The home of the museum is the historic Abbots’ Granary. The granary was built in 1723 and served utility purposes for many years. During the years 1945-80 the building acted as a maintenance storeroom.
After its renovation and adaptation in 1988, it became the home of the Department of Ethnography of the Gdańsk National Museum, which was previously located in the Abbots’ Palace. The Abbots’ Granarypresents a permanent exhibition on the folk culture of Gdańsk Pomerania. The exhibition, which is situated on two storeys, presents the basic forms of traditional rural farming. It shows artifacts associated with fishery, breeding, agriculture, beekeeping and home processing of the Kashubia people. The appliances are from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century. Besides the permanent exhibition, the third floor of the Abbots’ Granary hosts temporary exhibitions presenting issues of the local and foreign culture. The Granary is also home to the workshops and library of the Ethnography Department.
The collections of the ethnography section cover the area of eastern Pomerania, which covers the following ethnographic groups: Kashubia, Kociewie, Bory, Lower Powiśle and Żuławy. The museum collects artifacts depicting the material, social and spiritual culture of these groups. Furthermore, the museum has gathered a collection of folk art from the terrains of Greater Poland, Kujawy, Warmia and Masuria.
The museum has gathered several unique collections whose importance surpasses the region. The most valuable ones include
– the collection of folk furniture from the terrain of eastern Pomerania – chests, wardrobes, stools and cupboards dated between the 18th and 20th Centuries,
– the collection of objects documenting the culture of the Frisian settlers, who inhabited Żuławy until 1945,
– the collection of old and modern folk art with comparisons to surrounding regions,
– the non-European collection.