The January Uprising, the 160th anniversary of which we are celebrating this year, has become an important element of the Long Night of Museums 2023 at the Sybir Memorial Museum. It could not be otherwise, since so many participants of that uprising were sent to Siberia as part of the repression. We talk about it at our permanent exhibition, we show memorabilia of exiles. Everyone who entered the exhibition today found out about it — and there were as many as 1,836 people!
The line to the entrance reached our fence before 6:00 p.m., and with the advent of twilight it got even longer! However, standing in the line was not boring — the reenactors from the Museum of the 2nd Polish Corps in Józefów took care of it.
They presented — on the occasion of the anniversary of the uprising — the realities of 1863 on the stands set up in front of the Museum. There were reconstructions of outfits, everyday objects from the era and weapons — including an authentic one-pound cannon of the tsarist army, captured near Mińsk Mazowiecki. As the director of The Museum of the Polish Second Corps in Józefów said — it is probably the only copy in Poland that can still fire a 40-millimeter bullet.
Smaller caliber weapons were also present. Again and again, the reenactors showed the capabilities of the six-shot Colt Texas pistol to people standing in line. “These colts were bought by the January insurgents… from tsarist officers” — said the reenactor.
The youngest not only willingly took advantage of the opportunity to pose for photographs in old clothes, but above all — they learned about Siberian nature during art activities and wandering around the taiga thanks to virtual reality goggles. These attractions prepared by our museum educators, giving you an idea of what educational activities at the Sybir Memorial Museum look like.
As the Long Night of Museums is long overdue for the use of the game of light and darkness, we proposed an extraordinary show on the facade of our museum. From 8:00 p.m. to midnight, from the Street Poleska, you could see how Artur Grottger’s famous series of engravings “Polonia” come to life.
The artist made them in the year of the Uprising, in 1863. He wanted to take part in the fights, but friends dissuaded him from it, having regard to poor health of the artist and the fact that he was the sole supporter of his mother and sister. The painter’s younger brother joined the uprising — and in 1864 he was sent to Siberia for it…
Until midnight, there was no shortage of people willing to visit our exhibition. For the sake of safety of our guests, we introduced them in groups, every few minutes. Thanks to it, everyone could comfortably and at their own pace see the exhibition. The first group of guests got a big surprise: a guided tour of the exhibition by the director of the Museum, Professor Wojciech Śleszyński.
Moreover, at the end — the publication by the historian about the origins of the Russian-Ukrainian war, so “War in Ukraine and the Idea of the Russian Order”.
The last visitor, 1836, was welcomed with a set of museum publications.
We were very pleased to hear positive opinions shared by guests on an ongoing basis while leaving the Museum, especially about this year’s organization of the Long Night of Museums at Węglowa 1. Our efforts were appreciated so as many people as possible could see our exhibition and spend this long evening in an interesting way time in the environment of the museum.
We would like to thank everyone who visited us during the Long Night of Museums 2023!
Tomorrow, Sunday, May 14, the Sybir Memorial Museum will be open as every Sunday — from 9.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. You’re welcome!
The official sponsor of the Long Night of Museums 2023 at the Sybir Memorial Museum was the PGE Obrót SA.