The Ethographic Park of the Museum of Folk Culture

A Wooden Tractor and a Hut from 1804 - Kolbuszowa for Tourists and Ethnographers

The Ethnographic Park of the Museum of Folk Culture in Kolbuszowa in the Subcarpathia Region presents villages of the Lasowiacy and Rzeszowiacy groups as they appeared in the 19th and 20th century. Gathered on the 30 hectares of grassland, forests and lakes are ca. 60 examples of timber architecture, including farmsteads, windmills, water mills, a fire station, a school and an inn. Displayed inside these structures are collections of folk toys and assemblages pertaining to the art of weaving and to fire-fighting. Visitors are encouraged to participate in courses for children and cyclical festivals.

The Ethnographic Park was first opened in 1978, although the idea to create it arose before 1970, among the members of the Regional Museum of the Lasowiacy Group in Kolbuszowa. The museum was active since its opening in 1959, supported only by the efforts of its founders, mainly Kazimierz Skowroński, Maciej Skowroński, and Józef Niezgoda. The museum was nationalized in 1971, and at that time the decision to create and ethnographical park was made. The work was supervised by Maciej Skowroński who became the director of the Regional Museum of the Lasowiacy Group in Fenruary 1972. In 1974, the institution’s name was changed to the The Museum of Folk Culture in Kolbuszowa, and on the grounds by Wolska Street construction work on the ethnographical park begun. The organizational effort was considerable and lasted for the next four years, until the grand opening on May 4th 1978, in the presence of the then Vice-Minister of Culture, Professor Wiktor Zin. On the following day, called specially for this occasion, the National Conference of Ethnographic Parks convened.

Currently, the Ethnographic Park in Kolbuszowa occupies an area of 30 hectares and contains ca. 60 examples of timber architecture. The grounds are divided into two thematic divisions, one displaying a Rzeszów region village, the other a village of the Lasowiacy group. The Park features mainly farmstead buildings, arranged in accordance with their locations in a self sufficient forest homestead. Found here are also windmills, a schoolhouse, a forge, a chapel, an apiary, a fire station, a Jewish inn, and a water mill. House interiors have been arranged to depict every day and holiday life of their inhabitants. A visitor will be able to see kitchens prepared for baking bread, living rooms decorated for Christmas, ready to use looms and carpentry workshops. Also available are thematic displays such as “How it was with linen,” presenting ornamental needlework, folk toys and traditional dresses of the Lasowiacy and Rzeszowiacy peoples.

The Park’s oldest building is located in the Rzeszów division, a Kielarów hut brought here from Markowa, built on August 17th, 1804, as stated on the information plaque (17 Augustus 1804). Also found here is a fire station with original furnishings form the 1930s and 40s. On the way to the Rzeszów division, visitors pass the Jewish Inn, its interior furnished as it would have been in the 1820s. Found here is an original promotional poster which reads: “The archduke’s brewery in Żywiec recommends its beers: Zdrój Żywiecki, Markowe, Porter.”

Located in the Lasowiacy group’s division of the Park is the second oldest building, a hut constructed in 1810 and transported from Żołynia Dolna. The still-unfinished school building houses the “How it was with linen” display, showcasing looms, spindles, brushes and weaving techniques. The next room holds a display of traditional clothes worn by the Lasowiacy and Rzeszowiacy peoples, made entirely from linen. Another display, especially attractive to children, is found in the hut from Wrzawy. Displayed here are toys crafted using traditional methods by Stanisław Naroga. The Park’s Lasowiacy group section also contains wooden windmills of the “koźlak” (buck) type, as well as a water mill. Plans have been made to add a church, a nobleman’s household and a forest ranger’s hut.

The Ethnographical Park also offers numerous additional attractions. School groups can participate in classes during which students can learn old games and pastimes, learn how to bake bread or make pottery on a potter’s wheel. Children can enjoy contact with animals living in several enclosures, such as goats, chickens and ducks. The horse rides are particularly attractive, organized by the Mustang Riding Enclosure in Dzikowiec. Groups of visitors can participate in a show by the RODE Educational Scene entitled “Tales of old craftsmen of the Subcarpathia,” based on the writings of Emilia Zegadłowicz. Groups also have the possibility to organize a campfire and order regional meals, as well as spend the night in a 19th century manor.

At the website, a comprehensive history of the Ethnographic Park may be found, as well as a detailed guide to all the objects in the Park, the complete educational offer, the up-to-date information concerning events, and a register of publications and archival assemblages.

The Museum of Folk Culture in Kolbuszowa collects archival materials regarding the region’s history and ethnography, and pertaining to the statutory activity of the Museum. The archives are open on workdays between 9 AM and 3 PM.

The contents of the Historical Archive are not homogeneous. Oftentimes, the assembled documents do not form closed sets. It is possible to come across loose files and official documents, prints, hand written documents, tape recordings and photographs, seal prints, maps, plans. At times, the history of the documents is incredible, as in the case of the Town’s Founding Act. The Act was miraculously saved form destruction by Mr. Ferdynand Jędrzejewicz, who retrieved it form a burning pile of magistrate acts, set alight by the Germans in October 1939. Today, it rests safely in the Archives. In total, the Historical Archive contains 876 archival units.

