The biggest museum in all of Krakow, the National Museum, is actually the regional (and most important) branch of Poland’s National Museum - There are over 21 departments in Krakow alone, made up of 12 conservation workshops, 2 libraries and 11 galleries, each divided by art period, for a grand total of over 780,000 artworks. The museum came to be after Henryk Siemiradzki, one of Poland’s most celebrated painters, offered one of his works to the city of Krakow; soon after, hundreds of other artists and collectors started doing the same – forcing the city to adopt a special motion to house this invaluable collection. By creating the museum, the Polish government wanted to promote the achievements of the Krakow artistic community and the fine arts in general to the people of Poland, and, later on, to visitors from around the world.
The National Museum consists of several different buildings scattered across Krakow. The Main Building, which houses three permanent collections (Gallery 'Arms and Uniforms' in Poland, Gallery of Decorative Arts, and Gallery of 20th-Century Polish Art) is located outside the historical center at aleja 3 Maja 1. There is a paid municipal parking across the street; alternatively, it is possible to reach the museum by tram via line 20, or even by foot, seeing as it’s just a 15-minute walk from Rynek Glowny. The museum is open every day except Monday from 10 AM to 6 PM, and exceptionally until 4 PM on Sundays. Entry is free for children under 7; it costs 1 złoty per children under 16 and students under 26, and 26 złoty per adult. Entry to permanent collections is free for everyone on Sundays. Audioguides are available for hire for 7 złoty per person. A museum pass is available for 35 złoty and entitles its owner to enter all the branches and permanent exhibitions of the National Museum in Krakow.