Accepted Paper:

Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw - The New Beginning and Challenges  


Maria Szymanska-Ilnata (The Asia and Pacific Museum)

Paper short abstract:

In the country with no colonial history Asia and Pacific Museum plays an important role in popularizing knowledge about Asian cultures, although since over 40 years it was existing without a permanent exhibition. Now the situation is changing as new possibilities and challenges appeared.

Paper long abstract:

Asia and Pacific Museum was founded on a private collection of Indonesian arts and crafts created by Andrzej Wawrzyniak. It was officially established in 1973 as a Museum of Nusantara Archipelago, when the collection was donated to the country. In 1976 the name was changed to the Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw, which, accordingly, began to gather artefacts from other countries of Asia and Oceania.

Poland never had a colony, nor did it maintain in close relations with any of Asian countries. After the II World War, until 1989 it was difficult for people to travel abroad. The exhibitions and lectures organized in different towns by Andrzej Wawrzyniak with the Ethnographic Museum from Cracow and later by the Asia and Pacific Museum were almost the only ways (except books) to get any knowledge about Asian cultures. Without the proper building the museum was unable to organize a permanent exhibition, and could only display its object on temporary exhibitions in different localizations.

The situation changed few years ago when it received a new building, although the financial resources for the exhibition have been granted this year. It is a new beginning and a big challenge for the Museum. We have to reconsider the concept and scenario of the exhibition and reply to the needs and expectation of our visitors. The second challenge is to present Asian cultures in the most proper and multi-faceted way. The question is what does it mean in globalized, modern world and in recent Polish reality?

Panel P006
Museums of Asian Arts outside Asia: Questioning Artefacts, Cultures and Identities