Museum of the Polish Army (Polish: Muzeum Wojska Polskiego) is a museum in Warsaw documenting the military aspects of the history of Poland. Created in 1920, it occupies a wing of the building of the Polish National Museum as well as several branches in Poland. Its Warsaw's second largest museum and the largest collection of military objects in Poland. The collection illustrates a thousand years of Polish military history, from the 10th century to the Second World War.
Opened in 1920, the museum expanded in 1993 with the Museum of Katyn and the Museum of Polish Military Technology opened in the 9th Czerniakowski Fort.
The forecourt of the museum houses several dozen armoured vehicles, artillery pieces and aircraft, an eclectic mix of Soviet, western and Polish equipment, mostly from the World War II era.
The indoor galleries concentrate on the military history of Poland since the 10th century, and are particularly strong on Poland's era of military greatness in the 17th century, through the decline into anarchy in the 18th century. Several rooms are devoted to Poland's part in the Napoleonic Wars, and the national uprisings of 1830-31 and 1863. By far the largest part of exhibition space is devoted to the 20th century, especially World War II. Highlights of the Museum's collection include an extremely rare gilded helmet from the 10th century, which is said to have belonged to a Polish chieftain and the collection of hussars' armour.Additionally there is a permanent exhibition of oriental arms and armour from the museum's own extensive collection, which includes many world-class items from Ottoman Turkey, the Crimean Tatar Khanate, Mongolia and Japan. The heavy weaponry is on display in the adjacent park and at the Fort Czerniakowski (Museum of Polish Military Technology, closed at present while it is being repaired). The park surrounding the Museum is home to an open-air exhibition of heavy military equipment (tanks, artillery, aircraft and mine detection and diffusion). The Fort houses also the Museum of Katyń Victims, a subsidiary of the Polish Army Museum.The museum was recently given the equipment from the soldiers lost in the Presidential Smolensk aircraft crash. The equipment includes the ID Passes, portable radios, torches, holsters and much more all in their original state.
Polish Armed Forces in the Middle Ages
Polish Army at the Time of Renaissance
History of the Old Polish Military: 1576-1648
Polish Army in the Second Half of the 17th Century
Polish Army in Saxon Times
Polish Army at the Time of the Enlightenment and the Kosciuszko Rising
Polish Legions in Italy and the Army of the Dukedom of Warsaw
The Army of the Kingdom of Poland and the November 1831 Rising
The January 1863 Rising
Polish Paramilitary Organisations of the Early 20th Century
The Roads to Independence: 1914-45
The Polish Army: 1921-39
Poland's Defence War of 1939
The Armed Struggle in the Occupied Country: 1939-47
Polish Army in the East: 1943-45
UN Peace Missions of the Polish Army.The museum is run as a department of the Polish armed forces, an arrangement which brings advantages - such as limitless access to military surplus stock - but also disadvantages (not least the lack of a proper giftshop/bookshop, since, by law Polish military facilities cannot sell goods to the public on a commercial basis).
On December 15, 2008, the Museum of the Polish Army announced that it will sponsor an international competition to choose an architectural design for its new premises and surrounding area. The building will be built in the historic Citadel located in Warsaw's Żoliborz district. The new museum is expected to be a modern multimedia institution similar in concept to the highly successful Warsaw Uprising Museum. The winner was expected to be selected in August 2009, construction of the museum was supposed to begin in 2009 or 2010 and completion due in 2013, however in early 2014, this still had not occurred. Once the new Polish Army Museum is built, its current building in the city center will be taken over by the National Museum in Warsaw.