MHP (Muzeum Historii Polski, the Polish History Museum) presents the most important motifs of Polish history – the state and the nation – with special emphasis on the topics of freedom, parliamentarian tradition, citizen institutions and movements, and the fight for freedom and independence. It embarks on themes including the functioning mechanisms of the ancient Republic of the szlachta – the landed nobility and of national uprisings, the story of Solidarity and the two reconstructions of the Republic of Poland in the 20th century.
The museum conducts educational activities and creates a contemporary consciousness of tradition and openness to the world. One important aspect is the awareness of links between Polish history and the histories of other nations in Europe, especially those which had also existed in proximity to the ancient Republic.
MHP documents, popularizes and promotes the history of Poland based on the achievements of research, reaching for the inspiring examples of Polish achievements yet also taking part in debating difficult pages in Polish history.
MHP is active in creating an international image of Poland, to make its history and culture understandable for and attractive to foreigners. Because of that, MHP participates in international dialogue with a special emphasis on neighboring nations.
The museum strives to fulfill its mission in an open way, promoting as broadly as possible access to cultural heritage and academic sources in order to realize their full digital potential.
MHP was founded on 2 May 2006. Its construction has been prioritized by consecutive presidential administrations of the Polish government, by Prime Ministers Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, Jarosław Kaczyński and Donald Tusk and Ewa Kopacz.
The legal status of the Polish History Museum in Warsaw is regulated by a law about organizing and running cultural activities and the Statute of the Polish History Museum in Warsaw.
- 11 November 2008: opening of the exhibition "Between the Wars: Faces of Modernity" at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The exhibition was visited by over 50,000 people.
- 11 November 2009: opening of the exhibition "Wartime Farewells" dedicated to the dramatic fate of Poles during the Second World War.
- 21 October 2011: the interactive exhibition "The Path to Unity, 1945–2004: Communism, Solidarity, European Union" presented in Brussels in the context of Poland's rotating European Union presidency.
- 2 May 2012: opening of the exhibition "Under a Common Sky" about the First Polish Republic and its cultural riches.
- 2012: permanent online exhibitions realized with the Google Cultural Institute: about Jan Karski, the role of Solidarity in overthrowing communism and the “Separated by History” exhibition. MHP was one of two institutions in Poland invited onto this international program.
- 28 September 2013: opening of the temporary exhibition "From Horodło to Horodło. The Union of Horodło: History and Memory (1413–2013)" in Zamość, Poland. The exhibition was prepared by MHP in collaboration with the Museum of Zamość.
- 2013: “1863: Game for Independence”, an educational exhibition in the University of Warsaw Library, allowed visitors to do appealing tasks to get closer to the reality and to knowledge about Polish territories during the time of the January Uprising.
- 25 September 2014: opening of the temporary exhibition "London – the Capital of Poland: Polish Emigration 1940–1990" in the University of Warsaw Library.
- 20 November 2014: Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the permanent outdoor exhibition "Courage and Reconciliation" in Krzeszów, Poland.
- 2014 – opening of the permanent online exhibitions “Polish Road to Freedom in Erazm Ciołek’s Lens” and “Witold Pilecki 1901–1948” on the platform Google Art&Culture.
- 25 March 2015: Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz met with representatives of the Polish History Museum Board and the Association of the Friends of the Polish History Museum. The decision was made about creation of MHP's permanent location in the Warsaw Citadel and its financing by the government. The new MHP building will be part of the Warsaw Citadel museum complex, with the existing Museum of the X Pavilion, the planned Katyn Museum and the Museum of the Polish Army. MHP will occupy the main space in the full complex.
- 10 April 2015: opening of the open-air exhibition "Smolensk Portraits" on Piłsudski Square in Warsaw.
- 24 september 2015: opening of the exhibition “Promised Land: City and Modernity” at the University of Warsaw Library.
- 2015: opening of the permanent online exhibitions "Shifting Poland: Western and Northern Territories, 1945–1948,”, “Separated by War”, “Everyday Life in the Western Territories: 1945–1948”, “Polish Road to Freedom” and “The Solidarity and the Fall of the Iron Curtain” on the platform Google Art&Culture.
- 20 july 2016: opening of the exhibition "John Paul II. Orgins" in Warsaw.
- 2016: opening of the permanent online exhibitions “‘We simply wanted to be with them...’ The KOR Committee for the Defense of Workers and the Committee of Civic Self-defence (1976–1981)”, The “Passage to India” and “‘I Am the Last One’: Lidia Ciołkosz – Witness of the 20th Century” on the platform Google Art&Culture.
- 2 May 2017: opening of the temporary exhibition „Gusen: Granite, Death, Remembrance and Oblivion”.
- 10 September 2017: opening of the temporary exhibition „Tadeusz Kościuszko: A Man of Vision” in Warsaw.
- 2017: opening of the permanent online exhibitions exhibition „Gusen: Granite, Death, Remembrance and Oblivion”, “The Warsaw Citadel: History of the Site”, “General Władysław Anders: Difficult Choices”, “Tadeusz Kościuszko: A Man of Vision” on the platform Google Art&Culture.
- 31 January 2018: opening of the temporary exhibition „Women of Independence”
- 2018: opening of the permanent online exhibitions exhibition “Physical Renewal. Sports, Tourist, and Care Organizations in Service of Independent Poland” and “Spiritual Renewal. Cooperative, Religious, and Women’s Organizations in Service of Independent Poland” on the platform Google Art&Culture.
Educational and Outreach Activities
A significant component of MHP activities is the museum's outreach activities. One example of this is the series of feature-film and documentary screenings, "Who's Into Historical Things?", dedicated to history topics. Each screening includes commentary by historians, film experts and filmmakers in special panels.
This educational program is offered to schools and family groups. Other such programs include school competitions and outdoor learning games. These are original ideas combining exhibition elements with interactive participation.
Annually on 11 November, the outdoor event "Independence Station" is organized by MHP, during which open-air drama games, concerts, urban games and children's book readings by distinguished actors are held.
MHP maintains thematic online portals, including the popular history series www.dzieje.pl, as well as profiles on social-media portals including Youtube where short educational movies are mounted, dedicated to important events, processes and figures in Polish history.
The museum organizes and co-organizes academic conferences. Among the most important was the conference “A Look to the Past” held in Jadwisin near Warsaw, in 2007. That conference attempted to summarize Polish historiography since the political transformation in 1989.
An important instrument realized for the needs of the academic community is the portal www.polishhistory.pl, which facilitates orientation in the life of the history community, and provides availability for various content and sources, on the Internet as well as in traditional academic and cultural institutions.
MHP has also created BazHum, an online bibliographical database of humanities periodicals. Currently, ongoing work is aiming for the free availability in this database of full content for many historical and humanities periodicals.
MHP realizes cooperative programs with foreign museums and academic and educational institutions in Great Britain, Russia, France, Germany and the United States. It also runs special grants programs for foreign historians working on the history of Poland. Among our partners are the Imperial War Museum, the Google Cultural Institute and the Institute of Civic Space.
Among the museum's important achievements in international cooperation is the project "Jan Karski: Unfinished Mission." This program realized an education package in Polish and English, a mobile exhibition in Polish (in Warsaw, Wrocław, Kielce) and English (in New York City), and initiated and realized the effective initiative for President Barack Obama to bestow a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom on Jan Karski in 2012.
Patriotism of Tomorrow
Since 2009, MHP awards grants for NGOs and local institutions in the frame of the operational program "Patriotism of Tomorrow." To date, over 960 subjects have been given grants, at a total sum of around 20 million złoty.