The Exhibition of the Town History and Region Section
The Exhibition of the Town History and Region Section presents a splendid secular history, tradition and material culture of Przeworsk and its environs. The collection includes the largest group of museum pieces placed on the exhibition and preserved in archives and store-rooms. The exhibition was housed on the Palace’s ground-floor in 1974. The majority of museum pieces were gained from the collection of a former municipal museum located in the town hall. Its founder was Jan Benbenek, the first curator of the Przeworsk Museum. A deep involvement as well as generosity of the Przeworsk community came into prominence.
The archeological collection is a first part of the exhibit, displaying archeological pieces from the Neolithic period, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Early Middle Ages. Some interesting archeological objects are closely linked with the Przeworsk culture – excavations from the turn of the era, discovered for the first time in Gać near Przeworsk.
The next group of museum objects constitutes history of the town and daily life of its townsfolk in the Middle Ages and in the Old Polish period. The most valuable exhibits of this section include e.g. royal documents comprising privileges for Przeworsk, issued by kings Sigismund III Vasa in 1597, Vladislaus IV in 1633, John II Casimir in 1661, Michael Korybut Wiśniowiecki in 1670, John III Sobieski in 1683 and Augustus II in 1732; documents of the town’s lords: Jan Tarnowski 1562, Konstanty Ostrogski 1580, Stanisław Lubomirski 1670 and Antoni Lubomirski 1763: assessors’ and municipal books in the years 1632-1740 and other municipal papers. A rich collection of the exhibition is linked with the Austrian Partition of Poland and the mid war period, that consists of documents, municipal leaden seals, archival photographs, among others portraits of successive mayors and members of the town council.
Portraits, documents, diplomas, the Palace’s photographs and other objects display an existence and a contribution in the town’s history of its and entail owners – the ducal Lubomirski family. Some exhibits present a sugar factory in Przeworsk and narrow-gauge railway Przeworsk – Dynów. A part of the exhibition contains souvenirs of the Polish Gymnastic Society “Sokół”, a patriotic organisation that came into existence in Przeworsk in 1893. There is a banner of the Przeworsk “Sokół”, photographs of the organisation members and a complete uniform belonged to the “Sokół“ member – donated by Józef Benbenek.
There is also a remarkable section with rich collections displaying daily life, material and spiritual culture of people in Przeworsk, its outskirts and the nearby villages. They include the 18th century burgher clothing ( a lady’s bonnet and a jacket – “karoczko” as well as men’s piece of clothing – “czamara“), heirlooms connected with burgher families of Przeworsk, prominent representatives of the town community (photographic portraits of activists of the Society of Christian Burghers “Star”), Judaica referring to the Jewish community of Przeworsk (photographs, fragments of Torah, “ketuba” – a premaritial conract, a nine-armed candlestick Chanukkiyah, Gaberdine, and a fox fur cap), documents and accessories related to education in Przeworsk, exhibits presenting the tradition of Przeworsk craft guilds with a rich collection of apprentices’ and masters’ diplomas, guilds’ chests, papers, emblems and leaden seals. The real pride of the exhibition is the oldest guild’s document – legal privilege of the shoemaker guild from 1486. Among memorabilia of the weaver’s guild, well-known in whole Europe, is a loom and other objects used while weaving as well as a silk sash for the Polish national dress called “kontusz” derived from a local workshop.
Exceptionally rich and various is an exhibition of ethnographic holdings dating from the 18th century to early 20th century. The collection is composed of men’s and women’s clothing that have the oldest origin such as damask women’s corsets adorned with gold haberdashery, a navy-blue Old Polish robe-like garment with brass buttons and also metal sashes – girdles the so-called “Przeworsk sash” made of gilt brass plates. Noteworthy is the set of the 19th century clothing: summer and winter men’s garment, bridal gown, wife’s dress with a mesh bonnet made in the Kańczuga style and winter women’s clothes. The collection of corsets was exposed separately – from the oldest corsets with the cope and the Przeworsk brassieres even to “katanki” – blouses popular in the rustic fashion in the 1930s.
A part of the permanent exhibition is occupied by carefully arranged interiors including a burgher’s sitting room and a farmer’s room. The burgher’s sitting room is furnished with pieces having a local origin, richly embellished with relieves, engravings and stamped details. Around the walls hang paintings and portraits ordered by the burghers of Przeworsk. The whole interior is equipped with objects of every day use such as a samovar, a gramophone, case clocks and china tableware, trinkets etc.
Richly decorated rural pieces of furniture create an exceptional character of the farmer’s room. Really typical for furnishing of the farmer’s interior was a case bench just for sleeping (ślabanek), a dowry chest, a cradle and also “an oil pressure gallery” suspended from the ceiling. There is also a dulcimer – a music instrument widely used by folk bands in villages nearby Przeworsk. The farmer’s room – an alcove is contiguous with one another place used for farming purposes. This particular interior contains features of a chamber and a hall, housing different types of utensils such as a hand crank butter churn, an icebox, a mangle with spring and also a primitive mangle board with roller.
A complement of the exhibition of this section are collections of old photographs and the museum’s archival records accessible to all concerned for studies and research purpose.
The History of Firefighting Section
The History of Firefighting Section is housed in the former building originally constructed as a horse stables block. The collection was gathered thanks to a collector’s passion of Leon Trybalski, whose family through some generations was connected with the history of the local Firefighting Brigade. This collection has been opened to the public since 1956. In the year 1990 and 1996, after the successive renovation works of the rooms intended for exposing purpose, the exhibition space was widely increased and obtained a present arrangement.
The displayed objects illustrate the history of firefighting brigades in the region of Przeworsk and its environs as well as further parts of Little Poland from their beginning in the mid-19th century until the present time. The remarkable attractiveness of the collection is determined by a large number of various exhibits. Among diverse objects the most noteworthy are ranked wooden portable syringes and four-wheeled horse-drawn sprinkles manufactured by e.g. W. M. Knaust in Vienna, Firefighting Union in Lwów, M. Neumann in Cracow or Bartik Bros. in Tarnów and wooden or brass syringes which were applied to extinguish fire already in the 14th century. Equally interesting is a collection of nineteenth and twentieth-century firemen’s helmets. Among them the noteworthy are parades officers’ helmets, from the period of the Austrian annexation of Poland, presently regarded as a masterpiece of handicraft. Sets of uniforms, distinctions, honours and medals are displayed very rich. In the space of years they distinguished firefighters from other people taking part in fire extinguishing actions. The exhibition presents extinguishing equipment of various kind such as hooters, fire hoses, floaters, suction heads, nozzles; life-saving equipment: firefighting belts, carabiners, rescue ropes, forcibly opening tools: axes, fire hooks; various ladders, lighting equipment and also fire alarm signals such as hooters, gongs, trumpets etc.
The exhibition presents extinguishing equipment of various kind such as hooters, fire hoses, floaters, suction heads, nozzles; life-saving equipment: firefighting belts, carabiners, rescue ropes, forcibly opening tools: axes, fire hooks; various ladders, lighting equipment and also fire alarm signals such as hooters, gongs, trumpets etc. A complement of this particularly rich collection presents a contemporary fire extinguishing equipment, however replaced by the hi-tech generation tools, which was applied by highly-trained rescue brigades. It doesn’t have to many similarities with the simplest objects used at the beginning of voluntary fire brigades associated at the St Florian Unions.
While visiting the exhibition of the History of Firefighting Section, we have a great opportunity to become acquainted with unusual progress of the rescue techniques that took place in the space of 150 years.