Where do you think this photo was taken? No, it’s not Easter Island, but Poland, the Arkady Fiedler museum (Polish language only). As a child, I went there many times. Both my mum and my grandma really liked Arkady Fiedler’s books and they wanted to introduce him to my sisters, my cousins and me. I still remember how fascinated I was by the museum’s diverse selection of colourful butterflies, all foreign to Poland.
This museum was one of the things that inspired me to start travelling and wanting to see the world. The collections inside gave me the first taste of the wider world for many places, including Easter Island.
Recently, I’ve visited the museum twice and I was even more impressed by it than I was as a child. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that the Arkady Fielder museum is one of the hidden delights of Poland that hardly anyone knows about.
Who was Arkady Fiedler
Arkady Fiedler was born in Poznań in 1894. He claimed his father got him interested in nature and then travelling. So, he went on his first big trip in 1928 – to south Brazil. He then wrote a book about his adventures that quickly became very popular. After, he kept travelling, financing his journeys from his book earnings (isn’t this every travel writer’s dream?).
During the Second World War, Arkady Fiedler spent some time in England and wrote a book “Squadron 303” about Polish pilots during the Second World War. He returned to Poland after the war, but it was difficult to travel internationally then so he stayed in Poland and wrote a few novels for teenagers. It wasn’t until 1956 that he could continue travelling and travel writing.
In 1974 he opened a museum in his house in Puszczykowo near Poznań. He died in 1985, and now his sons and grandsons look after this place, where much of the property serves as a museum. They also travel a lot and write about it.
My experience of the Arkady Fiedler museum as a child
Every summer my sister and I would spend a couple of weeks in Poznań, where my mum’s family lives. And every year we would go to certain places like both zoos, the palm house, and, of course, the Arkady Fiedler museum. At the time, the nearby village there also contained the Greater Poland National Park Museum. We would first visit the Arkady Fiedler museum, which is really close to the train station, and then walk to the other museum.
I especially remember the butterflies, some as big as my hand, a picture showing how much Native Americans had to pay for rifles, and a scary aquarium containing piranhas.
A visit with Chris
We lived in Poland for two years and during that time I took Chris to see the Arkady Fiedler Museum. We wanted to stay outside Poznań this time, so we booked a hostel in Puszczykowo. We went there during low-season in November for a long weekend, which now I admit wasn’t the best idea because the coffee shop next to the museum was closed and it was rather difficult to find a place to eat. We managed to find some small café in the town, though.
The place proved even more fascinating than I remembered. Perhaps this was because I’d already done some travelling myself. Chris also loved it.
A visit with Chris’s parents
When Chris’s parents decided to visit Szczecinek (my hometown) we decided that it would be nice to show them the Arkady Fiedler museum. Chris’s mum also did a lot of travelling as a child, since her father was in Britain’s Royal Air Force. We phoned them, but they didn’t have an English speaking guide. So, I offered to translate.
But it turned out that Arkady Fiedler’s son, who was at the museum at the time, spoke really good English. He told us many things about the museum and he still travels, and was actually getting ready for another trip.
Also, at the museum, you can buy a lot of Arkady Fiedler’s books and many books written by his sons and grandsons. There’s many DVDs there as well. Unfortunately, there aren’t many books in English there, but you buy English version of “Squadron 303” and several other books on Amazon.
How to get there
It’s only a short train ride from Poznań Główny to Puszczykowo and the museum is 400 metres from the train station.
There’s also a lot of places where you can park a car near the museum.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 6pm in spring and summer and 10am to 3pm in autumn and winter.
Tickets are very cheap. They cost 11zł (around $3) when we went there last year.
I hope you enjoyed this post. I really think this museum is one of Poznan’s hidden delights. What fascinating archaeological/explorer museums do you know of? We’d love to hear your recommendations.
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