“Kraków's Cursed Soldiers,” “Project: Pilecki” and the opening of the Silesian Risings Museum in Świętochłowice were this year’s winners in voting for the Historical Event of the Year. The ceremony was held on 26 May 2015 in the Palace on the Island in the Warsaw Royal Gardens.
Among the guests were the general director of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Jacek Olbracht, Senators Andrzej Person and Jan Maria Jackowski and the president of the Polish History Museum Board, Wojciech Roszkowski. Almost all nominees from across Poland were present at the ceremony.
The director of the Polish History Museum, Robert Kostro, said during the ceremony that “history will stop being discounted if passionate people take care of illustrating and explaining it. Who are they? Often they are representatives of Polish institutions of culture, foundations, organizations,” he stressed, “which popularize, promote and teach young generations about history.” This year, the competition announced by the Polish History Museum drew around 200 events from across the nation and abroad, from which the jury chose the final 15. Over 5,000 users took part in the online voting.
The most votes were for “Kraków's Cursed Soldiers,” prepared by the Historical Museum of Kraków. The exhibition presented stories of 14 heroes linked with the anti-communist underground in the years 1944–1956, who after the end of the Second World War elected to continue the struggle for the sovereignty of Poland. Among them were veterans of the conflicts of 1914 and 1920, the September Campaign in 1939 and the anti-German underground from 1939–1945, with professional soldiers, civilians and representatives of different social, political and generational groups.
In the Event category, the most important chosen for 2014 was the opening of the Silesian Risings Museum in Świętochłowice. The museum is located in a revitalized building according to a design by the Zillman Brothers firm. The permanent exhibition was placed on four levels: from the ground floor with its galleries dedicated to “Świętochłowice A.D. 1919,” where the decor relates in loose form to the main street of the uprising period, to the mezzanine from where the headquarter meeting can be viewed. The entry path is a film presentation of the Silesian uprisings.
In the Education and Multimedia category, Internet users gave the most votes to “Project: Pilecki,” realized by the Auschwitz Association Memento. The goal of this project was to organize different events to popularize one of the great heroes of the 20th century. In framework of the project, an online site was created (www.projektpilecki.pl) and features document about Calvary Capt. Witold Pilecki.
Remaining projects were distinguished in the voting by the competition Jury, which included Prof. Andrzej Chwalba, Dr. Magdalena Gawin, the journalist Jan Wróbel, the director of the exhibitions department of the Polish History Museum, Monika Matwiejczuk, and editor of the portal historia.org.pl, Wojciech Duch:
- 1,000 Years of the History of Polish Jews – the permanent exhibition of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (organizers: Association of the Jewish Historical Institute and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews)
- Opening of the new site of Cricoteka (organizer: Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor – Cricoteka)
- Opening of the Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski Faras Gallery in the National Museum in Warsaw (organizer: National Museum in Warsaw)
- Opening of the Centre of Technology and Regional Development – Museum of Modernity in Olsztyn (organizer: City Culture Centre in Olsztyn)
- Exhibition “MADE IN POLAND” (organizer: Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola)
- Exhibition “Wings of the Great War – Małopolska 1914-2014” (organizer: Museum of Polish Aviation in Kraków)
- Making Available the 18th Century “Roman Cave” at the Dominican Square in Gdańsk together with the accompanying permanent exhibition (organizer: Archeological Museum in Gdańsk)
- Exhibition “Myths of Galicia” (organizer: International Culture Centre in collaboration with the Wien Museum)
Category EDUCATION AND MULTIMEDIA:
- A Tale about Polish Jews. Live lesson from the permanent exhibition (organizer: POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews)
- Historical online news services on PolskieRadio.pl (organizer: Polish Radio S.A.)
- Commemoration of the Kolberg Year (organizers: Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Institute of Music and Dance, Oskar Kolberg Institute)
- “Ścieżki 3Dostępu. Ścieżki edukacyjne: między technologią, teatrem, filmem i muzeum” (organizer: Army Museum in Białystok)
The presentation of all the laureates is available here: LINK
Three main awards were presented during the closing of the ceremony – precious statuettes made by the distinguished sculptor Maciej Zychowicz, and diplomas for the finalists.
The video recording of the gala is available here: LINK
“The Event of the Year” is a nationwide vote which started in 2007; its initiator was the portal historia.org.pl. The aim of the competition is to award the creators of the most interesting historical initiatives in three categories. There are more and more projects with each year. Last year, over 70 events were in competition, of which 10 moved to the final selection. Thousands of voters decided to award the educational project for kids and adults called “Magic of Gardens” organized by the Archeological Museum in Wrocław.
The voting was conducted under the honorary patronage of Minister of Culture and National Heritage Małgorzata Omilanowska.
Organizer: Polish History Museum in Warsaw
Sponsor: Polska Wytwórnia Papierów Wartościowych
Media patrons: Polish Radio, TVP Historia, Polish Press Agency, dzieje.pl, Nasza Historia, Polska Press Grupa