Jewish Heritage Europe

Warsaw Museum seeks more operational funding; opening expected in Fall 2014

Museum Entrance. Photo © Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The Virtual Shtetl portal reports that the Museum of the History of Polish Jews has exceeded its budget and is seeking more operational funding from the state and the city of Warsaw. The report says that the opening of the permanent core exhibition (whose development has, in fact, been fully funded) has been pushed back to the Autumn of 2014, though no date has been announced.

The current finances of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews come from two donations worth five million Polish zlotys each. These donations are granted by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Warsaw City Hall. However, at the session of the Polish Sejm Commission for Culture and Media which was held on 25 September 2014, Andrzej Cudak, Director of the Museum, assured that measures would be taken to significantly expand the current resources of the Museum. This expansion is because the Museum has exceeded the budget despite extra donations from the Ministry (PLN five hundred thousand) and from the City Hall (PLN three hundred thousand). A grant worth three million euros assigned to the Museum for the next years by Norway funds slightly improve the situation. Yet, this grant can be allocated only for educational activities.


(There are approximately three zlotys to the dollar and four zlotys to the euro.)

The museum’s striking building opened in April of this year, without its permanent core exhibition. It currently hosts a roster of cultural and educational activities as well as temporary exhibits.

Virtual Shtetl writes that:

The building’s maintenance and operation yearly cost is around five million zlotys per annum, while the payroll for the Museum’s staff is seven million. The opening of the core exhibition portraying the history of Polish Jews from the Middle Ages to this day has been scheduled for the Fall of 2014. Its organization plus temporary exhibitions along with the publication of the catalogue and hiring exhibition guides, the launching of a new Internet portal and the organization of an international scholarly conference which will highlight the opening add an extra three million zlotys to the current budget. The Museum’s revenues are PLN 450 thousand from the lease of the museum’s space for various events, and PLN 350 thousand from ticket sales. Therefore, Director Cudak desires to expand the budget with PLN eight million, four million from the Ministry and another four from the City Hall in Warsaw.  


Read the full Virtual Shtetl article

See statement on the Sejm web site

See article in Gazeta Wyborcza

On October 4, the Museum issued a statement saying that the core exhibit will be ready in June 2014 — but it did not give a date for the official opening.

Warsaw, Poland – The production and installation of the Core Exhibition of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews is proceeding according to schedule. The completion date is mid-June 2014. The Core Exhibition budget was secured as early as 2012 by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland thanks to the support of donors from around the world. The funds, amounting to 140 million PLN (ca. $ 47 million), covers the full cost of the production and installation of the exhibition. The Polish authorities are about to set a date for the official Grand Opening of the Museum, an event of international importance.

The installation of the Core Exhibition was delayed by few months due to technical difficulties related to the completion and adaptation of the building to the needs of the exhibition.

Due to the high profile of the Grand Opening, the date is being set by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in cooperation with the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews is the largest public-private partnership venture in the Polish cultural sector. The Museum’s public founders – the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the City of Warsaw – financed the construction and outfitting of the building (circa 180 million PLN / ca. $ 60 million).Together, they also disburse an annual subsidy covering most of the Museum’s operating budget. The non-governmental founding partner – the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland – finances the Core Exhibition as well as institution’s program activities thanks to the support from donors from all over the world.

To ensure financing for its cultural and educational programs and in light of the official Grand Opening planned for 2014, the Museum is currently advocating for an increase of the 2014 public subsidy by 8 million PLN (ca. $ 2,7 million). These efforts have been discussed in several forums, most recently during a session of the Sejm (Parliament) Culture and Media Committee on September 25, 2013. It should be emphasized, however, that the Museum’s efforts to obtain a higher public subsidy have no bearing on the completion and installation of the Core Exhibition.




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