It’s Friday evening. The Old Market Square in Poznań is bustling with activity. Cafés and patios are full of soccer fans… I get away from the crowd and not even a minute passes when I’m standing in front of the Museum of Applied Arts at the Royal Castle hoping for as intense emotions as I saw at the square
In front of the museum there is somebody sketching local architecture. And what’s inside? It’s still a surprise, but I can already taste the artistic atmosphere of the place. I don’t hesitate to enter. After crossing the threshold I notice the hall still has that smell of being new. It must be because The Museum of Applied Arts was made available to the public just over a year ago. At the front desk I find out it is possible to visit the museum with an English-speaking guide. You just need to contact the guide earlier and book a date. The contact data can be found at the museum’s website. Later it turns out that exhibit descriptions are also provided in English, so it’s possible to visit the museum even if you hadn’t booked a guide beforehand.
The first room of the museum is just around the corner and it contains exhibits from the medieval times. Well-lit objects draw my attention and I can carefully study their details. I quickly gather that each room is devoted to a different epoch, beginning with the medieval times, through the renaissance period, the baroque, up until contemporary times. Every room is an aesthetic feast. The colors, designs and exhibit themes are able to satisfy even the most demanding tastes: you can admire weapons, outfits, crockery, sacred items, household decorations, measuring instruments, musical instruments, kitchen items… I could keep going like this almost forever! What attracts my attention is the treasury room, which contains tiny masterpieces in the form of medalions, richly decorated pocket watches, valuable accessories and jewelry. I feel the atmosphere of mystery and respect for items on display in the treasury. Maybe it’s because among the treasures there is Napoleon Bonaparte’s lock of hair?
What is unusual is that you can familiarize yourself with applied art exhibits using all your senses. In almost every room I find a surprise in the form of devices that can be turned on or switched. You can slide out additional artefacts from them or even touch some of the exibits. To put it in plain terms – you can experience art. Apart from that, there are telescopes in some of the rooms through which you can see slides depicting Poznań from back in the day. If this wasn’t enough, a portion of the items on display is mobile, i.e., they don’t just lie behind a glass wall but they rotate, allowing the visitor to carefully observe all their details. Additionally, some of the exhibits are presented as three-dimensional holograms. Would you like to find out what scents accompanied people in previous centuries? No problem. Olfactory sensations enthusiasts can take part in a scent identification competition in the baroque and rococo room. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the atmosphere in most of the rooms is also created by appropriate music.
Regardless of whether you prefer learning visually, through auditory, tactile, olfactory stimuli, or kinesthetically, Museum of Applied Arts is capable of meeting your expectations. After seeing every room – which can take from just over an hour to even a few hours – I have one more visual feast waiting for me. The castle has a tower. You can go to the top of the tower using an elevator, and once you reach the top there are two observation decks available (one is a bit higher than the other and requires going up a small staircase). A ride to the top of the tower is worth taking for everyone – also families with kids and people with disabilities. The view of the city from the top is trully beautiful.
When I return to the Old Market Square the soccer game is just about to start. The fun, the hustle and bustle of the square and sports frenzy are alluring, but I feel that I did not miss out on anything while at the museum. A time travel through the rooms of the museum provides a great deal of inspiration and can stimulate your creativity in every domain imaginable. I recommend visiting this place.