A new temporary exhibition from the 2nd of June 2023 to the 31st of May 2024.
About the exhibition
The “Childhood” exhibition will try to show contemporary viewers the scale of change in this field. It will present various shades of childhood that were and are experienced by different environments at different times.
The exhibition will be a reflection on who the child is – who it was and how it is treated by adults in particular spheres of life.
“All of us were children, some of us are witnesses and adult participants in the childhood of others. Therefore, the topic of our exhibition is nostalgic and universal. “Childhood” is an anthropological exhibition that culturally deconstructs a common phenomenon that is part of the life cycle of every human being. However, childhood can be different and determined by place of birth, gender and time. And it is not only sentimentality and nostalgia, but also differences and all the shades of grey that are the subject of the story we tell in the Museum” – Robert Zydel, Director of the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw.
Heroes of the exhibition
In the exhibition you will have the opportunity to meet 6 heroines and heroes, children born evenly every 30 years from the end of the 1800s to the beginning of this century.
These characters have biographies typical of their times, but they are not universal, because each childhood is unique – like life in general. Variables such as time and place of birth, social status and wealth, or health conditions mean that there is no such thing as a standard childhood, even within one generation.
Nevertheless, following the fate of Hania, Janek, Andrzej, Magda, Kuba and Julka, it is easy to notice that the child’s position in the family and society underwent a radical change over the course of several decades – the child gains subjectivity. These changes can be noticed by observing other important areas of children’s lives, such as pleasures, responsibilities and independence.
The exhibition can be experienced in two ways: by following each of the characters in turn or by following the individual thematic categories: presence, care, duty, fun and autonomy.
Curators of the exhibition
Agnieszka Grabowska – ethnologist and museologist, graduate of the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Łódź and the Postgraduate Museum Studies of the Institute of Art History of the University of Warsaw. Since 2004, she has been professionally associated with the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, where she takes care of the Collection of Textiles and Folk Costumes. Author of children’s activities and ethnographic articles. Co-author of the catalogue of the collections of the National Ethnographic Museum entitled “Childhood”. Member of the Polish Ethnological Society and the Witold Dynowski Ethnographic Studio Association.
Małgorzata Kunecka – ethnologist and museologist, graduate of the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Warsaw and the Postgraduate Museum Studies of the Institute of Art History of the University of Warsaw. Since 2006, she has been professionally associated with the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, where she takes care of the Folklore Collection. Author of the children’s book “Christmas Customs in Poland” and articles as well as children’s activities on ethnographic topics, in collaboration with the Children’s Health Centre. Co-author of the catalog of the collections of the National Ethnographic Museum entitled “Childhood”. Since 2011, he has been editing the website www.strojeludowe.net. She is a member of the Polish Ethnological Society and the Witold Dynowski Ethnographic Studio Association.
English audio guide link
Graphic design: Studio Elipsy.