The foundation Ossolineum was created in 1817 by Józef Maksymilian Ossoliński (1748-1826) in Lvov. By the will of the founder, the foundation was to consist of collections of books, manuscripts.
The foundation Ossolineum was created in 1817 by Józef Maksymilian Ossoliński (1748-1826) in Lvov. By the will of the founder, the foundation was to consist of collections of books, manuscripts, numismatics and museum exhibits, offered by J. M. Ossoliński and lands to maintain the printing house. Ossolineum was also to publish its own scientific journal and take care of the young scientists.
After World War II the borders changed and Lvov was not in Poland anymore. In 1944, a part of the collection was transported from Lvov - almost 11000 old prints, pictures, diplomas and manuscripts (the manuscript of “Pan Tadeusz”). The collections, hidden in Lower Silesia near Złotoryja, were transported to Wrocław in 1947. In the years 1946-1947 a a part of the collection as given to Wrocław as “a gift of the Ukrainian nation to the Polish nation”. 217450 volumes were transported from Lvov, including 7068 manuscripts and 41505 old prints. It is estimated that around 70% of the collections remained in Lvov.
Since 1990 Ossolineum has become more important as a national scientific and cultural institution. The collections are constantly growing, including valuable gifts and private collections (maps of Silesia from dr Tomasz Niewodniczański, medals, coins from Stanisław Garczyński; precious archives of Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, Tadeusz Żenczykowski, Władysław Bartoszewski).
The collections of Ossolineum include around 1.700.000 units, among which there are prints, journals, manuscripts, documents, old prints, pictures, drawings, paintings, ex libris, medals, coins, stamps, maps and plans, posters, brochures, placards and microforms. Every year Ossolineum prepares big exhibitions of their vast and precious collections. Famous scientists, writers and artists participate in cultural meetings there. There are concerts and theatre performances too.
Ossolineum provides its resources only in the reading room.
The building was inherited after the Crusaders with Red Star. The Order received it from Duchess Agnieszka, a widow after Duke Henry II the Pious.