The Museum of Papermaking History
After the end of World War II, Duszniki-Zdrój (German: Bad Reinerz) found itself in Poland. The old Duszniki paper mill was handed over to the nearest paper factory – in Młynow near Kłodzko. The factory’s director began renovating the building in an effort to quickly start paper production, but his death interrupted further work.
The facility stood unattended for several years and deteriorated, the roofs became weathered, and the remains of the equipment were stolen and destroyed. In 1953, the authorities of the city of Duszniki-Zdrój turned their attention to the large, deteriorating paper mill facility. It took several years to gain allies for the idea of preserving and restoring the paper mill as a technical monument. Various concepts also clashed: from turning the building over to a fruit warehouse to demolition.
The paper mill has since won many friends. In 1962, the Provincial Historic Preservation Officer received funds for a protective renovation. The shingles on the entire roof were replaced, and new boarding was put on. The renovation took four years.
On January 24, 1966, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Art came to Duszniki-Zdrój, toured the historic paper mill and held a conference with representatives of provincial, district and municipal authorities, suggesting the establishment of a paper-making museum and paper production – within the framework of the Ministry of Forestry and Wood Industry. The suggestion was favorably received by the Ministry of Forestry and Wood Industry, and an agreement was concluded as early as January 26, 1966. The Ministry of Forestry commissioned the United Pulp and Paper Industry in Lódź to carry out this project.
After the completion of the protective renovation, on March 31, 1966, the Provincial Conservator of Antiquities officially transferred the paper mill to the paper industry under the management of Pulp and Paper Works in Bardo Ślaskie, and then proceeded to arrange a paper-making museum in the building. Jan Michal Kowalski became the manager of the Historic Paper Mill. Technical matters were handled by the Bureau of Paper Industry Projects in Łódź, while the workmanship was carried out by teams of professionals from the paper mills. The elaboration of the artistic design was undertaken by the best visual artists: Prof. Stanisław Zamecznik, Prof. Witold Chomicz and Prof. Zygmunt Acedański.
Information about the work to establish a papermaking museum spread in the press and on the radio resulted in an influx of numerous exhibits from factories, institutions and individuals. The first gifts and donations were: carved wallpaper printing stencils from Gnaszyn (flat and round), handmade screens and portraits of paper makers from the city authorities, models of paper machines from Krapkowice and Jelenia Góra, paper presses, furniture, display cases. There was an influx of handmade papers.
Teodor Chojnowski, a prominent paper maker from Jeziorna near Warsaw, completed and refurbished the equipment needed to start a paper mill in Duszniki. With the joint efforts of Polish paper makers and lovers of historical monuments, a living museum was created in Duszniki-Zdrój, gathering exhibits of old paper technology and paper processing.
The opening of part of the Museum of Papermaking was carried out by Minister of Forestry and Wood Industry Roman Gesing on July 26, 1968. However, renovation and adaptation work continued. The demonstration production of handmade paper was launched in 1971, the letterpress printing shop in 1974, and the new exhibition showing the products of the Polish paper industry two years later.
From 1984 to 2005, the Duszniki museum was headed by Bożena Schweizer-Makowska.
Until the end of 1991, the museum was subordinate to the Bardec Paper Mill. From January 1, 1992, as a result of the management’s efforts, it became an independent cultural institution, subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. 3 years later, after the reform, the Ministry of Economy became the organizer of the museum.
After the institution became independent in 1992, the possibility of professional organization of the museum arose – substantive departments were created: History of Papermaking, Contemporary Papermaking, Educational and Library. In the renovated paper mill, all permanent exhibitions were changed. In 1997 – History of World, Polish and Silesian Papermaking (script – Jozef Dabrowski, cooperation – Teresa Windyka). In 1998 – History of papermaking technique and technology (scenario – Maciej Szymczyk). For both expositions, the concept of artistic arrangement was developed by Bożena Makowska, and the artistic designs were made by Marek Mikulski.
On the night of July 22/23, 1998, the Museum of Papermaking suffered huge losses in a flood that lasted several hours. Thanks to the tremendous commitment of the employees and the financial assistance of the Polish government, paper mills and numerous organizations and private individuals, the effects of the flood were gradually removed. The post-flood repairs were completed in 2003 with the realization of the park and garden establishment.
At the beginning of January 1999, the Museum of Papermaking was transferred by the Ministry of Economy to the Marshal’s Office in Wrocław.
At present, the Museum of Papermaking in Duszniki-Zdrój is one of the most important tourist sites in Kłodzko County – annual attendance is at the level of 70 thousand people.