Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum
The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum (Polish: Instytut Polski i Muzeum im. Gen. Sikorskiego), commonly known as Sikorski Institute, is a London-based non-governmental organisation of the Polish community in the United Kingdom.
It was created after the Second World War to preserve the memory of the Polish armed forces in the West and their contribution to World War II, at a time when the communist takeover of Poland made it hard and dangerous for many exiled Polish ex-servicemen and civilians to return home, and research and publication about those issues were banned or censored in the People's Republic of Poland.
In practical terms, this meant the preservation of historical records, documents, regimental colours, uniforms, insignia, works of art, literature and many personal effects which had once belonged to Polish statesmen, diplomats, academics, military leaders and ordinary men and women.
To that goal, the Sikorski institute, named after General Władysław Sikorski, has acted as a museum, archive and publishing house for much of Western Polonia and continues to function as an independent cultural and research institution.
The Institute is situated at 20 Prince's Gate in London, one of a group of Grade II listed stucco buildings facing Kensington Road and Hyde Park. The museum is open from Tuesday to Friday (2pm to 4pm) and on the first Saturday of the month (10:30am to 4pm). Free tours in either English or Polish are available during opening hours.
A turret gun from a Polish 7TP light tank which was used against the invading Germans in September 1939. It was later employed by the Germans in France and recovered during the allied invasion of western Europe in 1944.
An exhibit about the Polish contribution to the Battle of Britain
A memorial commemorating the Polish men, women and children deported and starved to death on Russian soil during and after World War 2
Original manuscripts by Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz
A bust of Władysław Anders
A souvenir from the Battle of Monte Cassino
A sculpture of Wojtek the soldier bear by David Harding
A bust of Jan Sobieski
A Polish hussar helmet from the 17th century
The emblem of the 1st Polish Armoured Division
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