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The Polish Museum of America was founded in 1935 in Chicago, Illinois. Since then it has acquired thousands of pieces of literature and art, expanding to three different wings, all showcasing the vast and varied history of Poland from its earliest inhabitants to modern times.

Originally founded as a subset of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America Hall, the museum essentially became an autonomous unit in 1939, when a large amount of misfortune came to be a benefit for the museum. That year was the 20th anniversary of the Second Republic of Poland, and to celebrate, a large amount of artwork and sculptures were brought to New York City and displayed as part of that year's World Fair. On September 1 of that year, Germany invaded Poland at the onset of World War II. Worried curators and exhibitors felt it was best to leave their work (and not unimportantly themselves) in America, and so much of the art was purchased and placed in the Chicago halls.

The museum's artistic usefulness was once exceeded by its logistical weight when memebrs of the United States Naval Intelligence team visited the museum. It turned out that it had the most detailed maps of Poland available at the time, and information was used from the maps to plan invasions of Europe.

Inside the museum you can find a great amount of exhibits that rotate on a fairly regular basis of about every 3 months. You can find all sorts of Polish-derived art here, from poetry to sculpture to CYRK posters from the Communist heyday, as well as periodicals such as "Dziennik Chicagowski", a local Chicago paper printed in the same neighborhood sa the museum for over 70 years.

I highly recommend you take a trip to see the museum if you're in the Chicago area. I only went once when I was about 10, but the sheer peculiarness and individuality of the place was infectious.

You can check out their hours, location, etc at their website, http://pma.prcua.org.

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