Home > Polish history > MAGNA RES LIBERTAS


A bit tied up both with my thesis (writing the Introduction) and my other job (copy-editing for a magazine), so just a short entry today:

While walking the (very long) corridors of the institution that I work for, I noticed an urgent notice from about half a year ago. It seems that a local organization in Switzerland was trying to practically liquidate the Rapperswil Museum. I checked the museum’s web page as soon as I got home, and discovered that the matter has been settled: the museum is safe, at least for the time being. 😐 But it occurred to me that I should write a few words about the museum, as it is the sort of trivia that would fit this blog nicely – this is one of the oldest (the oldest?) Polish-themed museums outside of Poland. And perhaps it’s not a bad idea to popularize it in the wake of the threats to its existence.

The Polish Museum in Rapperswil was established in 1870 by count Wladyslaw Broel-Plater, a post-November Uprising emigré. To house the museum, Plater leased from the city of Rapperswil, for 99 years, the city’s derelict castle, which he renovated at his own expense. Initially, it was really more of a small exhibition than a fully-fledged museum, but other emigrés donated lots of interesting Polish memorabilia, and in a short period it grew considerably. (Among the “memorabilia” was an urn containing Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s heart. :surprise: ) The Museum Library grew even faster than the museum itself, and in 1892 a separate librarian’s post was created, so that someone would continually look after the books and archives. You can (and should 😉 ) read more about the museum on its web page (linked to at the beginning of this paragraph).

(Note: the Wikipedia article on the November Uprising, which I have linked to above, may not be the optimal internet resource on the subject – it doesn’t even cite the two most basic monographs of the uprising – but I can’t find anything better in English at the moment… 😳 )

  1. Jezetha
    23 July 2008 at 10:24

    I am enjoying this polnographic blog very much…

  2. maciek
    23 July 2008 at 15:15

    Ha, ha, ha! “Polnographic”! Love that! Should find a way of adding it into the title somehow… 😆

  3. maciek
    31 October 2008 at 15:44

    As an afterthought I should probably add that I later learned the whole thing had more to do with where the museum should be seated than with the museum’s existence per se. Apparently (and not very surprisingly), most people living in Rapperswil find it odd that one of the most prominent historical buildings in town is dedicated to a country that they know little about and don’t really care for…

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