A museum dedicated to its history is probably found in every European capital. But how many of them devote eleven of their (unique) buildings and three unique courtyards to such an institution? The history of Warsaw is undoubtedly an interesting and sometimes awe-inspiring and such should be a place where what is most important to the story should be brought to attention of inhabitants of the capital, and many tourists who come here. The idea of securing evidence of the past of our city was already born during the reign of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski, and gained a crowd of supporters in a very short time. A few decades later, many significant institutions dedicated their efforts to its promotion and implementation. They were the Society of Friends of Sciences, Warsaw University, City Hall, the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts, National Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Antiquities.
Since 1906, the centres focusing Varsaviana were: Society of Friends of History and Society for the Protection of Historical Monuments. The latter in 1914 founded the “museum of Polish antiquities” in Baryczkowska Townhouse standing on the northern frontage of the Old Town, and Varsaviana went to the National Museum. Three years before the outbreak of war, the Museum of Old Warsaw was established. However, moving the collection to the three old town townhouses purchased for this purpose was discontinued in 1939. And unfortunately in the conflagration of war most of the exhibits and memorabilia were destroyed or dispersed. The inventory created in 1950 displayed only 169 items. The museum is located inside eleven historic burgher houses along the northern façade of the Old Town Market Square. In 2014-2017, these were thoroughly renovated, preserving, however, the original interior layout, along with seventeenth-century-style wooden ceilings, wall paintings and vestibule details.
The permanent exhibition, The Things of Warsaw, features over 7,000 items, including artworks and objects of daily use from the fourteenth through to the twentieth centuries. The intention of the curators was to allow them to speak as witnesses and participants of the city’s history, thus allowing each visitor to use them as a springboard for their own unique take on the story of Warsaw. The Museum also has a café, a cinematheque screening films about Warsaw, and a library with a special reading room with books and resources on Warsaw. There is a viewing platform on the fifth floor with a magnificent view of the Old Town Market Square. The building is adapted to accessibility requirements for wheelchair users at levels -2, -1, 0 and 1.