POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw with children
The Museum is located in the Muranów district (part of Śródmieście and Wola) which in the interwar times (1918 – 1939) was mainly inhabited by the Jewish people. In Warsaw, in 1939 there were 375,000 Jews, 30% of the city’s population. At that time only New Your City had a bigger Jewish diaspora with 1,600,000 Jewish residents in 1920.
The Museum gives a unique opportunity not only to discover the history of Jewish people in Warsaw and Poland (in Poland in 1939 there were over 3 million Jews, 9.14% of the total population). It also helps to understand the Jewish community itself, its culture and migration patterns all over Europe.
There is available an audio guide dedicated to families (children aged 6-12). Audio guides for families are available in Polish and English. The tour with audio guides for families is shorter, it lasts about 1 hour. It’s nice for parents to rent the same, family audio guide for themselves (not the adult version) as the audio guide will guide them and the kids along the same route and the whole family will have the same stops on tour.
Photo source: M.STAROWIEYSKA_D.GOLIK / MUZEUM HISTORII ŻYDÓW POLSKICH POLIN
The Core Exhibition (opened in 2014) covers 1000 years of the history of Polish Jews, starting from the Middle Ages, divided into 8 galleries. The first gallery that introduces the visitors to the exhibition is called the Forest (Las) and is the most metaphorical. You can learn there why the Museum is called POLIN.
The next galleries cover chronologically certain periods of time, starting from the First Encounters (960–1500), ending with the Postwar Years (1944 to the present).
The Polin Museum is the newest museum in Warsaw, with a modern exhibition including interactive reconstructions, models, installations, lots of video projections – all very attractive for kids as well. Children can learn a lot since they can touch almost anything.
The tour was developed in a way that allows visitors with children to skip the 7th gallery – Holocaust (1939–1945). After leaving the 6th gallery – a very interesting one: On the Jewish Street (1918–1939) – you can either turn left and enter the Holocaust gallery or turn right and leave the exhibition.
The Museum recommends not visiting the Holocaust gallery with children below 12. Mostly due to its difficult subject matter, the artifacts are not visually drastic (compared to the Auschwitz Museum).
In the Museum there is a kids-dedicated space called King Matt’s Family Education Area.
The name comes from the children’s book title: King Matt the First (Polish: Król Maciuś Pierwszy) by Janusz Korczak, a Warsaw Jewish pediatrician, children educator, director of the orphanage in pre-war Warsaw.
It’s a colorful space with lots of educational materials and toys, including a nice seating area for parents. Kids can just play or draw, paint, read books from the library, etc.
To see the current program and opening hours for a given weekend, visit the website: https://www.polin.pl/pl/najblizszy-tydzien-u-krola-maciusia.
There is a restaurant in the Museum building. Website in Polish and English.
The Museum Store offers quite a large selection of souvenirs – not only Museum-related but also souvenirs from Warsaw and Poland.
Why are there so many daffodils in Warsaw in April?
April 19 – Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (1943) and the Daffodils Campaign
The major celebrations of the anniversary of the uprising in the Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Warsaw are held each year at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes and POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. POLIN Museum created the Daffodils (żonkile) Campaign to commemorate the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Every year on April 19th, hundreds of volunteers hand out paper daffodils to raise awareness of the uprising and its significance (Marek Edelman, the last leader of the Uprising, before his death in 2009, used to lay daffodils at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes every anniversary).