POLAND-RUSSIA Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014–2020
On the 5th of November (Friday) at 6 p.m. the Museum of Archaeology and History in Elbląg will hold a unique double opening of new exhibitions. After a long break, in a refreshed setting and on a slightly limited area, the exhibition “Testimonies. History in faces – faces of history” will have its comeback. It will also be the first chance to see an exhibition titled “ City of new people. Elbląg in the first post-war decade 1945 – 1955” being a chronological follow-up to “Testimonies”.
The official part of the event will take place in the courtyard, therefore it’s worth dressing up warmly depending on weather conditions. Seeing the exhibitions individually will only be possible if all the restrictions are maintained – limited number of people inside, keeping the distance, disinfection, and face-covering masks. The museum reserves the right to change the date or cancel the event in case of tightening up Covid-19 restrictions.
“Testimonies. History in faces. Faces of history” is a story of the past residents of Elblag and its area, who, after World War II, had to leave their homeland. The exhibition’s core are films produced on the basis of a series of interviews with the pre-war residents of the city. We will find out about their childhood games, school and duties, past excursions, East Prussian cuisine and favourite dishes, fashion, interior design and holidays. The exhibition has been enriched with family memorabilia, archival photos and interior arrangements from the epoch - a woman’s lounge with replicas of attires, a fragment of an old kitchen, a children’s corner, a pre-war case mangle and a model of one of the city’s most important places – Frederick Wilhelm Square made by Mr. Hans Joachim Pfau. Leaving ‘Testimonies”, we walk through a symbolic “wartime area” to the exhibition “City of new people. Elbląg in the first post-war decade 1945-1955” that gives us an insight in a difficult, full of sacrifice, uncertainty and worries period of the city’s history. That time was not only marked with hope, but also with hard work of those who willingly or enforcedly arrived here from various places to rebuild the city they hadn’t known before and lay foundations of social, economic and cultural life. The exposition is divided into twelve thematic zones and the content is presented on the background of symbolically arranged sites, such as a railway station, a robbed German flat, a prison cell or a classroom. At the exhibition you can see archival photos of the damaged city, private photos of the residents from that period, memorabilia brought here by settlers from their birthplaces, various documents and artefacts that initiated the collection of the museum established in 1954. The exposition is supported with multimedia – the “window” of a tram vehicle with views of ruined buildings in Królewiecka street changing along the tram’s route or a screen showing some of Elbląg’s properties before 1945 and just after the end of warfare.
The modernisation of the exhibition about the pre-war residents of Elbląg together with its extension by the part devoted to the post-war settlers has been implemented within the framework of the Museums over the borders. Stage II project co - financed from EU funds under the Poland-Russia Cross-Border Cooperation Program 2014-2020.