This month, two major events will be centred on one famous building, Krakow’s Sukiennice (Cloth Hall). The first, happening above ground, is the re-opening of the Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art, a branch of the National Museum in Krakow, after a four-year-renovation. The newly revamped gallery, freshly renovated partly thanks to a generous contribution from Norway Grants, will open to visitors on 3 September, with various events taking place throughout the weekend.
The “New Sukiennice” has plenty in store for art aficionados. On the one hand, the gallery has regained much of its 19th century appearance: the colours are as fresh as they were 130 years ago, and plush couches and palm trees await visitors. On the other hand, it is now a museum for the 21st century. The historic building is now home to completely new and modernly equipped rooms, which allow for interactive viewing and an immersive environment for art education. A futuristic media room allows viewers to be surrounded by nine glass screens, recreating the world of 19th century Krakow. Specially equipped computers with touch screens allow visitors to learn about the history of the Cloth Hall, its collections and artists, through games and quizzes. A newly-installed elevator allows access for all visitors.
But most importantl is the return of the gallery’s masterpieces: a collection of beloved paintings and sculptures, including huge canvases (some nearly 30 metres in width) by Jan Matejko and Józef Chelmonski, await visitors at the Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art.
After a gala grand opening this afternoon, the museum opens to visitors at 6 pm today, and will remain open until 2 am all weekend.