Polish Cultural Institute & Museum News

Polish Cultural Institute & Museum News The Museum collects, exhibits, interprets & disseminates the heritage of the Kashubian Polish Culture. We want you to know what's happening at the museum!

The Polish Cultural Institute and Museum resides in a three-story building built in 1890 by the Laird-Norton Lumber Company. It is located on the southeast corner of Second and Liberty Streets in Winona, Minnesota. Purchased in 1977 by Rev. Paul J. Breza, it was intended as a museum-storage area for the “Committee for Polish Affairs” – later known as the Polish Heritage Society. Aborted by its parent organization shortly after inception, the Polish Museum’s few remaining volunteers patched, painted, plumbed and plastered a lumber yard office into an appropriate showplace for the history of Winona’s vibrant Kashubian Polish community. The upper floor of the museum houses a “temporary” archive of the Diocese of Winona.The Polish Cultural Institute and Museum also maintains Winona’s Kashubian Polish traditions through events and other initiatives. Smaczne Jablka (Apple Day) is celebrated annually along with recognition of other important holidays. Every summer, the Polish Museum sends two or three Winona high school students to Winona’s sister city of Bytow, Poland for a month, and arranges for two or three Bytow high school students to spend a month in Winona. Volunteers from the Polish Museum perform concerts, make public appearances in the Winona community, and maintain Internet resources dedicated to furthering an appreciation of Kashubian Polish culture.

Operating as usual

03/25/2021

Winona was known as the 'Kashubian Capital of America'

Much of the history of the city's Kashubian-Polish community is preserved in its Polish museum.

Written By: Thomas Weber | 7:30 am, Mar. 22, 2021

The Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Winona. (Contributed photo)
In Winona, though, “Kashube” has long been a badge of honor. For it is immigrants from Kashubia who settled in Winona, and who by 1900 made the city Minnesota’s largest Polish community.

We tend to think of Minnesota as a state settled primarily by Norwegian, Swedish and German immigrants. You know, “Uff da,” Lena and Ole, and all that.

But in a corner of frontier-era southeastern Minnesota, the language of the street and home was the little-known Kashubian dialect, which is somewhat related to Polish. Today, Winona still honors that Kashubian culture with the excellent Polish Cultural Institute and Museum.

Kashubia? Never heard of it, you say?

Not surprising, given that Kashubia is a small region of northwestern Poland that for a long time was governed and dominated by Prussia. The distinctive language and culture of the region were suppressed, and residents were forced to learn German. Understandably, as soon as they had the wherewithal, Kashubes joined the Polish diaspora in America.

Kashubes and their Polish cousins began settling in the Winona area and on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River in the 1850s. It was the state’s first Polish community, according to John Radzilowski’s study, “Poles in Minnesota.” The initial families bore names such as Felchowski, Kiedrowski, Kukowski, Pelowski and Reszka.

Soon, others followed, first to farm in the surrounding valleys, then to work in the sawmills, packing plants and warehouses of Winona. It was backbreaking work, but there was money to be made — more money than most immigrants could ever imagine.

By 1900, 5,000 Poles, mostly Kashubes, lived in Winona. The Winona neighborhood where many of these newcomers settled was known as “Warsaw,” and Winona was proclaimed the “Kashubian Capital of America.”

The proud Kashubes didn’t necessarily identify as Poles, and many clung to their dialect and customs. Soon, though, the two groups joined together to found two Catholic churches in Winona.

Then, as Winona’s Polish community grew and prospered, the Kashubes and Poles dug deep into their savings and came up with the funds to build the amazing Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka, which could seat 1,800 parishioners, and had a 170-foot-high white dome that could be seen from the tops of the surrounding river bluffs. The new church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day 1895. It is still there today, a landmark of Winona.

For decades into the mid-20th century, Polish culture dominated life for a good portion of Winona’s citizens. There were Polish fraternal organizations, Polish sports teams, and a Polish-language newspaper.

