Poznan; the National Museum and the Museum of the History of the City of Poznan

Those names in Polish; Museum Narodowe w Poznaniu and Museum Historii Miasta Poznania. Both museums are in the old city, a short walk from one another. The town museum, and others in the old town, come under the auspices of the National Museum, in fact, which can be confusing if you follow links from Google Maps and keep being taken to the same website.

Poznan has an attractive centre, cobbled streets and old buildings abound. The central square is huge, as with other Polish cities, and with a similar arrangement to that of Krakow – a town hall and tower, remnants of old market buildings, and gaps where the scales (big buildings!) used to be. Outside there, even more ordinary buildings are attractive, with iron balconies and architectural flourishes. Just exactly what I needed after the starkness of more utilitarian North American/recent building.

To the museums. First up, I went to the National Museum. Unlike in Warsaw, where I expected more about Poland’s history, I knew to expect mostly art. The plan of the museum looks confusing, with ground, 1st and 3rd floors full, and the second only a partial display. But the flow is good, and I was surprised to realise I had come through the second and was back down onto the 1st. Yes, that sounds daft. It probably was, but I was just enjoying being somewhere that I knew roughly what I was doing, rather than blundering the wrong way round and being unable to say “excuse me, is there a natural order to this place?”

First up, the special exhibition of Josef Brandt, known for his paintings of historic battles. I thought they were magnificent, though all together, some were a little samey after a while.

Downstairs, in the basement, is the ancient art, then the medieval is upstairs and from there you are into different, more modern, periods, primarily Polish but also Italian, German and Spanish.

First, some ancient items.

I tend to be less interested in the medieval, which concentrates on religion.

There were a few pictures of people with pitchers. Without exception, all were very happy.

Painting: woman with pitcher
Painting: woman with pitcher

And finally, a few more modern paintings.

I walked into the old town a little, to the old town hall, which contains the Museum of the Cit of Poznan. It’s not a huge museum, nor an expensive one at 7 PLN, and not everything has much description in English. But the inside of the building is a great sight in itself, and it’s worth a walk around. Lots of stairs involved.

Poznan town hall
Poznan town hall, and city museum.

Every day at midday, two goats come out above the clock and butt heads, while a trumpeter plays. It is surprisingly good. I only made it on my final day – I kept running too long and returning at 11:30 or 11:45 and not quite making it. But I am very glad I did.

Metal goats
Inside are – my explanation – some backup goats. Those in use currently have christmas coats on.

The exhibits are wide-ranging. They give a flavour of the place, particularly all the guild exhibits in the first room. Otherwise, its a range of ephemera from the history of the city.

Some more pictures from the town hall. I have little to add, except that it is worth a visit, and is unlikely to take more than an hour of your time.

Finally, one of my room mates left his bed like this. I am not convinced this is how you convince people the bed is occupied.

Bunk bed with clothes laid out
Not fooling anyone.

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