicraft items and items that arrived in Silesia with displaced persons;
- Furniture and equipment;
- Farming and crafting tools;
- Household and interior decor objects;
- Mining-related objects;
- Family heirlooms;
- Devotional articles;
- Advertising items;
- Items of urban culture.
- The ethnographic collection of Mieczysław Gładysz (1903-1984), a Jagiellonian University professor who co-developed the pre-war ethnographic collection, mostly by exploring Cieszyn Silesia, including the area across River Olza, and Opole Silesia.
In addition to the mentioned exhibits, the collection of the Ethnology Department includes many objects associated with the social, spiritual and material life of the inhabitants of Upper Silesia and adjacent areas.
Ethnology Department Manager: Krystyna Pieronkiewicz-Pieczko