Szydłowiec has existed in my mind for a long time. A few kilometres from this town I spent every holiday in my childhood. As it always happens in such situations, I have never had the opportunity to visit it. It is time to change it, and the Museum of Folk Instruments was the first reason.
Location and access
Wanting to visit this place, we can kill two birds with one stone because the museum is located in the castle, which itself is an interesting object. Museum of Folk Instruments is located in Szydłowiec. It is a town located in the Masovian Province (near the border with Świętokrzyskie). We can get here by the expressway Kielce-Warsaw. There is a car park next to the museum, where you can leave your car. Szydłowiec is not a big city, so even a walk to the museum from the Market Square will not take much time.
The castle in which the museum is located is a former Gothic-Renaissance residence of the Szydłowiecki and Radziwiłł families. It was built in the years 1470-1480 in the place of the former castle. The building is surrounded by a moat and a park also called the Castle Garden.
The castle has an interesting Museum of Folk Instruments and the Szydłowiec Center for Culture and Sport. This second institution on the upper floor of the castle runs an exhibition about the past of Szydłowiec and the surrounding area. At the exhibition, we can find information and exhibits related to the local industry, war or the Jewish community.
Museum of Folk Instruments
But let’s go back to the museum itself. It is the only facility of this type in Poland. Although at first glance, the topic of the museum may not be very impressive, after watching the exhibition I felt curious about the subject. In addition, after seeing the temporary exhibition dedicated to the Sobieski family, who devoted their lives to studying folk music, the subject seemed even more interesting. We have various instruments on exhibition. We will find the ones that we already saw and those familiar to us. Instruments are professionally divided into 4 groups – idiophones, membranophones, chordophones and aerophones. We will also find several instruments that we can test.
The exhibits come from different parts of Poland. Their age is also diverse. In addition to professional names, eg. Aerophones proper reed we also have common names.
The museum was established in 1975 as a branch of the Świętokrzyski Museum in Kielce. A year later it became an independent institution. In 1977, the International Council for Folk Music of UNESCO recognized the Museum of Folk Instruments in Szydłowiec, the first museum in the world dedicated to folk instruments of a given country.
Being in Szydłowiec it is worth visiting a few more places. The first of these is the Jewish cemetery, which is considered one of the largest in Poland, and the text about it can be read here. It is also worth entering the town hall tower to view the panorama of the area and visit the nearby medieval church.
Short, one-day trips can surprise you. Small Polish towns still have a lot to show. We took a trip to Szydłowiec for half a day and it was a very nice time. Museum of Folk Instruments is definitely a good reason to visit this town.