THE HISTORY OF THE MUSEUM OF PAPERMAKING

The Museum of Papermaking in Duszniki Zdrój is the only one in Poland, professionally run museum dealing with the broadly conceived paper and papermaking subject. It collects, processes and makes available the collections on the history of papermaking, painting and the history of the town Duszniki Zdrój. It also actively takes its interest in paper art which is reflected in the cooperation with paper artists. Moreover, more and more popularity is gained by the educational offer and scientific and research activities of the Museum. Extensive collections, the unique in Poland book collection on the history of papermaking as well as the employees interests and achievements, contribute greatly to the successful image of the Museum; in the prestigious competition organised by the Ministry of Culture Wydarzenie muzealne roku (Museum Event of the Year), the Museum won as many as 6 awards and distinctions, including the grand prix in 1998. It was awarded Dolnośląski Klucz Sukcesu for 2001 for the best cultural institution. The Museum is continuously involved in the international cooperation, and the proof of the wide international recognition for the Museum came when it was appointed as the organizer of the international congresses of paper artists (JAPMA) in 2001 and International Association of Paper Historians (IPH) in 2004 - events which, for the first time in history, were held in a East European Country. In 2004 the Museum qualified to the finals of the European Museum of the Year competition.

After World War II Duszniki Zdrój were included within the Polish border. The Plenipotentiary for the Polish Government, in order to secure the paper mill, subordinated it to the nearest paper mill in Młynów near Kłodzko. The Director started the reconstruction works aiming at launching paper production as soon as possible. However, his death put an end to consecutive works. The building was left unattended for several years to come, deteriorating, with the leaking roof and people stealing and causing damage to the equipment. In 1953 the town authorities paid attention to the huge, deteriorating paper mill. It took several years to draw attention of potential allies to the idea of having the mill preserved and reconstructed as the technical monument. There were several options to choose from: from turning the building into a fruit storage place to complete demolition

In the meantime the paper mill won a lot of supporters, including those most significant ones. In 1962 the Voivodeship Conservator obtained funds for temporary conservation. The wooden shingles on the roof were replaced, new boarding was installed. The renovation took four years.

On January 24, 1966 the Vice Minister of Culture and Art arrived at Duszniki Zdrój, visited the paper mill land held a conference with the representatives of voivodeship, poviat and town authorities, suggesting having the museum of papermaking and production of paper within the department of forestry and timber industry. The suggestion was accepted by the Ministry of Forestry and Timber Industry and as soon as January 26, 1966 the agreement was signed. The Ministry of Forestry contracted Zjednoczenie Przemysłu Celulozowo-Papierniczego in Łódź to carry out the project. On March 31, 1966, after the temporary reconstruction the Voivodeship Conservator officially presented the Paper Mill to the paper industry subordinate of Bardeckie Zakłady Celulozowo-Papiernicze in Bardo Śląskie, and then the activities started to have the museum of papermaking in the paper mill. The manager of the historic paper mill was Mr Jan Michał Kowalski. The technical matters were dealt with by Biuro Projektów Przemysłu Papierniczego in Łódź, and the execution was carried out by the skilled workers from paper plants. The decorations were designed by the best artists: prof. Stanisław Zamecznik, prof. Witold Chomicz and prof. Zygmunt Acedański.

The word on constructing the museum of papermaking was spread on the radio and in newspapers which made factories, institutions and private donors donate numerous artefacts. First gifts and transfers included: carved matrix for painting wallpaper (flat and rounded) from Gnaszyn, moulds and portraits of paper makers from town authorities, models of papermaking machines from Krapkowice and Jelenia Góra, paper pressing machines, furniture, show cases. Also hand made paper was donated. The renowned paper maker from Jeziorna near Warsaw, Mr Teodor Chojnowski, completed and renovated the equipment necessary to start paper production in the paper mill in Duszniki Zdrój. It took common effort of Polish paper masters and history lovers to create the living museum in Duszniki Zdrój, the museum which collected the exhibits of past paper technology and papermaking. On July 26, 1968 the Minister of Forestry and Timber Industry Mr Roman Gesing officially unveiled the first stage of the Museum of Papermaking [photo 07].

The works, however, continued on reconstruction and adaptation. In 1971 the production of paper on show was launched, in 1974 the typographic printing room was opened and two years later the new exposition of products of the Polish paper industry.

In the years 1984-2005 the manageress of the Museum was Mrs Bożena Schweizer-Makowska.

Till the end of 1991 the Museum was subordinated to Bardeckie Zakłady Papiernicze. Since January 1st, 1992, by the management's efforts, it has been the independent cultural institution reporting to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Three years later, following the reform, the organizer of the Museum was the Ministry of Economy.

After gaining independence in 1992, there appeared possibility of professional organisation of the Museum  the following departments came into life: the Departments of the History of Papermaking and Contemporary Papermaking, the Didactic Department and the Library. The reconstructed paper mill accommodated newly rearranged permanent exhibitions. In 1997 the new exhibition was created on the History of the World, Polish and Silesian Papermaking (script by Józef Dąbrowski, cooperation - Teresa Windyka). In 1998 - The History of Techniques and Technology of Papermaking (script by Maciej Szymczyk). The artistic arrangement for both exhibition was designed by Bożena Makowska, and the designs were carried out by Marek Mikulski [photo 08].

On July 23, 1998 the Museum of Papermaking suffered a great loss in the flood that only lasted several hours. Thanks to the enormous efforts of the Museum staff and the financial assistance from the Polish government, paper factories and plants as well as countless organizations and private donors, the results of the disastrous flood were gradually removed. The post-flood reconstruction was completed in 2003 with the realization of the park and garden.

On January 1, 1999 the Museum of Papermaking was transferred from the Ministry of Economy to the Marshal Office in Wrocław.

Presently, the Museum is one of the most important tourist attractions in the Kłodzko Land - the attendance exceeds about 70 thousand visitors a year.

Translation: Aneta Ożga

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