Silesian Cultural Award

We are proud to announce that our Foundation has received the 44th Silesian Cultural Award today.

The award was presented to us in the fantastic company of other winners: Aleksandra Kurzak, prof. Dr. Matthias Weber, Sylwester Chęciński, Roswitha Schieb, the Polish-German Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Mountain of Literature Festival.

The Foundation for the Preservation of Industrial Heritage, founded by Piotr Gerber in 2007, carries out activities aimed at preserving and documenting the most important industrial objects in Silesia.

The process of economic transformation in Poland that started with social and economic reforms at the end of the 20th century, resulted in closing multiple historic industries. 

Steelworks, mines, textile factories, which for years were a source of pride for the workers and engineers who worked in them – with the onset of the economic transformation process began to be evidence of technological backwardness and poor quality of life for local residents.

The industrial heritage, despite being recognised as an important material evidence of social and economic development on an equal footing with other groups of historic monuments, is still poorly protected, often destroyed by investors seeking new sites.

The Foundation’s most important activity is the protection of objects of technology characteristic for specific parts of Silesia. The preservation is done primarily by transforming factories into museums, employing the best international solutions.

There are currently three museums within the Foundation:

  • Museum of Railway in Silesia in Jaworzyna Śląska,
  • Zinc Metallurgy Museum “Walcownia” in Katowice,
  • Historic Grain Mill in Dzierżoniów

The following museums are being prepared: Museum of Silesian Porcelain in Tułowice near Opole, Museum of Agricultural Technologies in Piotrowice Świdnickie, Railway Museum in Dzierżoniów. This is the largest network of technology museums in Poland.

In addition to its museum activities, the Foundation initiates and participates in campaigns to save and protect technical monuments, such as:

  • the establishment and promotion of the Lower Silesian Technology Monuments Route Map, a project carried out jointly with the Lower Silesian local government
  • the action of saving the historic Pilchowice Bridge from being blown up during the production of a film with Tom Cruise
  • an application for placing the Szombierki CHP Plant on the „List of 7 Most Endangered Monuments” maintained by the European organisation for the protection of cultural heritage – Europa Nostra
  • support for work on the application for inclusion of the Gdańsk Shipyard on the UNESCO list of historic monuments 
  • expert national and international conferences supporting the protection of industrial heritage – together with Wrocław University of Technology, Europa Nostra, TICCIH, ERIH, Lech Wałęsa Institute
  • preparation of a number of applications to place endangered monuments under conservation protection (including e.g. HUTMEN, the railway station in Jaworzyna Śląska).

The result of this work is the preservation and accessibility of technological monuments that testify to the history of Silesia’s development, and a greater historical awareness on the part of the inhabitants of the region.

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