Grudzień, 2021

Catalogue or Guidebook? Izabela Czartoryska’s Poczet pamiątek zachowanych w Domu gotyckim w Puławach (Collection of Memorabilia Preserved in the Gothic House in Puławy)

Autor: Dominik Ziarkowski

The 19th century was a period which was characterized by a strong interest in the cultural heritage, art collection, documentation of historical monuments and their protection. At the same time, tourism had developed an a so far unprecedented scale and one of the most important magnets which attracted tourists were historical cities, monuments and museums. This fusion between cultural heritage and tourism is perfectly well visible in the 19th century tourist guidebooks. The authors and publishers of these publications, including such well-known personages as Karl Baedeker and John Murray, attached great importance to the descriptions of the cultural attractions of the individual countries, cities and areas.

On Polish territories, the fascination with the monuments of the past revealed itself, primarily within the framework of historical research, and also in the organization of exhibitions, compiling lists and inventories of monuments and the popularization of knowledge about the latter, among others through publications appearing in the contemporary press as well as in travel guides. The interest in the cultural heritage was strongly rooted in national history and patriotic sentiment, as in the period under discussion, Poland was deprived of its own statehood which it had lost in the aftermath of the partitions carried out in the course of the latter half of the 18th century. In the year 1801, the oldest Polish museum which was open to the public had been founded in Puławy. Its foundress, Princess Izabela Czartoryska, catalogued her own collections herself and in the year 1828, she published a book entitled Poczet pamiątek zachowanych w Domu Gotyckim w Puławach (Collection of Memorabilia Preserved in the Gothic House in Puławy). In the article, an analysis of this publication was carried out which revealed its links both with catalogues of museum collections that had arisen at a similar time, as well as with tourist guidebooks. It seems that Princess Izabela’s publication, which without a doubt occupies an important place in the history of Polish museology, could have successfully fulfilled both these functions.