Found in buzzing Kazimierz’s former town hall—itself a creamy-hued Renaissance masterpiece—Krakow’s superb Ethnographic Museum (Muzeum Etnograficzne) should be on everyone’s itinerary. The museum covers the history and culture of rustic Poland through the ages, with detailed reconstructions of 19th-century peasant rooms, schoolrooms and rural kitchens. The museum also has a fine collection of traditional musical instruments, colorful folk costumes and day-to-day utensils used in leather making, wood carving and farming. The highlight of a visit, however, is the display of ornately decorated Nativity cribs called szopki, which are traditionally painted red, green and gold and resemble multi-tiered Orthodox churches.
New permanent exhibitions are being curated, including displays on traditional Polish rituals such as the painting of Easter eggs and the delicate folding of paper flowers; another recent addition on the second floor of the museum contain more than 300 pieces of art spanning the last five centuries. A separate gallery for temporary exhibitions is found at Ulica Krakowska 46, which recently hosted an in-depth exploration of the customs and traditions of Polish weddings.
The Ethnographic Museum of Krakow is located a 20-minute walk from the city's Old Town, at Plac Wolnica 1. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 7pm, and is closed Monday.
Admission is 13 PLN for adults; 7 PLN for students and seniors; and 23 PLN for families. Visit the Ethnographic Museum for free with a Krakow museum and transport pass, which includes unlimited public transportation and admission to the city's top museums, like Rynek Underground and Oskar Schindler's Factory.
The museum is accessible by public transport, taking tram 6, 8, 10 or 13 to Ulica Wawrzyńca.