Sunday was cold and windy, so we decided it’s a perfect day for visiting a museum. Despite living almost 7 years in Warsaw I had never been to the Museum of technology in the Palace of Culture and Science. Well, it a museum that itself belongs in a museum. Nothing seems to have changed over the last 25 years. The place is filled with cabinets with old radios, phones, computers… etc, neatly labelled with name and year. And lots of “Don’t touch!” signs. In each room there is a person sitting quietly on a chair watching you so that you don’t touch anything. Watching, watching, but not talking… it’s kind of creepy and really doesn’t make you feel welcome. Being there with a small child was a complete waste of time.
There is one room with “interesting physics” where there are experiments to be tested. This could have been good if the experiments were not as old and beaten up as anything your physics teacher dug out in 6th grade. About half of the experiments did not work at all and the rest were kind of dodgy. Without prior knowledge it was hard to figure out what they were for.
Polish colleagues commented that this kind of museums was the standard during the socialist time, and nothing here seems to have changed since*. There is an urgent need for a thorough renovation, and if there is no money for that, maybe the whole thing should be closed. As it is, it is just an embarrassment.
* Some years ago I visited the Centre for Contemporary Art and had the exact same experience of being followed around by angry guards. A recent visit was much more pleasant. Times are changing, albeit slowly, even at state institutions.