The mission of the Polish Cultural Institute and Museum is to collect, exhibit, interpret and disseminate the heritage of the Kashubian Polish Culture.
The Polish Cultural Institute and Museum resides in a three-story building built in 1890 by the Laird-Norton Lumber Company. It is located on the southeast corner of Second and Liberty Streets in Winona, Minnesota. Purchased in 1977 by Rev. Paul J. Breza, it was intended as a museum-storage area for the “Committee for Polish Affairs” – later known as the Polish Heritage Society. Aborted by its parent organization shortly after inception, the Polish Museum’s few remaining volunteers patched, painted, plumbed and plastered a lumber yard office into an appropriate showplace for the history of Winona’s vibrant Kashubian Polish community. The upper floor of the museum houses a “temporary” archive of the Diocese of Winona.
The Polish Cultural Institute and Museum also maintains Winona’s Kashubian Polish traditions through events and other initiatives. Smaczne Jablka (Apple Day) is celebrated annually along with recognition of other important holidays. Every summer, the Polish Museum sends two or three Winona high school students to Winona’s sister city of Bytow, Poland for a month, and arranges for two or three Bytow high school students to spend a month in Winona. Volunteers from the Polish Museum perform concerts, make public appearances in the Winona community, and maintain Internet resources dedicated to furthering an appreciation of Kashubian Polish culture.
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