The home of the museum is the complex of 6 historic 14th Century towers on the preserved fragment of the medieval defensive walls in downtown Chojnice, which are covered by the Register of Historical Real Estate of the Pomeranian Voivodeship: Człuchowska Gate, formerly known as the Stone Gate, one of the three entrance gates to the city, home to museum exhibitions, the Crow’s Tower, the Cobbler’s Tower with a professional museum library, the Cobbler’s House, the House on the Walls and the Chicken Foot Tower with the Gallery of Modern Polish Art.
The museum also owns the historical and regional collection of Albin Makowski, collected since 1926, which is set up in the home of the collector, and the non-local archaeological exhibition near the Kręgi Kamienne reserve in Odry, documenting the material and spiritual culture of the Goths.
The mission of the Chojnice museum is to reveal and protect the cultural heritage of southern Pomerania in terms of archaeology, history, art and the ethnography of southern Kashubia. The history of Chojnice, with its intellectual and collector’s potential, and the known traditions of the rifle brotherhoods, inland navigation on Charzykowskie Lake and hunting in immediate vicinity of the Tuchola Forest, comprise an important area of research. The gathered collections also include a specialist book collection on Pomerania.
The most important collections are presented on five storeys of Człuchowska Gate in the form of permanent and temporary thematic exhibitions. They include:
The Ancient History of the Chojnice Land – this documents the earliest times of the region, from the Palaeolithic era, through the Roman period with its unique gold and silver jewellery, antique coins and ceramic products from Leśno and Odry, up to the end of the medieval era and the Wielbark culture associated with the Goths.
Art in Kashubia – this is an ethnographic presentation of individual areas of the traditional and contemporary region, depicting the continuity of tradition – painting on glass, wooden sculptures, braiding, embroidery – through the collection of 19th and 20th Century Kashubian bonnets, referred to as samite, collections of ceramics, horn products, painted furniture decorations or concepts of the folk customs from the beginning of the 20th Century. The oldest exhibitions date back to the 17th Century; the contemporary ones present the work of Józef Chełmowski and Włodzimierz Ostoja – Lniski.
Chojnice. From the town’s history – this depicts the history of Chojnice from the time of its foundation in the 13th Century to the year 1945. The most interesting collections include the treasure of the Teutonic Knight coins, collections of silver and tin cups documenting the history of the former town guilds, and artifacts associated with the rifle brotherhood of Chojnice, particularly the original insignia of the rifle Kings from between the 17th and 20th Centuries. The museum’s art department gathers collections of regional sacral art, collections of the portraits of the noblemen and middle class from the 18th – 20th Centuries, and collections of Pomeranian paintings, graphics and drawings from the 19th and 20th Centuries, which include the collections of Leon Stanisław Kawecki (1921-2000) and Kazimierz Jasnoch (1896-1966). The Chicken Foot Tower presents and interesting collection of Modern Polish Art, which has been gathered since 1984 and covers all important trends and tendencies present in Polish art since the nineteen sixties, falling under the so-called modern classics. Its creators had aspirations to create a cultural and educational opportunity in Chojnice in terms of Polish modern art in representative form on a national scale.
The Chojnice museum carefully and systematically builds relations between the visitor and the collection. This programme is realised by various forms of promoting and popularising the collections. Besides permanent and temporary exhibitions, they include music classes, workshops, educational programmes for school groups, museum meetings, contests, lectures and conferences, concerts and movie projections. They aim – in the broadest sense – to widely open the doors of the museum, which registers in the cultural development of the society.
Autor: Muzeum Historyczno – Etnograficzne w Chojnicach
Foto: M.Bieliński, Dep. Turystyki, UMWP