About the museum
The first cross-border museum exhibition
Cieszyn, a town with over a thousand years of history, since 1920 has been divided into two parts: Polish and Czech. The border river Olza is a kind of symbol of Cieszyn's current fate. As a common element for both parts of the town, it not only divides, but also connects. And although since 2007 – that is since entering the Schengen area – many legal and administrative obstacles have been abolished, there are still mental, cultural and historical barriers resulting from the long-term isolation of the inhabitants of both sides of the town.
The Open Air Museum Cieszyn. Český Tĕšín project is aimed to create a new quality of tourist product based on the phenomenon of a divided town. The museum has been located in a special place – on the border between the two countries. There hasn’t been a place yet where people could become familiar with the history of the division of the town. Open Air Museum Cieszyn. Český Tĕšín, due to its open nature and unique, cross-border location, has a tourist and educational value. It is also a new, attractive space for spending time together by residents of both parts of the town and tourists.
Both towns form one whole again. Since the accession of Poland and the Czech Republic to the Schengen area, they have been closely cooperating on many levels. Open Air Museum Cieszyn. Český Tĕšín is another proof of this.
The main activities of the project:
1. Establishment of a joint Polish-Czech Program Council, responsible for the development of the museum concept, the content of museum exhibitions and the correct implementation of the project.
2. Creation of museum exhibitions on both banks of the Olza. The tour starts from the Sports and Entertainment Hall on the Polish side, runs along Aleja Piastowska along the Olza, then continues through the Friendship Bridge and further through the Freedom (Svoboda) embankment on the Czech side.
3. Revitalization of the Olza embankment, including construction of pedestrian and bicycle trails, greenery arrangement and placement of functional elements of small architecture.
4. Opening of the Tourist Information Centre in Český Těšín.
Creating a website at www.openairmuseum.info with detailed information as well as a mobile application to promote the new product.
The Polish part:
The Museum exhibition is thematically connected with the heritage and symbolism of the border river Olza and commemorates important events related to the history of the divided town. On the bank of the Olza there are 5 city lights, each having 7 panels with information and QR codes. After scanning the codes, you get access to extended versions of information and the photo gallery at www.openairmuseum.info. A dedicated mobile application helps to diversify your sightseeing experience. 28 important dates in the history of Cieszyn from its foundation to its division in 1920 have been placed on the outer part of seven Circles of Time.
The Olza embankment was adapted for the purposes of Museum exhibition. The section of Aleja Piastowska (pedestrian and bicycle zone) from Zamkowa Street to Sportowa street was revitalized and a new surface of the tourist route has been laid. There are also 5 city-lights (equipped with USB chargers and Wi-Fi hotspots) showing the museum content. The trail and the museum exhibition have been illuminated and an observation hill has been built and planted with grass. The banks of the Olza and the Młynówka have been equipped with safety railings. Some railings have been repaired. Highly aesthetic and modern-looking elements of small architecture have been set up along the footpath: specially designed seats placed inside circles illuminated at night, wooden and plastic seats, litter and dog droppings bins and bicycle stands made of steel; greenery has been taken care of – some trees have been subjected to caring treatments. New trees, perennials and creepers have been planted. The bed of the Młynówka river has been renovated along the length of 225 meters.
The Czech Part
The museum exhibition consists of information panels, a model commemorating Stalag Teschen prison camp from World War 2 and a number of other exhibits: a symbolic boat mooring place inspired by Jaromír Nohavica’s song from 1989 and a column which is a kind of Polish-Czech dictionary. A multimedia info booth has been located near the tourist information office.
The revitalized embankment of the Olza river is an area of parks with cycle and a walking paths equipped with elements of small architecture in a modern style. The entire area is illuminated by means of an intelligent street lighting system using LED lights, motion detectors and Wi-Fi modules. There are also artistically designed bird houses complete with wooden boards showing information about the birds.
Texts: Marian Dembiniok, Wacław Gojniczek, Stefan Król, Krzysztof Szelong, Jolanta Dygoś, Janusz Legoń, Renata Karpińska, Pavlína Badurová, Martin Krůl, Daniel Křenek,
Translations into English: Andrzej Pasterny
Translations into Czech: Lucie Hruškovská, Marie Grigová, Petra Slováček Rypienová, Markéta Sergejko, Izabela Szulc
Translations into Polish: ……………
Proofreading of Polish texts: Magdalena Engelmann
Photos/illustrations from collections of: Muzeum Śląska Cieszyńskiego, Ośrodek Dokumentacji Kongresu Polaków in Czech Republic, Książnica Cieszyńska, Archiwum Państwowe in Cieszyn, Archiwum Urzędu Miejskiego w Cieszynie, Muzeum Těšínska, Centralne Archiwum Wojskowe in Prague, Centralne Muzeum Jeńców Wojennych in Łambinowice-Opole, private collections of Marian Dembiniok, Renata Karpińska, Lukáš Zabystrzan, from publications: „Cieszyn Czeski Cieszyn na starych widokówkach i fotografiach”, H. Wawreczka, J. Spyra, M. Makowski, Nebory 1999; „Cieszyn panoramy i widoki”, M. Makowski, J. Spyra, Cieszyn, 1998, R. Karpińska, A. Cieplak „Zwiedzaj Cieszyn z trzema braćmi”, Cieszyn 2014,
Editing: Renata Karpińska,
Visual identification of the project : Dalibor Janeček