Tarnów Diocesan Museum is the oldest diocesan museum in Poland. It was founded in 1888 by the then vice chancellor of the Seminary of Tarnów- the priest Józef Bąba, and it was located in the building of the Seminary. Between the wars the Town Hall housed the museum, and now it is located in the close neighbourhood of the Cathedral in the tenement houses dating back to the XVIth century. There are several buildings belonging to the Museum:
- The old Akademiola - that was the name of the oldest school in Tarnów, since it was the branch of Cracow University;
- The Nicholaus (Mikołajowski) House - built in 1524 by the townsman of Tarnów, Jan Mikołajowski. It was the house of the vice chancellor of the above mentioned Akademiola;
- The Mansjonariusz House and Scholasteria.
All those houses surround the Cathedral Basilica from the west side, thus creating a charming nook of the Old City, and their rooms house the collection of the Tarnów Diocesan Museum.
The most important part of the collection is made by the monuments of the guild art - Gothic sculpture and the paintings from Małopolska region, representing so called School of Cracow and Sącz. These monuments are very important in recognizing the level and the history of Polish, Medieval culture. The second part includes the church fabrics (vestments, covers, etc) from the Middle Ages till the XIXth century. There is also folk art department in the Museum, and what attracts the visitors there is the folk paintings on the glass, collected not only in Poland but also in the whole Europe and on other continents as well. All those paintings were given to Tarnów diocesan Museum in 1957 by Norbert Lippóczy, a well-known in Poland and abroad Tarnów resident of Hungarian descent. There is also the exhibition of the contemporary folk sculpture from the very lively center of such art. in Paszyn, near Nowy Sącz.
In 1988 Tarnów Diocesan Museum celebrated the Jubilee of 100 years of its existence and it enriched its collection by the pieces of art from the beginning of the XXth century. These are the works of several Polish painters, eg. Jacek Malczewski, Vlastimil Hofman, Kazimierz Sichulski and Wojciech Weiss. There is also the collection of porcelain and clocks. All those exhibits were given to the Museum by Tarnów collector - Olga Majewska
The Church needs the art... Tarnów Diocesan Museum is not only the living witness of the Christian culture of the past, but It also tries to spread the Gospel among our contemporaries...
Rev. Tadeusz Bukowski,