Along the way, though, the Kashubian language was nearly lost, as Polish and English took precedence. When a language is lost, a culture goes with it.

That philosophy was in part the impetus for the Rev. Paul Breza to form the Polish museum in Winona, where the history of the city’s Kashubian-Polish community is preserved. The museum, fittingly enough, is located in what was once the office building of a lumber yard where so many of these immigrants worked.

The museum is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, but when it reopens, Kashubian pride will once again be on full display.

Thomas Weber is a former Post Bulletin reporter who enjoys writing about local history.

Many Polish journalists describe the relationship between the People's Republic of Poland and the German Democratic Repu...
03/16/2021
East German Stasi and Polish secret service shared deep distrust | DW | 13.03.2021

Many Polish journalists describe the relationship between the People's Republic of Poland and the German Democratic Republic until the fall of the Berlin Wall as a "forced friendship."

https://www.dw.com/en/east-german-stasi-and-polish-secret-service-shared-deep-distrust/a-56831239

Officially, East Germany and Poland were "socialist brother countries." But new evidence reveals that their intelligence services shared a mutual distrust and dislike.

Happy Friday Everyone!
03/05/2021

Happy Friday Everyone!

😂
03/02/2021

😂

02/25/2021
Kashubian Voices Of Winona

The Polish Museum Choir, was invited to preform at the annual PACIM Ball (Webinar) Please welcome, The Kashubian Voices Of Winona!!

They are
Kelly Balko
Barry Peratt
Marie Peratt
Ian Paratt
Lorelei Macon
Jillian Macon
Carolyn Macon
Janet Macon.
Jean Papenfuss, piano.

Thanks for all you do!

02/24/2021
Why are people building thousands of snowmen by a lake in Poland?

This weekend, people gathered by a frozen lake in Korycin, northeastern Poland, to build 1,000 snowmen in an effort to fundraise for 21-month-old Bartek Bojarzyński, who has a serious heart defect.

https://www.euronews.com/travel/2021/02/22/why-are-people-building-thousands-of-snowmen-by-a-lake-in-poland

Dozens of residents have flocked to this Polish village to build snowmen in an effort to raise money for an ill child.

Borne Sulinowo, in northern Poland's West Pomeranian region, is emerging as an exciting destination for adventure seeker...
01/20/2021
The abandoned Soviet nuclear missile base hidden in a Polish forest

Borne Sulinowo, in northern Poland's West Pomeranian region, is emerging as an exciting destination for adventure seekers looking to explore a beautiful natural area, and a relatively unknown Soviet hotspot with a very dark past.

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/poland-borne-sulinowo-soviet-nuclear-missiles/index.html

Surrounded by beautiful forests and lakes, the Polish destination of Borne Sulinowo is a popular spot for outdoor getaways, but it also harbors dark secrets that prompted the Soviets to wipe it from their maps.

A year after it's inception, our Museum quality blinds are almost all up!
01/14/2021

A year after it's inception, our Museum quality blinds are almost all up!

You never know what you'll find in the hidden dark corners of the, Polish Museum!
01/14/2021

You never know what you'll find in the hidden dark corners of the, Polish Museum!

Our Oplatki Christmas wafers are available at the Museum, or self serve on the porch of the Heritage (Schultz) House. Yo...
12/07/2020
Polish Christmas Wafer: A Flavorless Tradition That's Oh So Sweet

Our Oplatki Christmas wafers are available at the Museum, or self serve on the porch of the Heritage (Schultz) House. You can also email us at [email protected] or call 507-454-3431 with your order!
Get them while they last. Quantities are limited!
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/12/19/167650665/polish-christmas-wafer-a-flavorless-tradition-that-s-oh-so-sweet

Before Christmas Eve dinner, some families share the oplatek along with good wishes for each other. The tradition dates back hundreds of years: Back when bread was scarce, exchanging it with neighbors was a gesture of goodwill.

