The highlight of the archival collection at The Polish Museum of America is the extraordinary repository of memorabilia documenting the multi-faceted career of Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860–1941). After the death of Paderewski, the Museum received numerous personal items and memorabilia which initiated one of the largest collections dedicated to the pianist. This collection is now housed in a special room that was the original 1937 Museum.
The Paderewski Room was renovated in 2007 through 2009 and now one can now view any number of artifacts and personal items related to this extraordinary individual. Among these are: the furnishings of the Buckingham Hotel suite, New York City, where the Maestro last resided; a piano which was a gift from Steinway and Sons; the concert stool which the Maestro carted with him in his travels around the world; many personal items, including scissors, comb, bottle of cologne, razor, cigarettes, cigarette-holder, and a cigarette case inscribed, “Ukochanemu Prezydentowi I. J. Paderewskiemu/ Warszawa 31 lipca 1919” (To Our Beloved President I. J. Paderewski/Warsaw 31 July 1919) with the signatures of his cabinet members.
In addition, there are the more official mementos, such as the gold pen in the shape of a goose feather which Paderewski is said to have used in signing the Peace Treaty in Versailles. Photographs, autographed copies of books, paintings, sculptures and medals with the likeness of Paderewski, by Józef Aumiller, Alfons Karny, Stanisław Sikora and Paul Strayer, complete the exhibit.
Finally, since the Paderewski Room is the original Museum space, which opened to the public on January 12, 1937, the Museum provides an area in this Room in memory of its first curator, Mieczysław Haiman. His desk, published books and other items are displayed.
Listen to Former Tour Guide Richard Kujawa Lead You Through The Paderewski Collection: