In Western Europe, it has long been a tradition. In Krakow, it is becoming fashionable, gradually laying roots in the culture of the city.
On the night of May 18-19, the fourth annual Night of Museums will take place in Krakow.
All the exhibitions in nearly 30 local museums will be made available to the general public for the symbolic cost of 1 zloty, a coin minted especially for this occasion.
?It?s just fashionable to participate in such a venture,? said Monika Dudek from the National Museum in Krakow.
The museums have gone to great lengths to make this a memorable evening.
The exhibitions are not the only planned attraction for the night. Museums have prepared many other events and performances such as films, contests, artistic events and numerous surprises.
All of the divisions of the National Museum will offer a 50 percent discount on all museum publications. Also, on tap from the museum are creative workshops for children and teenagers, classical music concerts and exhibitions and lessons of 16th Century court dances.
?This is a great opportunity — not only to see the exhibitions for free, but also to have great fun and acquire unique skills,? said Dudek.
The Night of Museums is organized and financed by local museums and the municipality.
The National Museum, Manggha Center, Museum of Archeology, Jagiellonian University Museum, Museum of Photography, Museum of History and Museum of Polish Aviation are just a handful of the cultural institutions participating in the event.
The municipality has taken on the marketing and promotion of the event.
And the museums are doing all the rest.
?The Manggha Center is paying around 3,000 zloty,? said Renata Korzeniowska from the Muggha Center of Japanese Art. ?That covers the cost of minting these special coins and travel expenses for the workers commuting for the night. All the exhibitions will be available for visitors. The museum will be open from 08:00-02:00. Every worker at the Center is volunteering his/her services free-of-charge.?
The event attracts more and more visitors each year.
?In 2004, when the Night of Museums was first held, there were slightly more than 10,000 visitors. Now, over 30,000 visitors come to the National Museum,? said Dudek.
Both Krakow residents and tourists have shown a growing interest in the event. One reason for the event?s popularity is nearly free entrance to the museums. Another equally strong appeal is the mysterious and magical nighttime atmosphere of the museums.
Admittedly, the idea of the Night of Museums may have come from the West, but it is catching on phenomenally in this part of the world. Similar events are held annually in Warsaw, Gdansk and Wroclaw.