• Katowice: Museum of History

A couple of hundred yards from the Szymanowski Academy of Music is the Museum of Katowice History, housed in an upmarket block of flats built in 1908, just a few years after the inauguration of the original building of the Academy.
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The visitor is greeted by Tomasz Wenklar’s lifesize statue of Witkacy, the multi-faceted creative genius and friend of Szymanowski, casually if incongruously resting his hand on a electricity junction box by the main entrance.
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Further along, is a statue (2011) by the late Piotr Szmytke.  The title – Moorem głowy nie przebijesz – refers to the Polish equivalent of not hitting your head against a brick wall and replaces the correct form of the word for wall (murem) with a certain British sculptor.
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The jewels of the museum are two reconstructed apartments, one typical of a modest household, the other evidently more wealthy.  I was particularly taken in the main room of the latter by the conceit (apparently popular in a city even then with few parks) of placing an elaborate glassed screen, lit by natural light from the bay window, between which plants would be placed to give the illusion of a green outdoors.
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Elsewhere, there were the obligatory keyboard, a fine ceramic-tiled corner stove, other heating devices, an extremely broad family bed, an impressive array of receptacles for ablutions etc. and an electric bell-board.
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(30.04.16) William Hughes has alerted me to the interactive panorama of five rooms in this apartment.  It is on the museum website: www.mhk.katowice.pl/virtual/all_in_one/index.html.

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