When one ponders about the human history of mankind or any particular nation what usually comes to mind are the conflicts, kings and rulers, palaces or historic towns. Only after you start to learn about the everyday lives throughout the time, the struggles that people faced and how their societies developed. Little thought, however, is usually given to one of the major factors that help push both people and countries forward and that is the means of transport. In Poland most of the automotive museums are privately owned and a Polish travel agency ITS Poland shares some of their favourites.
The first bunch
Unlike most museums that collect pieces of art and relicts of the past cars and other means of transportation usually do not get the same level of attention. It was no different in Poland until not so long ago, says the Polish travel agency ITS Poland. Under the communist rule the choice of motor vehicles was rather limited and both domestic and other manufacturers of the soviet block could not offer decent quality either. As a result, when the Polish people had a chance to buy any western imports, they did not care much for the cars built locally. Throughout the years most of them were scrapped or left to rot and those remaining were worth close to nothing. Not too many of them survived to this day and once that did, often require serious restoration. However, not everyone saw things that way. Private collectors devoted their own time and resources into saving the Polish automotive heritage and with time transformed their collections into museums. Possibly one of the very first such museums was created in Poznań in 1983, however, the idea to rescue classic cars hovered in the heads of its founders since 1970’s. Today, Muzeum Motoryzacji (Eng. Automotive Museum) in Poznań offers a vast collection of cars, motorcycles and bicycles from all over the world divided into various themed exhibitions. Another pioneering museum is Muzeum Motoryzacji i Techniki in Otrębusy (Eng. Automotive and Technology Museum) dating back to 1995, however, as a private collection it goes well back to the 1980’s. An amazing collection of more than 300 exhibits of cars, motorcycles, bicycles and other memorabilia is quite impressive. Most of the vehicles are in perfect running condition and as such are often rented out for various TV and film productions.
Follow from home
With all the difficulties that we are facing in the world at the moment and virtually everything taking place on-line there are some museums that take their work concept slightly differently. Besides regular collections readily available for all wishing to visit the museum, their social platforms and on-line video sharing services are filled with insights of their everyday work. You will have a chance to witness for yourself and virtually partake in the restoration works or follow the staff members on their hunt for new exhibits. Among such museums are Muzeum Polskiej Motoryzacji XX Wieku Polska na Kołach (Eng. Polish Automotive Museum of 20th Century “Poland on Wheels”) focusing on solely Polish cars, motorcycles, lorries and buses and Muzeum Skarb Narodu (Eng. National Treasure Museum) with their display of cars mainly built in Poland based in the former FSO car manufacturing plant. Both museums with their extensive collections will help you travel back in time to see what Polish streets used to look like.
Apart from the museums listed above there is a number of other collections that vary in size. Some are rather small, others diverse and those with the automotive element being a part of a bigger theme. When travelling in the Gdańsk area you may want to pay a visit to Gdyńskie Muzeum Motoryzacji (Eng. Automotive Museum in Gdynia) and admire over 200 exhibits of motor vehicles, most of which are motorcycles. The building itself is rather spectacular too – styled to resemble a local street in 1920’s. Another unique museum is located just outside Wrocław in a beautiful setting of the Topacz Castle that now serves as a hotel, conference centre, SPA and an automotive museum. The charming surroundings and over 130 meticulously restored classics will leave you flabbergasted. Naturally, there are some other examples such as a museum devoted entirely to Volkswagen cars or an open-air exhibition of STAR lorries scattered across the city of Starachowice. Each is equally captivating and worth your while.
Buckle up and head out
Undoubtedly, the means of transport have had a tremendous impact on the development of our world and our societies. Today, this precious, yet often unappreciated, history stand before you. Automotive museums offer an insight into our past, regardless whether you are visiting out of curiosity or are captivated by the beauty of a classic design. Feel free to reach to ITS Poland – the Polish travel agency that will help you plan your tour of the best automotive museums in Poland.