The Warsaw Uprising Museum
The Warsaw uprising museum – first opened in 2004 to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising – recreates the atmosphere, history and struggles that Varsovians went through in the attempt to liberate their city from Nazi oppressors.
The Warsaw Uprising Museum
The Warsaw Uprising is one of the darkest moments in recent history, yet it is often overlooked by the western society. Warsaw was almost completely annihilated and hundreds of thousands people died for their freedom. No other single city saw such a massacre of civilians and Poland saw the highest percentage of death as a percentage of the population (17% of the population died) during WWII.
It is a hard task to create an exhibition about such tragedy. But I believe that the curators of the museum did an outstanding job.
The Warsaw Uprising museum is one of its kind and will offer an experience hard to forget.
Note: The exhibition is organized in a chronological order but it’s quite easy to take a wrong turn and end up at the end of the tour. You should always follow the signs to the next section (which is not that intuitive). It’s a good idea to take the audio guide(10zl), which will help you with your orientation. If you decide to avoid the audioguide, you can still follow the audio guide numbers on the wall (this is free!).
In this article, I am trying to describe the layout so that you won’t get lost during your visit!
The museum is divided into five subsequent sections, leading the visitors through a chronological journey from the beginning of the war until the aftermath and the Soviet invasion.
The first section is characterized by its cobblestone floor, broken bricks, the blast of grenades and the constant heartbeat of the central wall (which symbolizes the heartbeat of Warsaw). In this section, you’ll learn about the daily struggles of life in Warsaw from the beginning of the war until the Operation Storm.
When you enter the museum you will see a staircase on your right, don’t take it. Proceed ahead instead, and take the glass elevator to go to section II.
In section II you learn about the first days of the Uprising and the terrible living conditions that Varsovians had to suffer. Right next to the elevator you will find a section dedicated to Krystyna Krahelska, a polish poet, and Uprising insurgent.
In this section, you can also see a copy of the Warsaw Mermaid (same as in the Old Town) for which Krystyna posed as a model.
Then, get inside the sewage replica. From the sewage, take the stairs down to the first floor, leading to section III.
Section III of the exhibition shows the fights that took place in September in in Warsaw. It continues with the fall of the Uprising and the creation of the PKWN (Polish Committee of National Liberation), a – puppet government, fully controlled by the Soviet Union, and the complete surrender and exodus of Warsaw’s population.
There are also three little rooms with exhibitions called “Radiostation”, ‘Military mail” and “Germany”.
The remaining space is adapted for temporary exhibitions.
From Section III go down the staircase to get to section IV.
In section IV you find a remarkable replica of a “B24 liberator”, the Allied plane used to bring supplies to the city.
Next, check out the film “City of Ruins,” a five-minute 3-D aerial video over the ruin of Warsaw. Pick up a pair of 3d glasses (note: some of the glasses are heavily scratched, pick one that is not) and enjoy this elaborated mix of old pictures and new technology (it took two years to make this short movie).
Next, go to the theater. Here you can watch a short documentary made from original WWII footage.
Then go down the stairs in the theater, to the underground section (section V). Here you can see some everyday utensils and weapons used by the SS, while the disturbingly cheerful sound of a German song accompanies your visit (nothing against the song per se, it was just too cheerful for the situation). In section V you also find one of the most suggestive parts of the museum, another replica of a particular sewage in Warsaw, which was very actively used by Varsovians during the uprising.
While crouching in the tiny tunnel it’s easy to imagine the darkness, the heavy consumed air, the smell of excrements and the squeaking of rats. As shivers go down your spine, you are glad to be inside a replica.
When to go and additional info
I visited the Warsaw Uprising Museum twice this week. I have some good news and bad news.
The good news is that the entrance to the Uprising Museum is free on Sunday. The bad news is that it’s OVERCROWDED!
The Warsaw Uprising Museum is one of the most visited in Warsaw, by both tourists and Varsovians.
I asked the lady working at the ticket office and she confirmed me that Sunday is indeed the busiest day (with an average of 3000 visitors per day), closely followed by Saturday. The afternoons are particularly busy.
The best moment to go is in the morning during weekdays. So, if you can, do yourself (and the museum) a favor. Spend those 18zl and enjoy a much better experience.
OPENING HOURS Warsaw Uprising Museum
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 08.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.,
Thursday 08.00 a.m. – 8.00 p.m.,
Saturday and Sunday 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.,
Tuesday – closed
ADMISSION PRICES Warsaw uprising Museum:
Adult – 18 PLN
Discounted – 14 PLN
group – 10 PLN/person
admission on Sundays is free
Freedom Park at the Warsaw Uprising Museum
If you exit the museum from Section IV (where the Liberator replica is) you will end up in Freedom Park (Or, if you exit from the same door as you entered, go past the ticket office and you will be there).
What can you expect to see in Freedom Park?
Here you can find the memorial Wall, with the names of over 10.000 insurgents who died during the Uprising. While 10.000 (as a number) is hard to grasp, looking at the wall gives a quite clear idea of the size of this number.
Halfway along the wall, you can see the Monter, a 230 kg bell dedicated to General Antoni Chruściel, the de facto commander of all the armed forces during the Warsaw Uprising.
On the other side of the wall, you can find a collection of Uprising-inspired street art and posters featuring colorized photographs taken during the uprising. They are definitely worth a look.
Another interesting thing to see in Freedom Park is the reproduction of ‘Kubuś’, an armored car built by the “Home Army” (Armia Krajowa) during the Warsaw Uprising.
More info about the Warsaw Uprising Museum.