Route 3: Museums in the Old Market Square

Three houses opposite the houses of the keepers in Stary Rynek are occupied by the Museum of Musical Instruments . Established in 1945, it is the only museum of this kind in Poland and the third biggest in Europe. Its collection of musical instruments consists of about two thousand items from all parts of the world. The permanent exhibition features a collection of stringed instruments (the most notable being the violins made by Polish and Italian masters), a rich collection of pianos as well as woodwind and brass instruments. Part of the exposition is devoted to folk instruments from Poland, Africa, Australia and Oceania, the Americas, Asia and Europe, made in prehistoric times and in the first half of the twentieth century. The museum is also a venue for numerous meetings and chamber-music concerts.

In the north-western part of the square, at the corner of Stary Rynek and Zamkowa Street, stands the Henryk Sienkiewicz Literature Museum . Henryk Sienkiewicz was the author of "Quo Vadis', a famous novel frequently made into a film. In 1905, he received the Nobel Prize for his work, which included numerous historical and realist novels, and short stories. The museum was established in 1978. Since its beginnings as a private collection of Poznań merchant Ignacy Moś (d. 2001), the museum has been systematically enlarged both by Mr Moś and by other donors. Its book collection of about four thousand consists of books by Sienkiewicz, foreign editions of his novels as well as manuscripts (letters and autographs) and other archives. The permanent exposition features biographical materials, works of art inspired either by the Nobel Laureate himself or by his writings, memorabilia (a death-mask and a cast of Sienkiewicz's right hand) and documents illustrating the writer's links with the region of Wielkopolska. What attracts young people is Wiesław Śniadecki's set designs for the film (In Desert and Wilderness). In addition to exhibits closely related to Henryk Sienkiewicz, the museum has a collection of 500 medals connected with Poland's history and literature.

Having left the museum, go straight ahead past the Weigh House on your right, and turn left into Wroniecka Street. House No. 14 is the Józef Ignacy Kraszewski Museum . Józef Ignacy Kraszewski was an eminent nineteenth-century writer. This author of over 350 books in about 600 volumes wrote realist and historical novels about peasants, aristocracy, landed gentry, intelligentsia and craftsmen. The museum was established in 1986 thanks to a donation made by Marian Walczak (1926-1987), a Poznań bibliophile and collector. This rich collection consists of the writer's manuscripts and drawings, over two thousand books, including various editions of his works (among them over two hundred first editions) and a number of critical studies of Kraszewski's oeuvre. Here you will also find a collection of memorabilia and presents which the writer received from the Polish community on the fiftieth anniversary of his work in 1879: anniversary albums and greetings, cups, a carved armchair, a box for coins, medals and other beautifully crafted objects.

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