We wish to invite you to our new exhibition entitled Maritime School in Tczew 1920-1930. The Cradle of the Polish Merchant Navy, developed together with the Tradition Hall of the Gdynia Maritime University. The exhibition mainly covers the years of 1920 – 1930, i.e. the period when the first maritime school was established and operated in Tczew.

The introduction to the exhibition consists of memories of Poles who contributed to establishment of the Polish navy after Poland was declared independent in 1918 using their experience from service under foreign flags, including Kazimierz Porębski, the main promoter of maritime concepts in independent Poland, organiser of maritime education.

In the part of the exhibition presenting the very beginning of the Maritime School there is information about Tczew in the period between the two world wars. We present the school building, the first exams taken in Warsaw and the opening celebration in Tczew on 8th December 1920. The birth of Polish maritime education is presented against the background of historical events: the ceremony of wedding Poland to the sea, war with the Bolsheviks. The major part of the exhibition is devoted to education, first teachers (including the headmaster, Antoni Garnuszewski) and the students (student IDs, fragments of one student’s diary from 1923, etc). You may also see a collection of rare books, the first maritime profession manuals in the Polish language written by the school’s teachers and published by Editorial House of the Tczew Maritime School established in 1927.

The exhibition also shows some episodes from the School’s social and cultural life: photographs taken during social events, dance cards and other mementoes from the annual Maritime Ball. One important part of the exposition is about maritime apprenticeships on the school vessel KOPERNIK and also on the sailing boat LWÓW. The exhibition shows LWÓW’s commanders and crew, including the well remembered voyage to Brazil in 1923 where after crossing the Equator, for the first time under the Polish flag, a christening ceremony was organised. The photographs show the enthusiasm of the Polish community in Brazil and Brazilians when they welcomed the newly emerging Polish flag on the world oceans. The final part of the exhibition is devoted to graduates from the Tczew Maritime School, their contribution to the Polish Merchant Navy, various forms of their patriotic activities during the Second World War, their war battles in the Allied forces, and also their role in maintaining the continuity of Polish maritime education during and after the war.

The whole arrangement – documentation, museum exhibits, many photographs from the 1920s – creates a very unique climate and atmosphere of the exhibition. The majority of the documents and photographs are made available for the first time to the public.

It is worthwhile mentioning that the exhibition is located in the renovated building of the Vistula Museum in Tczew and is composed in full harmony with the attractive interior.