Ten years ago, I didn’t pay attention to entry-free days at the local museums. Ticket prices were usually a nominal 2 zł. for kids and 4 zł. for adults. So, I almost choked when I saw that the Zachęta Museum is now charging 15 zł. for adults. Just to give you an idea of the opportunity cost, a bowl of beef noodles at Toan Pho is 14 zł. I’ll be going to Zachęta on Thursdays from now on.
You don’t need to remember the entry-free day at the Dom Spotkan z Historią. No tickets are required and there’s always some entertaining photo exhibitions there.
Warsaw Insider (October 2011)
With an unwieldy name like Dom Spotkań z Historią (translated as History Meeting House by the institute), this presenter of Central and Eastern European twentieth century history may seem like the preserve of academic intellectuals and history geeks at first impression. The name certainly put off the retro-phobic juniors. But drop in for one of its photo exhibitions, and you’ll keep this modest-sized property in view whenever you’re strolling pass the Bristol Hotel, which is next door to this historical documentary house. Newly founded in 2006, its aim is to tell modern history as narrated by the testimonies of different interest groups and various nationalities. The focus is on post-war, a period when textbook versions were doctored and slanted by the communist authorities. The regular meetings and discussions in Polish are of limited relevance to foreigners unless you speak the local lingo. Speaking loud and clear without any language barriers are the thematic photo exhibitions. The current storyline is Warsaw under construction, depicting the post-war rebuilding of the Old Town and the rise of “socialist architecture” such the Party Building. Each black and white photo is accompanied by captions and notes in Polish and English. Previous exhibitions included the daily life in the communist years, going beyond the usual snapshots of empty shelves. Though the on-site bookshop sells mainly Polish books, there are many picture-rich titles telling engaging stories, such as “Ikony PRL” (Icons of the People’s Republic of Poland) with photos of Mick Jagger in Hala Kongresowa during his first concert behind the Iron Curtain. Unless the screening room is being used for meetings, you’ll find it strewn with beanbags for little ones to sprawl on. Next to it is the Karowa XX Café with invitingly colourful cushioned chairs. Entrance is free, so all the more reason for getting hooked on eye-contacts with history.
Tues to Fri 10:00-20:00, Sat to Sun 11:00- 20:00
Related post: Toan Pho