City plans to convert area below Rynek Glowny into a museum

The city plans to convert into a museum a 2,200-square-meter area below Rynek Glowny that has yielded archaeological treasures in recent years. Mayor Jacek Majchrowski has appointed a team of specialists to prepare a detailed concept for the museum, which will open in two years. Ireneusz Pluska, a professor of the Academy of Fine Arts, will lead the team.In addition to recommending how the museum should be set up to best preserve artifacts and accommodate and educate visitors, the team will suggest a technical plan for dealing with an underground venue, such as ventilation and air conditioning systems. The city plans to ask the EU for money to help construct the museum.In the next two months the team of specialists will present the over-all museum concept, as well as a suggested schedule for the work over the next two years. The next step would be for the Provincial Preservation Council to sign off on it. Majchrowski also announced that fencing that had been put around areas of pavement that appeared to have structural weaknesses will be removed. Engineers are satisfied that the pavement is not structurally weak. The fencing had been in place a year.  Archaeologists began excavating the area in 2005. The city was preparing to modernize the surface of Rynek Glowny, and regulations require contractors to allow archaeologists to examine areas that might be of archaeological value.   The area that the archaeologists excavated grew over time to 2,200 square meters.During the excavations the archaeologists discovered historical treasures that helped give them a glimpse of city life in the Middle Ages.They included a large scale, pieces of vending stalls, wooden structures, sections of limestone-paved streets and sections of medieval roads. The archaeologists said some objects were made before Krakow received a royal charter as a city in 1257. The archaeologists also uncovered more then 100 graves dating to the 11th Century, an indication that part of Rynek Glowny was once a cemetery. Planners laid out Rynek Glowny after the city received its charter in 1257. It became the largest marketplace in medieval Europe and the commercial hub of the city.Those going to Rynek Glowny these days can see an exhibition of Wieslaw Majka’s photographs of the most important parts of the excavations. The museum will be part of the City Historical Museum, which will oversee any commercial elements to the underground facility, such as a book store, souvenir shops or a cafe.It will have three purposes ? to preserve the artifacts, make them accessible to the public and educate the public about the times when the artifacts were used. The city will pay for preservation efforts. The city wants the museum to “present its history in a modern and interesting way,” the mayor said. That will include multimedia presentations, interactive exhibits and other cutting-edge means of expression.Majchrowski said Jan Oldakowski, director of the renowned Warsaw Uprising Museum, will be an adviser to the underground project. Those who know about Oldakowski?s work hopes his involvement will help make the Krakow museum as much of a “must-see” as the Warsaw Uprising Museum.
The grand opening of the underground museum is tentatively set for 2009.

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