The project entitled “Establishing the Museum of Fortifications and Weaponry on the grounds of Bastion III and the Arsenal in Zamość" was completed thanks to subsidies from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Infrastructure and Environment Programme (www.pois.gov.pl), Priority 11 Culture and cultural heritage, Measure 11.1 Protection and preservation of cultural heritage of supra-regional importance.
The aim of the project was to set up a team called the Museum of Fortifications and Weaponry encompassing the environs of the 17th century Bastion III and historic buildings i.e. the Arsenal and Gunpowder Magazine. The run-down former fortress site was restored and the ramparts with a shooting gallery for the curtain wall were made more distinctive. Part of the fortress’ fortified landscape was recreated, with a modern museum being integrated into this and located in the historic course of the curtain wall with a shooting gallery. The historic layout and dimensions of the earth ramparts were preserved and restored. Structural elements of the building’s glass roof at the foot of the rampart reflect its geometry and are an extension of it. The reconstruction project made it possible to find a contemporary use for the space at the same time as highlighting the historic form of the earth ramparts. The project also involved developing the site around the structures, laying an essential access road and planting greenery for the fortress and park areas. The restoration of the sites made them into attractive, user-friendly areas which met their needs. Park furniture was installed, encouraging visitors to extend their visit, enjoy some leisure time and relaxation.
The newly created museum was expanded and extended to include new exhibition spaces by restoring and adapting the Gunpowder Magazine building located on Bastion III, reorganising and updating the Arsenal interiors and creating a new exhibition space at the foot of the fortress rampart by the curtain wall between the bastion and Szczebrzeska Gate. The exhibition facility at the foot of the rampart housed collections of arms. Prior to the project these were displayed in the open air in the moat and the demi lune in front of Bastion III. It was now optimised as a venue for displaying and storing the collections. Locating the museum’s support functions such as workshops, storerooms, ticket desks, audiovisual suites in the Gunpowder Magazine and the building at the foot of the rampart made it possible to remove duplicate sections from the Arsenal’s interiors and for it be seen to best advantage.
The project made it possible to collect, collate and describe various forms of the art of fortress building and militaria on a scale unprecedented in Poland. The project is also unique as it ties in with the military architecture and fortified landscape of Zamość fortress. Based on the completed project, a virtual cultural institution was set up using the existing collections. The project’s uniqueness is also down to the fact that there is no other museum in Poland where you can trace the development of the art of war from the 16th century to the mid 20th century thanks to the displays of arms and soldiers’ kit.
The project carries on from the project completed in 2007 – 2009: “The conservation, restoration and adaptation of the fortification complex in Zamość Old Town for use as a cultural facility” and the project completed in parallel in 2010 – 2014 “Zamość - a UNESCO town and Monument to the History of the Republic of Poland as a tourism product of the Polish economy” and marks the completion of the tourist and educational trail tracing the development of Zamość fortress’ fortifications.
The project’s strategic objective is to increase Zamość’s importance as one of the main cultural centres in Eastern Poland. Zamość boasts a very large number of Poland’s cultural heritage resources. The uniqueness of the Old Town is borne out by the fact that it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Polish Register of Monuments and has historic monument status.
The project will help increase the cultural functionality and attractiveness of the Old Town by making use of structures that have so far not been used in the right way and create the impetus for more schemes for developing culture and tourism in the town. The project is part of the long-term process of making the town and region into an attractive destination. The restored historic monuments and museum are new additions to Zamość’s cultural tourism brand.
The project makes a positive contribution to facilitating equal access for disabled visitors to public infrastructure. All the exhibition buildings and spaces are accessible to disabled visitors. The Gunpowder Magazine building and ground floor of the Arsenal are accessible to disabled visitors as they are at ground level, whilst the first floor of the Arsenal can be accessed using the internal lift located on the site of the secondary existing staircase. The exhibition facility at the foot of the ramparts of curtain wall II-III has a ramp and lift for disabled visitors.
The project was completed in 2010 – 2014.The total value of the project came to PLN 27,646,230.27 and European Union subsidies as part of the European Regional Development Fund came to PLN 20,000,000.00.