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The history of the creation of the Sądeckie Lachy Museum

The Sądeckie Lachy Museum in Podegrodzie owes its existence to the ethnographic and collecting passion of Zofia and Stanisław Chrząstowski.

Zofia Chrząstowska

Zofia Chrząstowska (1905-1982) came from Płock, and came to Podegrodzie in 1928 - she took up a position as a teacher of humanities and handicrafts at the Public Agricultural School for Girls. The contact with the material and immaterial folklore of the Sądeckie Lachy region aroused delight in a young, sensitive person. It was here that she met and married (in 1931) Stanisław Chrząstowski, who shared her ethnographic passions.

Stanisław Chrząstowski

Stanisław Chrząstowski (1911-1997) was born in Drohobych, and spent part of his teenage years in Lviv, where he graduated from primary school. Later, he and his family lived in Rzeszów. In 1930, he took up a position as an assistant at the District Agricultural Society in Podegrodzie in Nowy Sącz. He worked as an agronomist for several dozen years, until the 1960s, when he started working as a librarian at the District Public Library in Nowy Sącz.

The Chrząstowski family's activities in Podegrodzie and the creation of the museum

The activities of the Chrząstowski family in Podegrodzie were extremely comprehensive. Mrs. Zofia was one of the main organizers, as well as the first instructor and manager of the folk song and dance group "Podegrodzie", established at the Agricultural School. From the 1950s, she also managed the Municipal Library in Podegrodzie. She promoted reading, organized competitions and exhibitions, as well as meetings with writers and poets. Together with her husband, they organized folk events: harvest festivals and special academies. They were both authors of many scientific studies on Lachów culture, folklore and crafts. They collected song lyrics and melodies from the area, as well as patterns of local costume decorations.

The Chrząstowskis began to collect items created by local artists, as well as utility items donated by the inhabitants of Podegrodzie and the surrounding area. The greatest development of their collection took place in 1961. An ethnographic exhibition was organized at the school in Podegrodzie, which accompanied the celebration of the "Most Beautiful Days of Podegrodzie" to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the Polish State. The exhibition includes colorful folk costumes, everyday equipment, household tools, local ceramics, wreaths and sculptures. After the end of the exhibition, with the consent of the owners, most of the items ended up in the hands of the Chrząstowski family. They placed the constantly growing collection in the attic of their house - this is how the "museum in the attic" was created. The owners of the collection carefully researched and preserved each item.

In 1981, the Chrząstowski family donated their impressive collection to the District Museum in Nowy Sącz, with the understanding that it could never leave Podegrodzie. This is how the Sądeckie Forest Museum in Podegrodzie was established, a branch of the Nowy Sącz District Museum. Ten years later, in 1991, the facility was officially named after Zofia and Stanisław Chrząstowski.

In 2015, the museum was moved from the building of the Municipal Cultural Center in Podegrodzie to a large, modern building, which also houses the municipal library, kindergarten and nursery.