Visiting Polish Museum of America

On Tuesday, September 22nd, we had a meeting with Jan Lorys, a director of The Polish Museum of America, who outlined basic Polish history, as well as the reasons for Polish immigration to America, especially to the Chicago area. Mr. Lorys pointed out that one of the push factors for Poles to come to America was to escape foreign domination, the 123 years during which Poland existed only as a partitioned land.
The meeting continued with a guided tour giving us an opportunity to learn more about specific areas of Polish culture, history, and the museum itself.
The Polish Museum of America is one of the oldest and largest ethnic museums in America. It was established in the first Polish neighborhood in Chicago in 1935 and dedicated in 1937 as the Archives and Museum of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America. It was founded to preserve the Polish past in America and to promote the study of the history and culture of Poland. The museum consists of the Great Hall with permanent and temporary exhibits, Art Gallery, Maritime Room and Paderewski Room, which unfortunately was closed at the time of our tour.
The Great Hall is dominated by the three-story stained glass ‘window’ called Polonia. It also features the famous wall-size painting of General Pulaski’s Charge at the Battle of Savanah.
There are exhibits of Polish folk art in wood, textiles, leather and needlework, as well as authentic folk dress.
Another exhibit honors the late Pope John Paul II, who visited the Museum. Central to the exhibit is a three-foot-high bronze bust of the Pope John Paul II.
The Art Gallery highlights Polish and Polish American artists of the last century to the present, all the remarkable people whose achievements are preserved in the Museum for future generation to appreciate.
What aroused students’ interest the most was winged Hussar armour, consisting of light helmets which students were allowed to try on.

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