In 1906 a diocesan museum was established in a building belonging to the cathedral on Wawel Hill (Cracow) due to a decision made by Cardinal Jan Payne. Fifty years later the necessity of creating two separate museums - cathedral and diocesan - became obvious, and the then bishop of Cracow - Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, distinguished a cathedral museum. The creation of a new museum was connected with preparations for the 900th anniversary of the death of St. Stanislaw and included a special occasion exhibition devoted to him. It was also resolved to transfer the Diocesan Museum collections from the building on Wawel Hill to an Austin monastery in Cracow-Kazimierz, and to create a separate Cathedral Museum on Wawel Hill. The house on Wawel Hill was thoroughly refurbished and arranged according to a project by Adam Mlodzianowski. The Cathedral Museum was consecrated and opened to the public on 28 September 1978 by Cardinal K. Wojtyla, two weeks prior to his election as pope. The museum's tasks include a presentation of monuments displayed in Wawel cathedral, especially its treasury, and the Archive and Chapter Library on Wawel Hill. The museum is situated in a Gothic house and occupies four showrooms. In the past thirty years it has held several anniversary exhibitions commemorating (including a show commemorating the chronicler Jan Dlugosz (1980), Christianisation of Lithuania (1986), King Casimir Jagiellon (1992). Other expositions featured the monuments of the Renaissance (1989) and the Baroque (1994). After a modernisation conducted in 1995 the ground-floor showrooms displayed monuments associated with the monarchs of Poland, and exhibits connected with the pontificate of John Paul II. The showrooms on the storey presented the crafts, especially goldsmithery, weaving and embroidery. In 2000 the Cathedral Museum housed an exhibition held to mark the 1000th anniversary of the diocese of Cracow. The highlight of 2003 was the famous poliptych from the Zygmuntowska Chapel on Wawel Hill. In 2005 the Chapter Archive organized an exhibition of monuments associated with Cardinal Zbigniew Olesnicki (d. 1455), as well as an exposition of the 14th Opatowicki Breviary In 2007, during celebrations of the 705th anniversary of the location of Cracow, the museum showrooms were used by the Chapter Archive for an event entitled 'The sources of the spiritual culture of Cracow', featuring more than fifty exhibits from a period prior to 1257. At the turn of 2007 the museum was once again reorganised and renovated. The thirty-year old arrangements were replaced by a modern exposition designed by Agnieszka Szenk, offering greater possibilities of a presentation of the exhibits thanks to the application of new showcases, a combination of the colour black and glass, and modern light effects. The feature, which basically differentiates the Cathedral Museum, is the fact that it does not posses its own collections - all the exhibits originate from the cathedral treasury and archive. This is the reason why the Cathedral Museum on Wawel Hill is described as the Cathedral Treasury.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.