Yes I realize that is a very bold statement, but when you finish reading this post, I think you will agree.
On Friday, August 3rd, I, Taylor Clemons, visited a World War II museum. Astounding I know, but please give me a chance to explain myself. First of all, this museum is not yet open to the public.
Getting better? I thought so.
Okay here comes the really cool part.
I got to touch the artifacts. Yes, touch. Like, hey these are some really cool and rare figurines made from a toothbrush by a woman in a concentration camp. Let me just pick them up (in gloved hands). No big deal, right?
I was like a kid in the candy store. I saw and handled artifacts that most of you (unless you visit Gdańsk in 2014) will not get to see, and definitely won’t get to touch.
And for you history nerds, let me just name off a couple items.
- A side table that was located in the Nazi Headquarters. And yes, you did read right. I wrote headquarters.
- A uniform of a prisoner from a concentration camp. Sure we’ve seen this before, but have you touched one?
- Countless Nazi flags, as well as Polish and American ones from the war.
- Some war propaganda posters.
- A cool wooden book of drawings made by a Polish officer in a German POW. The present was for his girlfriend and included plans of the house they wanted to build after the war.
- An ENTIRE box of Katyń items that were found in the grave of the murdered Polish officers. I held medals, a compass, a helmet, and even some binoculars that were in pretty good condition. (If you don’t know, I’m rather obsessed with the history of this massacre, so this was like adding lody (ice cream) to an already delicious piece of szarlotka (Polish apple pie).)
And a whole lot more, but I don’t want to make you too jealous. Still, I have to say it ranks number one on my list of top five days in Poland, and my professor should be doubly excited, because not only was it really cool, but it really sparked my interest in studying history.
And not only did I learn some finer details of WWII, but about the creation of a museum in general. The process of finding artifacts, checking their legitimacy, cleaning and preserving them, organizing them, and not to mention tracing the history of each individual artifact is long and arduous. Each historian at the museum specializes in a different section of history and can therefore bring an entirely different taste to the museum as a whole. I for one cannot wait to visit the museum when it opens, and if you happen to be in the area, I strongly suggest you take a peek inside as well.