The complex of buildings of the Silesian Museum, situated in the former Katowice coal mine, along with other institutions which are being built here will create the so-called Cultural District - the new centre of cultural life for the city. The coal mine "Katowice" operated from the third decade of the nineteenth century until the end of the last century. In total, about 120 million tons of coal were mined. Characteristic old buildings have remained of the mine, many of whom were built as early as the nineteenth century, and each individual building was given the features inspired by the Romanesque and Gothic styles. Currently, the mined area was adapted by the Silesian Museum for its new seat.
Modern structure, designed by the Austrian studio Riegler Riewe Architekten of Graz, was aimed at making the most of space beneath the surface of the ground, and intended to intrude as little as possible on the post-industrial landscape of the region. Most of the exhibitions will be located in underground halls and the historical landscape of the city is enriched merely by glass boxes which illuminate the interiors of the museum. Glass boxes allow visitors to see exhibitions in the daylight, even though they are located over 14 metres below ground level. The main part of the architectural complex of the Silesian Museum (T. Dobrowolskiego Street 1) is a seven-storey building, of which three storeys are underground. Level P-2 will host exhibitions of Polish painting 1800 - 1945, of Polish painting after 1945, and of Nonprofessional Art. Level P-4 will host the following exhibitions: History of Upper Silesia, Silesian Sacral Art, Centre for Polish Scenography and temporary exhibitions. Here is located the "Warszawa" hoist tower of the former pit shaft, on which a panoramic lift is mounted. There you can see the panorama of the city.
The Silesian Museum, foto: UMK
In the city center (Korfantego Avenue 3), there are temporary and permanent exhibitions: War Industry in Silesia in the 19thand 20th century and Fotoplastikon - 19thcentury in 3D. The Fotoplastikon – one of the most interesting exhibits of the Silesian Museum. The fotoplastikon in the Silesian Museum - one of the few surviving in Poland - comes from the late 19th century. It enables viewing stereoscopic photography, that is three-dimensional pictures. One can watch slides simultaneously at 24 stations and each slide can be illuminated by a separate source of light. It gives the viewer the incredible illusion of participating in the presented reality.
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