Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Polish Museum of America

The Polish Museum of America and its library are located in the Polish Roman Catholic Union building at 984 North Milwaukee Avenue, just north of the Chicago Loop. It is about a half hour drive down the Kennedy Expressway from the Hyatt Regency Hotel, or a relaxing ride on the Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line to Division Street, with a short walk south on Milwaukee Avenue to Augusta Boulevard. Train fare is $2.00 one way. Exact fare only, no change returned.
Read More About the Polish Museum of America


If you are searching Polish roots, this is a ‘must’ stop while you are in Chicago. The Polish Museum of America was started in 1935 and has grown to be one of the largest ethnic museums in the United States. The main room of the museum is located on the 3rd floor and it has displays of Pope John Paul II, actress Helena Modrzejewska, General Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Kazimierz Pulaski, a military collection, folk costumes, and a Polish ethnic collection. There is also space for special exhibits. On the 2nd floor is a room devoted to pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski.

The gift shop has many items imported from Poland including dolls, amber jewelry, crystal, designs from wood shavings and hand-carved wooden items. They carry a 2-CD set of Paderewski in recitals originally recorded between 1919 and 1936. There is also a wide selection of books for sale on searching Polish roots, the history of Poland, language, statesmen and military leaders, and Polish cookbooks.

The Polish Museum of America Library is housed on the 1st floor of the PRCUA building. This library, founded in 1912, has the status of being both a reference and museum library with over 41,000 catalogued books. About 60% of the books are in the Polish language. Of special interest to genealogists is the library’s vast collection of Polish newspapers published in America. The newspaper Dziennik Chicagoski is available on microfilm, and obituaries from 1890 through 1971 are indexed by surname. The library has excellent ‘cheat sheets’ to assist researchers in translating the Polish language to English. There is usually a staff member or volunteer who can help with difficult translations.

The Polish Museum of America is open daily from 11:00am to 4pm, and is closed on Thursdays. Admission prices are: adults, $5.00; seniors (65 yrs. and older) and students, $4.00; children (under 12 yrs.), $3.00. The telephone number is 1-773-384-3352.

The Polish Museum of America Library is open Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, 10am - 4pm, Wednesday 1pm – 7pm and closed on Thursday and Sunday.

Photocopies are 25 cents for 8 ½ x11 and 30 cents for 8 ½ x14. Microfilm reader printer copies are 50 cents each.

Parking is free. Handicap access is from the parking lot entrance door. Ring the doorbell for entrance. Wheelchairs are available. Please call ahead.

For more information visit their website http://pma.prcua.org/.

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