The bad news, the Museum will not be celebrating Oplatki Sunday this year. 🥺The good news, we have packs of Oplatki for ...
12/05/2020

The bad news, the Museum will not be celebrating Oplatki Sunday this year. 🥺
The good news, we have packs of Oplatki for sale!
Each Pack contains three Oplatki Christmas wafers, and they only cost $5 per pack.😍 HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

If you happen to be driving or walking on Second street, here in Winona. Keep an eye out for the new "Bytow Byway" signs...
11/04/2020

If you happen to be driving or walking on Second street, here in Winona. Keep an eye out for the new "Bytow Byway" signs. They are posted on every block either heading East or West.

ACLU
11/03/2020
ACLU

ACLU

Election Day is 11/3. Make sure you know your rights at the polls.

If you are looking for the best apples in town. Stop by the Polish Museum Apple Stand, in front of the Museum Annex Buil...
11/02/2020

If you are looking for the best apples in town. Stop by the Polish Museum Apple Stand, in front of the Museum Annex Building.

The Museum website is updated and ready for your visit. You can browse our collections, become a member, renew membershi...
11/02/2020
Polish Cultural Institute & Museum, Winona MN | Kashubian Culture

The Museum website is updated and ready for your visit. You can browse our collections, become a member, renew membership, and even shop our online gift shop! With curbside pickup, or have your purchases shipped directly to your door!
http://polishmuseumwinona.org/

The Polish Cultural Institute & Museum shares the story of Kashubian culture and its impact on our region. Explore our website for a glimpse at our exhibits and to learn more about upcoming events to celebrate the rich Polish heritage in our community.

The Polish Museum has traditional Oplatki available.Each package contains three Christmas Wafers.  https://www.npr.org/s...
11/02/2020
Polish Christmas Wafer: A Flavorless Tradition That's Oh So Sweet

The Polish Museum has traditional Oplatki available.
Each package contains three Christmas Wafers.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/12/19/167650665/polish-christmas-wafer-a-flavorless-tradition-that-s-oh-so-sweet

Before Christmas Eve dinner, some families share the oplatek along with good wishes for each other. The tradition dates back hundreds of years: Back when bread was scarce, exchanging it with neighbors was a gesture of goodwill.

10/17/2020

The Polish Museum Remains Closed Through 10/24/2020
We Hope Everyone Has A Wonderful Weekend.
Thank You For Your Patience.

10/09/2020

The Museum remains closed through 10/10/2020.

09/25/2020
Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting

Kashubian Emigration in Winona and USA - History and Heritage

October 1-2, 2020 (Winona-Slupsk)

FIRST DAY: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1, 9:00 A.M. OPENING REMARKS:
 Scott Olson — president of Winona State University, Winona, USA
 Zbigniew Osadowski — rector of Pomeranian University in Slupsk, Poland
 Paul Breza — Polish Cultural Institute & Inc. Museum in Winona, USA
 Daniel Kalinowski — Pomeranian University in Slupsk, Poland

Part I: 9:30 a.m.

City Winona Into Kashubian capital
Karolina Kierlanczyk (PhD, Chicago), The role of city Winona in shaping the political and national identity of the
American Polonia: Hieronim Derdowski, "Wiarus " and the background of the Polish press in the United States (1886-
1902)
Jozef Szymafiski (PhD, prof. Pomeranian University in Slupsk), The parish in Winona and its priests in the “Dziennik
Chicagoski " in the years 1890-1922
Join Zoom Meeting at 9:00 a.m.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87844187567?pwd=MDRqdmRxRFY3Q0tLSERPZkpmekoxUT09

Meeting ID: 878 4418 7567 Passcode: 454135

- - -11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Lunch Break- - -
Writers and literature, researches and studies about Kashubian emigration
Adela Kuik-Kalinowska (PhD, prof. Pomeranian University in Slupsk), Kashubians on the way to happiness.

