Ethnographic objects are not intimidating; rather, they reduce distance. By recalling stories about everyday people, they become closer to us, more understandable, human. That’s why you can begin your visit to the permanent exhibit in any place, choosing a specific object that speaks to you as a starting point. For example, this could be the small chairs built from pieces of wood and branches, an illiterate farmer’s unusual prayer book, painted with imitations of letters, the beautiful button-studded corset of a Krakowian woman, the delicate painted egg from an Orthodox monastery or the distaff offered to a bachelor’s chosen one.
The objects displayed in the permanent exhibition are unique. Here you will not find two identical tools, or painted eggs or flowers in the Kraków Room. These objects were not produced on an assembly line, but rather were created by human hands – for example, a small wild strawberry basket made of spruce bark and the long trembita, an instrument used for communicating in the high mountain pastures of the Carpathians.
One’s eye is drawn to everyday objects like the clay container used for feeding babies or a pair of woolen gloves with frayed fringes, as well as things associated with holidays: intricately-made Christmas decorations, Easter maszkary (monsters) – Wet Monday tricksters and the oldest existing Kraków nativity scene, created by Michał Ezenekier.
Human objects are also objects made for people: they have to be both practical and aesthetically appealing. Engraved woodcut ornamentation on furniture, spoons, scoops, crafting tools; printed patterns for fabrics by the famous dye factory in Muszyna, an array of colours used for both the delicate and rough, thin and thick fabrics of folk costumes, exquisite embroideries, murals, worlds carefully cut into wafers – all of these are creations of the human imagination, motivated by the need to beautify one’s immediate surroundings.