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The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland', located on the ground floor of the Main Building of the National Museum in Krakow, is the second largest exhibition in Poland – after Warsaw's Polish Army Museum – presenting early militaria. The space of over 1200 square metres offers a display of more than 2,000 exhibits associated with the early military from the Middle Ages to World War II.
Visitors can admire beautiful examples of arts and crafts as well as memorabilia of great events and characters so important for Polish history: Stefan Czarniecki's horse tack, Stanisław Jabłonowski's scale-armour (karacena) and pure gold mace as well as the only preserved hetman's sign which once belonged to Hieronim Lubomirski.
The Gallery features memorabilia of Polish commanders: Tadeusz Kościuszko's sukmana coat, the star of Prince Józef Poniatowski's War Order of Virtuti Militari or Józef Piłsudski's uniform jacket.
The display also features rare collections of Polish swords, hussar armour and weapons, Polish badges and distinctions as well as a unique collection of Polish uniforms from the 18th to the 20th century. Fans of early technical curios will be interested in shooting clubs with integrated pistol mechanism, shotguns with multiple barrels or knives with forked blades, which were used for breaking rapiers.
The exhibition is accompanied by a programme titled „Touch the History”. A few selected places in the Gallery offer designated points where visitors can touch or even try on specially prepared exhibits: old helmets, swords or a legionnaire uniform dating back to the First World War.
The Museum and Gallery is also home to the Association of Old Arms and Uniforms Amateurs, which has promoted knowledge about early militaria for the last fifty years. Compilations of valuable and innovative research in the field of weaponry are published in Studia do Dziejów Dawnego Uzbrojenia i Ubioru Wojskowego [Studies for the History of Early Arms and Military Dress], published by the Museum in cooperation with the Association.
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