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The permanent exhibition is housed in the family home of Jan Matejko (1838-1893), the greatest Polish artist working in the genre of history painting, a collector and an enthusiast for monuments, particularly those in Krakow. The old Krakow building (rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries) is the place where Jan Matejko was born, lived with his family, created his paintings and passed away.
A society named after the artist, founded after his death, set itself a goal of honouring this prominent painter by creating a biographical museum devoted to his person. Great efforts were made to collect, through systematic purchases and gifts, various artefacts related to Jan Matejko and his family, which were presented to the public for the first time as early as in 1898 in the building purchased from the family. In 1904, the Jan Matejko Society transferred the biographical museum which it created under the administration of the National Museum in Krakow. Today, the Jan Matejko House collection comprises approximately 6,000 exhibits.
The exhibits include everyday objects and memorabilia of the artist and his family: his wife Teodora Matejko née Giebułtowska (1846-1896), children: Tadeusz (1865-1911), Helena Unierzyska (1867-1932), Beata Kirchmayerowa (1869-1926), Jerzy (1873-1827) and Regina (1878-1878). The collection comprises letters, official documents, jubilee mementos, tokens of appreciation, and, above all, oil paintings and drawings, objects from Matejko's collection accumulated throughout his life, works of other artists, family photographs, photographs of the master's paintings taken in the 19th century as well as his collection of books and music scores.
The Jan Matejko House promotes the unknown aspects of the artist's life and work, as well as his impressive collection of handicrafts, textiles and military objects. This purpose is served by the permanent exhibition, which presents the collection of the 9th Department - Jan Matejko's Collections, as well as numerous temporary exhibitions organised in the branch as well as all over Poland, thanks to the cooperation with numerous museum centres in Poland and abroad.
The branch also offers educational activities: museum lessons, art workshops for children, and a series of lectures Thursdays at the Matejkos.
The 9th Department – Jan Matejko's Collections - comprises objects connected to the artist and his work and features mainly decorative arts, textiles, weapons and ethnographic items, collected by the artist over his lifetime.