City Arsenal: Archaeological Museum and Military Museum
Wrocław's City Arsenal houses museums that are unique across Poland. The Archaeological Museum is one of Europe’s earliest dating institutions of this kind.
The focus of the Military Museum is on showcasing firearms from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Apart from popular gun makes such as Mosin or Mauser, Wrocław’s Arsenal houses unique designs as well as rare and original weaponry.
One fine example of this kind is Poland’s only curve-barrelled machine gun, which dates back to 1953.
With a slightly curved barrel, the gun could fire from an armour-plated position without the necessity for the gunner to lean from behind the shield. The gun was manned by two soldiers: a gunner and a gunner’s mate.
Another original specimen from the Museum’s collection is a UR anti-tank rifle. UR anti-tank rifles were designed in the 1930s by a team of Polish engineers under Józef Maroszek's supervision. A long barrel and an additional powder charge made the gun a lethally efficient weapon. The gun would pierce a 15-mm armour plate from a 300-metre range.
The Museum’s collection of melee weapons (spanning the 18th and 20th centuries) features a number of sables used by warriors in the East. One fine specimen of this kind is a flame-bladed sable. According to experts, the shape of the blade improved the sable’s thrust. The City Arsenal holds one more original 17th-century Turkish sable, its blade featuring a Muslim profession of faith.
The collection of more than 500 helmets is equally impressive. Tin hats were in use already in the 18th century to protect soldiers against bullets and shrapnels and melee weapons while in battlefield. The overwhelming majority of the collection comprises helmets used by the Polish Army that were bequeathed by Jacek Kijak. The helmets come from a variety of military units, not exclusively Polish, but often refashioned with Polish markings on them. One such item is a German helmet with a coat of arms of Wrocław. The collection also features leather helmets, headsets and flying caps, as well as police helmets and soundproof helmets used by airport and aircraft carrier crews.
Archaeological Museum: The History of Wrocław and Ancient Silesia
Established in 1815, the Museum showcases private collections and assemblages put together in the course of the secularization of Catholic Church property. The Museum was founded by J.G.G. Büsching, a scholar of great merit and Breslau University lecturer. Wrocław’s Museum is one of Europe’s earliest dating institutions of this kind.
The Archaeological Museum’s focus is on collecting archaeological monuments across Lower Silesia.
The Museum showcases monuments spanning the early Stone Age (500 thousand years ago) and Modernity (19th century). The Museum also holds artefacts that were unearthed during excavations, mainly in Wrocław’s Old Town.