The global boom in new museums: the example of Poland


Elisabeth Murdoch Lecture Theatre, Elisabeth Murdoch (Building 134), Parkville campus, The University of Melbourne


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Jacqueline Doyle

T: +61 3 8344 3785

The beginning of the 21st century in Poland marked the beginning of a museum boom that has been ongoing ever since. New museums are being built and established - especially art, historical and city museums, but also art centres, science centres, and galleries - all contributing to the growing ecosystem of cultural institutions. Poland is making up for time lost during the period under Communism when such institutions were not created at all, and existing institutions were neither modernised nor expanded to meet new needs, challenges and expectations. Today Poland is literally filling up with museums, and not only in terms of new infrastructure. New methods of management, and new approaches to the public, are being implemented. However, this great influx of new institutions generates questions: Isn’t it all too much? Do we, indeed, need so many museums in Poland? Or do we need more?

Short biography

Katarzyna JagodzinskaDr Katarzyna Jagodzińska is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków (Poland), and Chief Specialist at the Research Institute of European Heritage, International Cultural Centre in Kraków. She is an expert in museum studies and cultural heritage. Her first book, Czas muzeów w Europie Środkowej. Muzea i centra sztuki współczesnej (1989-2014) [The Museum Age in Central Europe. Museums and Centres of Contemporary Art (1989–2014)] (Kraków, 2014) was the first study of this important phenomenon. Her next book discussed museums in Australia, Art Museums in Australia (Kraków, 2017), and two books which are due in 2019 continue the subject of Central European museums,Nowe miejsca nowej sztuki w Europie Środkowej [New Places for New Art in Central Europe](Kraków), and Museums and Centres of Contemporary Art in Central Europe after 1989 (Routledge). She is the author of a number of research articles on museums and art. Fellow in the Australian Institute of Art History, University of Melbourne, granted by the Group of Eight in 2014/2015.

Dr Katarzyna Jagodzińska's visit to Australia has been organised jointly by the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs and the Australian Institute of Art History, The University of Melbourne.

Image credit: Museum on the Vistula (Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw). Photo by Good Looking Studio.

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