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The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland', located on the ground floor of the Main Building of the National Museum in Krakow, is the second largest exhibition in Poland – after Warsaw's Polish Army Museum – presenting early militaria. The space of over 1200 square metres offers a display of more than 2,000 exhibits associated with the early military from the Middle Ages to World War II.

Visitors can admire beautiful examples of arts and crafts as well as memorabilia of great events and characters so important for Polish history: Stefan Czarniecki's horse tack, Stanisław Jabłonowski's scale-armour (karacena) and pure gold mace as well as the only preserved hetman's sign which once belonged to Hieronim Lubomirski.

The Gallery features memorabilia of Polish commanders: Tadeusz Kościuszko's sukmana coat, the star of Prince Józef Poniatowski's War Order of Virtuti Militari or Józef Piłsudski's uniform jacket.


The display also features rare collections of Polish swords, hussar armour and weapons, Polish badges and distinctions as well as a unique collection of Polish uniforms from the 18th to the 20th century. Fans of early technical curios will be interested in shooting clubs with integrated pistol mechanism, shotguns with multiple barrels or knives with forked blades, which were used for breaking rapiers.

The exhibition is accompanied by a programme titled „Touch the History”. A few selected places in the Gallery offer designated points where visitors can touch or even try on specially prepared exhibits: old helmets, swords or a legionnaire uniform dating back to the First World War.

The Museum and Gallery is also home to the Association of Old Arms and Uniforms Amateurs, which has promoted knowledge about early militaria for the last fifty years. Compilations of valuable and innovative research in the field of weaponry are published in Studia do Dziejów Dawnego Uzbrojenia i Ubioru Wojskowego [Studies for the History of Early Arms and Military Dress], published by the Museum in cooperation with the Association.

The Main Building

al. 3 Maja 1 first floor
  • Monday: closed
  • Tues - Sat: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
Helmet and shield made in Persia at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries
Striking with their exotic appearance, these are examples of the blacksmith's masterly skills, which in that period compelled admiration around the world. / photo by Jacek Świderski - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
So-called "calendar" hunting chopper, made by the Munich master Ambrosius Gemlich
The blade bears an etched and gilt calendar for the year 1528. An extremely interesting example of the practical use of decorative parade weapons in the 16th century. / photo by Jacek Świderski - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
A double wheel-lock pistol made in Germany c. 1615
Although the so-called wheel-lock technology was slowly becoming a thing of the past, placing as many as two mechanisms in the small and beautifully decorated stock testified to the outstanding technical skills of the gunsmith. / photo by Jacek Świderski - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
A double wheel-lock pistol made in Germany c. 1615
The cocks of wheel-locks, whose job it was to hold the flint needed to strike sparks in order to cause ignition, were decorated with a pattern of carp scales, reminiscent of legendary dragons. / photo by Jacek Świderski - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
Persian battle-axe depicting Ali and his sons
Used by the dervishes, today it constitutes one of the most beautiful Persian objects in the collections of the National Museum in Krakow. / photo by Jacek Świderski - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
Iron heads of Persian spears (today's Iran) dating back to the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, made of the famous Damascus steel
The silver decoration additionally contrasts with the dark grey colour of the wide pointed tips. / photo by Paweł Czernicki - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
Persian and Indo-Persian weaponry consisting of a shield , two knives and a steel mace studded with sharp spikes.
The impressive gold and silver ornamentation implies a festive purpose of this fearsome weapon. / photo by Paweł Czernicki - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
Caucasian knives, so-called kama, dating back to the mid-20th century
Distinctive traditional weapons of the Circassians, Shapsugs and Georgians. Blades of this type also became popular in the Russian army as well as in Turkey and Persia. / photo by Paweł Czernicki - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
Nepalese ceremonial swords: ram-dao and kora
Used in temples mostly to offer animal sacrifices, these are some of the most interesting examples of ethnographic weapons preserved in museums. / photo by Paweł Czernicki - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
Karabela sabre presented to Prince Adam Sapieha in 1868
Decorated with the coats of arms of landowning families residing in Borderlands, this is one of the most beautiful swords in Polish collections. / photo by Paweł Czernicki - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
Cartridge-pouch formerly belonging to General Józef August Iliński in the years 1792-1794
Although he contributed to the release of Polish political prisoners (including Tadeusz Kościuszko) from Russian prisons, he was regarded as a traitor due to his acceptance of Russian general's title and honors during the Polish struggle for independence. / photo by Paweł Czernicki - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
Hussar breastplate dating back to the mid-17th century
Steel protection of the most famous Polish cavalry, decorated with characteristic brass trimmings whose design was based on folk art. / photo by Paweł Czernicki - Photography Studio, NMK
Militaria in the NMK collections
Militaria in the NMK collections
Militaria in the NMK collections
Militaria in the NMK collections
Militaria in the NMK collections
Militaria in the NMK collections
Militaria in the NMK collections
Militaria in the NMK collections
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
The Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms in Poland'
Militaria in the NMK collections
Militaria in the NMK collections

Accompanying publications

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