Daniel Kalinowski (Prof. PhD, Pomeranian University in Slupsk), Aleksander JantaPotczyhski, Bronislaw Socha-
Borzestowski and Jan Drzeidion. Kashubian-Pomeranian basics of knowledge about emigration in North America

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82334517013?pwd=QVRLMmJGaXU0MldJcWNhVXpPMk5rZz09

Meeting ID: 823 3451 7013 Passcode: 942262

SECOND DAY: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2, 9:00 A.M.

Part Ill: 9:00 a.m.

Kashubian in past and nowadays
Joseph Hughes (PhD, prof. em. Missouri State University), Kashubs in Minnesota. About the life of several families
Aleksandra Kurowska-Susdorf (PhD, Akademia Marynarki Wojennej w Gdyni), Relics of Kashubian folk customs in North
America

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81599458315?pwd=bE9QQnlJOTNKV1EreThaQm5XL2tyUT09

Meeting ID: 815 9945 8315 Passcode: 720631
- - 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Lunch Break- - -
Part IV: 1:00 p.m.

Kashubian emigration. Theory and real life
Malgorzata Plecka (PhD, Winona State University) Reviews of the theory emigrations.
Stories, memories, reflections of the guest participants (round table, 15 minutes for each person)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87554449147?pwd=bXhGc1o2bEFzTDFRRmZxbmJWZHN1Zz09

Meeting ID: 875 5444 9147 Passcode: 299498

Part V: about 3:00 p.m.

Conclusions -Paul Breza & Daniel Kalinowski

Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in board, confer...

09/19/2020

Good morning everyone,
Our Museum remains closed through 9/26/2020
Check back for further details.

09/12/2020

Hello, Everyone
The Museum Will Remain Closed 9/19/2020
Please Check Back For Updates.

08/29/2020

Even though the Museum remains closed, our apple stand on 363 E 2nd is open!
Stop by and grab a bag, or two!
Have a great weekend, everyone

08/14/2020

Happy Friday everyone.
The Museum remains closed through 8/16/20.

08/07/2020

The Polish Museum remains closed, thru 8-9-20.

06/26/2020

CLOSED
Due to the spike in the number of cases
of COVID-19 in the local area, we will not be opening at this time. Please check our page @ polish cultural institute & museum news, email [email protected] or call the Museum at
507-454-3431 and leave a message. We’ll get back to you A.S.A.P.

