Wystawa starożytności i zabytków sztuki w Krakowie w 1858 roku. Z „Dziennika” Aleksandry Czechówny

Bożena Lesiak-Przybył


Aleksandra Apolonia Czechówna (1839–1923) was a daughter of Tomasz Czech and Aleksandra née Zielińska. Her Diary of the entire life... written for 65 years (1856–1923) without almost any breaks is kept in National Archives in Cracow, reference number 29/428/1–29/428/44 (previous reference numbers IT 428/1–428/44). It is an excellent source depicting cultural, social and moral life in the city of Cracow in the second half of the 19th century and during the first two decades of the 20th century as it includes the accounts of the author’s everyday life as well as the information about the celebrations, national ceremonies or the jubilees of the meritorious people. The passage presented below comes from the successive two volumes of Aleksandra Czechówna’s Diary, volume 4 and volume 5. It includes the entries in which the author describes the exhibition of the antiquities which she visited. Organised by the Cracow Scientific Society in September 1858, the exhibition of antiquities and art monuments became a big cultural event, not only for Cracow but also for the entire partitioned country. It gained unabated interest of the local public, but also of the fellow – countrymen coming from abroad. Initially, the visitors had access to the hall and three rooms on the first floor. As more and more exhibits were being brought, gradually more rooms were being opened. Eventually the exhibition was held in six rooms and a large vestibule. It was also decided to prolong it – till the 8th of January 1859. At that time Aleksandra Czechówna was almost 19. Together with her sister Izabela she participated in Cracow’s social and cultural life. Thus, it does not come as a surprise that Aleksandra and her family visited the exhibition of antiquities. She saw the exhibition twice. For the first time just after its opening and then, when it was enriched with new objects, right before its closing.