Northern Poland, at least when it comes to castles, tends to get used to the Gothic style. Among the red Gothic bricks of Pomeranian castles, the castle in Słupsk shines (literally and figuratively), a real gem of Renaissance architecture. Its history dates back to the beginning of the 16th century, when it was built as a Gothic stronghold of the Pomeranian Duke Bogusław X.
The Castle was initially built in the gothic style. It was expanded and reconstructed in the Renaissance style near the end of the 16th Century. In the past, the Castle was the home of the Pomeranian Dukes from the Gryfit dynasty. During the German rule of Słupsk, it served as a crop and weapon and a prison, which ibrought about its destruction. After World War II, it was it underwent a thoroughly renovation, which covered the reconstruction of the tower capital. The Castle is currently the home of the Museum of Central Pomerania in Słupsk.
The collections of the museum include decorated sarcophaguses, which served the burials of Duchess Anna de Croy, and her son Ernest Bogusław, royal apparel and jewellery. The first floor hosts the exhibition entitled “Past Pomeranian Art, 14th to 18th Century”, which contains interesting elements of both sacral and secular art.
The museum is home to the world’s largest collection of the works of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz – Witkacy. Although the exhibition is mainly composed of portraits, there are also other works by the artist, including drawings and auto portraits, and publications, correspondence and photographs associated with Witkacy.
The Castle complex also has a watermill from the first half of the 14th Century, which is home to the exhibition and workshop of the Ethnographic Department of the Museum of Central Pomerania and the Amber Gallery. During the second half of the 16th Century, the expansion of the ducal home was accompanied by serious changes, particularly to the external appearance of the mill. The gothic granary windows were bricked up and all walls were veneered in order to give them a Renaissance look.
In 1965, the former Castle Mill was taken over by the Museum of Central Pomerania, which commissioned the Monument Conservation Workshops in Gdańsk and Szczecin with the reconstruction and adaptation of the venue to museum purposes. The conservation work covered the restoration of the Renaissance decoration to the facade and the demolition of the inside partition walls. The beautiful oak construction from the 16 Century was also revealed.
Three levels of the mill-granary host a permanent ethnographic exhibition, which depicts the folk culture of Central Pomerania. The exhibition covers the native culture (Słowiniec, Bytowo Kashubia, Złotowo, the villages of Jamno and Łabusz near Koszalin), and the folk culture of the settlers who came to Central Pomerania after the most recent war. The first room of the exhibition contains the tools and equipment used by the population of Central Pomerania, such as fishing equipment, tools for cultivating land and digging in peat, and household appliances.
The second floor is divided by brick walls into small rooms, which present objects of folk art and folklore – smithery, fabrics, furniture and others. The top floor hosts the exhibition dedicated to the folk material culture of the settlers who arrived in the Recovered Territories after the war, e.g. folk attire from Opoczno and Łowicz. This is complemented by various artistic handicraft products. This part of the exposition also hosts temporary exhibitions presenting the folk creations of other regions of the country (sculptures, ceramics, paintings, embroidery, etc.).