Address

102 Liberty St
Winona, MN
55987

General information

Kashubian Capital of America Note: This essay represents only the extremely unofficial opinion of the webmaster. Winona, Minnesota proudly claims the distinction of being the Kashubian Capital of America. Winona has never been a purely Kashubian settlement, as were its contemporary settlements in Renfrew County, Ontario and Portage County, Wisconsin. But Winona’s Kashubian community quickly grew larger than these other two communities. The 1900 US Census placed Winona’s population at 19,714 people. At about the same time, Hieronim Derdowski – editor of Winona’s Polish-language newspaper Wiarus – estimated Winona’s Polish population at 5000 people, with 4,000 being of Kashubian descent. Granted, Chicago’s Kashubian parish of Saint Josaphat claimed a membership of 5,000 parishioners in 1902. But Chicago’s Kashubians were but a fraction of its Polish community. By contrast, Winona’s Kashubian Poles made up 20% of Winona’s population, and 80% of its Polish community. Moreover, Winona’s Kashubian community was already playing an important part in Winona’s society by 1900. From the 1870s on, Kashubian Americans like Teofil Jakob Sikorski and Jozef Milanowski had served Winona and Winona County as aldermen, school commissioners, county commissioners and even as Minnesota state representatives. First-time visitors to Winona could not help but notice the most prominent item of the city’s skyline – the church of Saint Stanislaus Kostka, erected in 1894-1895 by the Kashubian community. The newspaper Wiarus and its (sometimes) notorious editor Derdowski were known throughout Polonia – that is, the Polish immigrant community in North America . Nowhere in Polonia had a Kashubian immigrant community established itself to such an extent, not even in Chicago. But just how Kashubian did the immigrants consider themselves in 1900? Even before the Civil War, Winonans had referred to them as “Polaks” and “Polanders.” The Kashubians’ neighborhood was originally known as “Warsaw.” After the parish of Saint Stanislaus Kostka was established in 1871, it was staffed with priests who spoke “good Polish,” not Kashubian. The parish school educated its students in “good Polish,” and Derdowski prided himself on having taught his Kashubian readers “good Polish.” As Polish immigration from all three partitions of Poland picked up speed after 1870, the concept of Polonia as a Polish nation within the America became more and more popular. Instead of the grinding poverty which had forced Kashubians to seek a better life in America, they could now embrace nearly a millenium of glorious Polish history and high culture extending from Mieszko the First to Tadeusz Kosciuszko. Their Kashubian accents and vocabulary still remained, but in all other respects Winona’s Kashubian immigrants had become essentially Polish. This “Polonization” of Winona’s Kashubian community was unavoidable. Nor, despite the Kashubians’ resistance to Polonization in the old country, was it a bad thing in the new country. Hieronim Derdowski himself had stated, even before emigrating to the United States, that “there is no Kashubia without Poland and no Poland without Kashubia.” The Kashubian culture had no greater admirer than Derdowski, who was in fact Kashubia’s first published poet. Still, Derdowski recognized that the Kashubians themselves had never constituted a nation by themselves, and never would. Therefore he believed that the Kashubians’ destiny was as a part of a reunited Polish nation. Like many other Polish intellectuals living in the United States, he placed the highest priority upon working toward Polish reunification. In changing over from an isolated Kashubian settlement to an important outpost of American Polonia, Winona’s Kashubian Polish community was following the trajectory set out by its greatest and most famous member, Hieronim Derdowski.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 15:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 15:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 15:00
Thursday 10:00 - 15:00
Friday 10:00 - 15:00
Saturday 10:00 - 15:00

Telephone

(507) 454-3431

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Comments

I am proud to say that I just joined the Polish Cultural Institute and Museum. I look forward to visiting the Museum in Winona soon. In the meantime, please take care and stay safe everyone who works there. My very best to Father Breza. Ray
I am hoping to learn more about the Kashubian history. However, I am confused. I realize that the Kashubs are part of Poland now, Have a history with Germany, but always were essentially a separate nationality unfortunately without a country for many, many years. Why is your Museum that states it is it's mission to keep Kashubian culture alive called the Polish Cultural Institute & Museum? Which is it? Kashubs without a country or Polish....or even German?
https://www.polishcenterofwisconsin.org/assets/Flyers/2019/Auschwitz%20Exhibit%202019%20Flyer%201.pdf
Hello! I’ve started a FB group for the Kaszubowski family (and related surnames). I know there are a lot of us in Wisconsin and Minnesota! If you are interested in this family line and research, please join. Thanks!
I was very glad to see that my novel, The Fourth Courier, a spy thriller set in Poland at the end of the Cold War, is featured in the literature section of the Polish Cultural Institute of London's monthly newsletter. I thought I would share it with other Polish organizations. Thank you for your consideration. Here's a link:
krampus night is coming up on December 5th.
My wife and I visited the museum on Oct. 19, 2018. We were extremely impressed with the exhibits and the tour we were given. My great-grandmother, Josephine Zywicki, was born in Winona in 1885 to John and Anna (Jaczkowska) Zywicki. I am anxious to visit again to see if there is any information about them in the genealogy archives.
http://thenowypolskishow.co.uk/lobby-zydowskie-w-usa-cz-1 Posłuchaj, oceń sam, Wypowiedz się.......S447, HR 1226 zagrożeniem dla praworządności.