The museum of Warsaw history was founded in 1936. It was located in one of the most attractive places of the Polish capital - on the Old Market Square. The buildings that housed the museum used to belong to Polish merchants families. During the World War II the museum shared the fate of the Old City of Warsaw and was completely destroyed.
After Poland's liberation, the Historical museum was created again and established in eleven tenements - houses on the Old Market Square. Restoration works allowed to preserve the beauty of the Renaissance facades, vaults, staircases and interiors. In 1946 the museum didn't have any collection, as all the exhibits that were on display and in store-rooms were destroyed during the war. It was necessary to start the collection from the very beginning. Some items were acquired as deposits from the other museums, especially from the National museum of Warsaw. Many donations were made by individuals.
The first exhibition of the Historical Museum of Warsaw was opened for the public in 1955. Later the exposition was updated several times as a result of research, and it continues to be supplemented until today.
Nowadays the museum exposition is presented in 60 rooms. One of the permanent exhibitions is called "The seven centuries of Warsaw" and presents the history of the city, including its foundation, development through the centuries, its destruction in 1944 and rehabilitation after the end of the war. The exposition shows the objects of arts and crafts, familiarize the guests with customs and traditions of the citizens of Warsaw of different epochs, presents the economic life and industrial development of the city. Among the exhibits of the museum there are clothes, furniture, utensils, jewelry and other objects of everyday life. Reconstructed interiors represent the houses of Warsaw inhabitants of different epochs. One of the rooms of the museum is dedicated to Warsaw views, beginning from the 19th century woodcuts, engraving and paintings to modern professional photographs, depicting present-day Warsaw. The collection also includes the portraits of prominent citizens of Warsaw from the 18th and 19th centuries, genre paintings, graphics, posters, drawings, sculpture, silver and gold plates made by Warsaw companies and other items.
An important part of the Museum exhibition is the educational cinema, where documentary films about Warsaw and its history are shown. The films present the splendor of the city before the World War II and the tragic pages of the Nazis occupation. The ruins of the Warsaw and heroism of the people bringing their native city back to life are also reflected in the historical documentary films.
The Historical Museum also conducts an extensive educational programme. It provides consultations on the history of Warsaw, allows to get acquainted with graphic and iconographic collections of the museum and to work in the museum's archives and library.