The Museum in Legnica was established in 1879. Its building and rich collections were destroyed in 1945. The present-day Copper Museum, established only in 1962, inherited nothing from this pre-war Museum and had to be organized from scratch. The former palace of Cistercian abbots, erected in the years 1726 – 1728 by the abbot of the monastery in Lubiąż, Ludwik Bauch, was given its seat. The abbot’s coat of arms was placed above the portal topped with a balcony with figures of St. John the Baptist and St. Jadwiga. This building and the Knight’s Academy located nearby, and the Church of St. John and the former Jesuit College today form a unique complex of baroque architecture located in the city center, next to the Market Square. The second museum building is a nineteenth-century building, adjacent at right angles to the baroque palace, located along ul. st. John. At the back of both buildings there is a lapidarium. The outdoor exhibition presents over 70 sculptural and architectural details from the furnishings and decorations of various buildings in Legnica from the 14th to the 19th century. The Copper Museum in Legnica is a local government cultural institution financed from the budget of the city of Legnica. Almost from the very beginning, the museum’s interest was focused on two equally important fields: the history of Legnica and the area historically associated with it, and copper and its use by man. Both of these areas, although leading, did not constitute the entire offer of the Copper Museum over the past forty years. Nearly one million visitors could see it for themselves, with over four hundred exhibitions presenting old and contemporary Polish art, European arts and crafts, archeology, history of Silesia and Poland, old technology, mineralogy, numismatics, and military. The museum was also the organizer of several dozen scientific sessions, as well as concerts, competitions and plein-airs. His publishing achievements include nearly three hundred titles, including many scientific and regional ones.
However, the most important thing for any museum is its collections. The Copper Museum in Legnica has managed to gather over 30,000 of them during the forty years of its existence. They are largely monuments documenting the history and culture of Legnica from prehistory to the present day. They include objects in the field of: archeology (prehistoric and medieval ceramics, stone tools, items made of bronze, iron, wood, bones, leather), numismatics and medallic art, artistic craftsmanship, painting, graphics, photography, philo-art, cartography. This category also includes manuscripts, documents, old prints, biographical materials, stamps, banners, and Sienkiewiciana.
Legnica and its surroundings have been known for the processing of copper and bronze since ancient times, and from the Middle Ages also for its extraction. The museum therefore has a collection of copper minerals from around the world, technical monuments in the field of copper mining and metallurgy, collections of various utility and artistic items made of copper and its alloys – tools and weapons, simple vessels and household utensils, but also intricately decorated products of foundry and blacksmith craftsmanship. , boiler. The wide range of applications of copper as a material in art is complemented by the collections of ancient and contemporary bronze sculptures and a collection of copperplate engravings.
Being faithful to the fields chosen many years ago, the Museum of Copper also tries to look for new areas of collecting activity. For twenty years now, a collection of Polish contemporary goldsmiths has been built, based on the achievements of artists from the interwar period and later years, as well as participants of the Legnica silver surveys. The second new field of collection is sovietica. Before the liquidation of the Russian garrison in Legnica, the museum began collecting materials and items illustrating the army’s stay in our city.