Friday, May 28, 2010

Night at the Museums

A few Saturdays ago, all of Poland hosted a fantastic event called "Night at the Museums." It was a cultural event, aimed at getting Poles to visit the country's cultural sites and be aware of the culture and learning possibilities that surround them. Most museums were open late (ranging from 12:00 AM to 3:00 AM) and were free for charge. A free Chopin concert was held in Lazienki park.
In Warsaw, special bus routes were set up, taking the ABC nomenclature. Also, they brought back the old-style buses, called ogórki (cucumbers) because of their shape. It was quite nice to see these little old buses zipping about on Warsaw's streets.
It was a raucous and successful night for all, with huge lines jamming every single museum. I waited in line for twenty minutes to get into the Museum Narodowe; when I exited, the line had doubled in length. Afterwards, I had planned to head to the Royal Palace, which I hadn't been to in about four years. Alas, the line was too long and I was too impatient, so I opted for the Polish Army Museum.
The Army Museum (basically a display of Soviet war machines) was chock full of Polish soldiers allowing access to the tanks and airplanes (one could go and sit in the cockpit of the MiG-29 or a Mil Mi-8.) This I declined, but I did marvel at the group of Polish soldiers decked out in Vietnam Era US uniforms and touting M16s atop a tank. It was quite a sight indeed.
The line looks long, but moved rapidly.

By all considerations, the night was a rousing success. Thousands took to the streets to admire the collections in the museums and learn a thing or two. The lines were long, and the museums were packed (packed!), but everything was going smoothly and rapidly.

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