The materials gathered in the Ethnographical Archive have been obtained mainly in the course of fieldwork conducted by Museum employees. These materials include descriptions of field research, plans and detailed descriptions of cottage interiors, farm building and of entire farmstead, of public utility buildings (inns, churches) and industrial buildings (smithies, oil production plants). These data are complemented by detailed interviews dealing with the history of given families and individual objects. On the basis of these materials, detailed lists of the furnishings of different houses or farmsteads were created and added to the archives.

Many of the documents found in the ethnographic archive are the result of various contests (e.g. regarding work in the field, rituals, customs). A large portion of the material originates from different ethnographic camps organized by the Museum, e.g. camps devoted to natural medicine, folk costumes, architecture, pottery, interior decorating, folk crafts, social relations and annual and family celebrations, as well as folk beliefs. Found in the ethnographic archives are also the works written by researches-regionalists such as Jan Rut, dealing with weddings or with winczowiny of Przeworsk. The collection was considerably enriched by materials collected in the 1950s and 60s by the “Cepelia” Foundation during ethnographic research into several folk crafts of the Lasowiacy and Rzeszowaicy ethnographic groups. Colored drawings of a Rzeszów wedding by Józef Ryś from Łąki and colored etchings depicting the Stations of the Way of the Cross are the highlights of this collection. Apart from these, the assemblage also contains perishable prints, folk song lyrics and folk poetry. The Ethnographic Archive inventory contains 301 records.

The Photographic Archive is a separate unit. It contains both the photographic documentation of the objects from the Museum’s own collection and photographs taken in the “field,” which constitute the largest set. These include, first and foremost, photographs of timber architecture, taken during research in the land of the Lasowiacy and Rzeszowiacy groups; the research was carried out with the intention to seek out buildings to be moved to the Museum. Most of the photographs were taken in the 1970s and 1980s by Museum employees or by interns; the photographs donated by mr. Maciej Skowroński date back to the 1950s. Other sections of the Archive are devoted to the photographic documentation of Museum work (events, exhibitions), transportation and communication, enclosures, landscapes, documentation of crafts and folk art. The Archive also contains photographs dealing with the history of the region, documenting family and annual celebrations, as well as an extensive section regarding fire-fighting. Family photographs, marriage ceremony and wedding photographs and portraits dating back to the 19th century also constitute a separate set. They form a priceless iconographic source providing evidence of the people, costumes, fashion, and occurrences. The Photographic Archive contains over 20 000 pictures.

The Archive also contains a separate technical documentation division which contains all manner of technical documentation pertaining to the relics of timber architecture. A large part of these data come from architectural listings, approximated procedures or conservational-and-micrological statements regarding the buildings to be transported to the museum. Also found in this division is a fairly large collection of data relating to buildings found in the field, some of which are no longer present, like the cottage form Raniżów, the cottage with a store from Trzęsówka, tenant cottages from Grębów and from Werynia or the apiary from Poręby Kupieńskie. The assemblage numbers 517 archival units.

The last section of the Archive is the collection of mechanical records, within which tape recordings and VHS tapes form a separate unit. The former include audio recordings of interviews conducted during fieldwork by Museum employees and concern all aspects of the life of the Lasowiacy and the Rzeszowiacy peoples. A number of these tapes has been bestowed on the Museum by mr. Jan Puk form Trzęśń. They contain interviews which he conducted in the early 1980s on the topic of emigration and social relations or everyday life in the vicinity of the towns of Tarnobrzeg and Sandomierz. In their majority, the recordings contain folk songs sung by singers, many of whom are now deceased (e.g. ms. Maria Kozłowa from Machów, ms. Rozalia Zimny from Mazury) as well as folk melodies performed by bands (e.g. of Wiesław Pagoda form Kolbuszowa) and soloists (e.g. Stanisaw Żakowski, a fiddler form Korczowiska). Exceptionally valuable are the recordings of the already deceased folk poet and storyteller, mr. Stanisław Jurkowski form Chmielów. Transcription cards of folk songs are an integral part of the assemblage (numbering over 150), and contain semi-phonetic transcriptions of song melodies and lyrics. The set includes 63 tape recordings on 60 and 90-minute tapes.

The VHS tapes mostly contain recordings of contests and folkloristic displays as well as events organized at the open air museum. Other recordings show the work of folk craftsmen – e.g. that of a toymaker, basket maker, potter, sculptor, and displays of oil pressing, rolling of candles, the production and baking of brad, and other. Unique among the recordings are the films depicting the renovation work in the church in Cmolas, the chapel in Olchowiec, and in currently nonexistent objects in the field: in the Krówka farmstead in Giedlarowa or in the farmstead and apiary of the Sudołowie Family in Zembrza. The set contains 38 tapes.


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