29 May – 23 August2014

Exhibition curator: dr Maciej Przybył, mgr Patrycja Silska

The exhibition Józef Kostrzewski. A contemporary assessment was mounted to mark the hundredth anniversary of his employment in the Muzeum im. Mielżyńskich in Poznań, which falls in May 2014. Following the aim articulated in the title, it presents the achievement and legacy of Professor Kostrzewski’s, both as the initiator and author of the most recognizable excavations ever carried out in the history of Polish archaeology and a scholar of outstanding stature, and the originator of many initiatives in various areas of social life.

The exhibition consists of two sections. The first presents Józef Kostrzewski as perceived by his contemporaries, seen against the backdrop of historical events and illustrated by exhibits directly connected with Professor’s life, scientific achievement and wide-ranging social activities. By using authentic furniture, elements of excavation equipment and museum exhibition paraphernalia the interior design carries the visitors back in time to the first half of the 20th c. and allows a glimpse into the archaeologist’s workplace in field and study. The exhibits include numerous little known and hitherto inaccessible archive records and mementoes, for example his personal documents (identity card, student’s record book), school certificates and copybooks, various letters, notes, manuscripts of scientific papers and monographs, publications, degree diplomas and exclusive decorations. A unique archive document is the manuscript of the memoirs by Professor’s grandfather Józef Cichocki/Brońkański containing his diary from the November Uprising on loan from Biblioteka Kórnicka PAN. Another exceptional exhibit is the collection of the Kostrzewski family photographs, among them the album of Professor’s mother Elżbieta. The exhibits are accompanied by posters with archive photographs, prints and illustrations showing different events from Professor’s life, mounted in the aesthetic convention of the early 20th century.

The second section contains a strictly archaeological exposition. Deploying the state-of-the-art methods of exhibiting artefacts, it shows Professor Kostrzewski’s achievement and in particular the excavations he had conducted in Wielkopolska, Ziemia Lubuska and today’s Ukraine. The most spectacular artefcats are displayed in this section and include objects excavated in Biskupin, Łęki Małe, Przemęt-Przedmieście, Tarnowa and in Biały Potok in Podolia. There is also room for some “exotic” archaeology and artefacts from the far-away Americas obtained thanks to Professor’s efforts. The documentary background to the exhibited artefacts is a map with all sites at which Professor was excavating or which he had discovered after comprehensive surface surveys. The plastic design allows to see the Professor’s achievement and the attainments of Polish archaeology at the beginning of the 20th c. the with “our contemporary eyes”. One example is the artistic panneau presented here, made in the estampage technique by the painter Prof. Tomasz Siwiński of the Artistic University of Poznań. The exposition is completed with a film about Professor Kostrzewski produced by the University Film Studio, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań.

The exhibits displayed at the exhibition are permanently housed in the collections of Poznań Archaeological Museum, Muzeum Środkowego Nadodrza in Świdnica, the Archives of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), Poznań Branch, and Biblioteka Kórnicka of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Prof. Kostrzewski surrounded by archaeology fans, photo: Poznań Archaeological Museum archives