Rzeszow is a pretty Polish city with a challenging pronunciation. Located in the eastern part of the country, Rzeszow is the capital of the Podkarpacie district. It’s amazing we’ve never gone here before! Thankfully, we’ve discovered the city and its little gem of a museum: the Museum of Bedtime Cartoons. Bedtime stories are a crucial part of all children’s lives. Originally either told from memory or read aloud by parents, grandpas or nannies, in the second half of twentieth century, many of these stories could be watched on tv. At 7:00pm each night, children would meet their favorite characters and go on a little adventure with them until they eventually fell asleep peacefully. Don’t you already feel a little bit nostalgic, just trying to remember the stories? This museum is a great reminder of them.

Museum of Bedtime cartoons. Photo: Mateusz Opasiński, via wikimedia Commons

The principal of the Museum, Katarzyna Lubas, shared with us everything we wanted to know about it:

The idea of creating a Museum of Bedtime Cartoons came from Wojciech Jama – a collector of a many interests, he’s also a little bit of a museologist-amateur. He started gathering his collection back in 70s and its origin comes from his personal, childhood souvenirs. In 1997, he started displaying his collection in various libraries, museums and community centers, along with being initiated into many events at schools and cultural institutions. When the collection significantly increased, he decided that it deserved to reach the wider public and the best way to do so would be creating the museum on the Internet. In December 2004, Wojciech Jama designed the website of Museum of Bedtime Cartoons of PRL (Polish People’s Republic), where he presented about thirty-three thematic bookmarks, including twenty-seven online rooms dedicated to the different heroes of bedtime cartoons, where all the photos, exhibits and information about them could be found. Everything was also available in English, French and German. Films were uploaded to the YouTube channel, as well as the Facebook profile, helped to share the word about the Museum.

The website of the Museum of Bedtime Stories of PRL is still run by the collector. Additionally, he is also an admin of the Facebook fan page: Bedtime Cartoons and surroundings. In 2009 Jama, with the cooperation of Paweł Pasterze, published the album titled „Time to say goodnight,” which was simultaneously a little prediction of what is to come – the Museum of Bedtime Cartoons as well as the first publishing house on Polish and international bedtime stories. In January 2006, in an issue of Wyborcza Newspaper, Jama offered to give his collection to the city of Rzeszów, if the city council decided to found the Museum. The journalists were really interested in the creation of the Museum of Bedtime Cartoons and they often came back to the topic. Plenty of articles were published in newspapers, and also came on the radio as well as on television. Everyone was describing the rich collection of Wojciech Jama, and additionally illustrating it with photos of the souvenirs. One of the most famous exhibits was the original puppet of a well-known (for Polish audiences) Teddy Floppy-Ear. It helped the collector to build the brand of the Museum of Bedtime stories. After two years of effort, Jama officially passed his collection of about two and half thousands exhibits and the Rzeszow City Council unanimously enacted the creation of the Museum.

The first visitors were actually hosted at the Museum long before its official opening; the doors of the institution were always open. Curious passers-by, attracted by the cartoon characters, usually had a sneak peek inside. They then stayed for longer, listening to the stories told by Wojciech Jama, who was just unpacking the exhibits from the cardboard boxes. The official opening of the Museum was hold on 22nd of March 2009. The opening night was accompanied by many events and attractions for guests. The first two years the Museum was located in the premises of 120 meters square in the historic pension building at the Słowacki Street; however, the Museum was celebrating its second birthday in the new place at the Mickiewicz Street, where it’s located until now.

The permanent exhibition gathers various souvenirs connected to both Polish and foreign children’s animation, which are commonly called bedtime cartoons. The Museum’s collection is unique. The core of the display includes the original dolls from puppet animations, which were used for filming many years ago. Guests can admire the dolls of Little Penguin Pik-Pok, the Teddy Floppy Ear and Colargol (known in US and UK as Barnaby), along with many more. Besides this, there is also a collection of frames from the films, as well as the storyboards, sketches, scripts and animation solution. The surrounding of old TV sets, vintage cassettes and vinyl records lets you listen to all the lullabies and songs from your childhood that set you off on the amazing, nostalgic journey. There are even packaged sweets that no longer exist on the market, along with boardgames, books and magazines. Toy enthusiast will also find plenty of vintage toys ranging from mechanical to cuddly ones; there are also puzzles and some old computer games. Visitors with great passion for collecting can admire a huge selection of stamps, postcards with cartoon heroes, envelopes and pendants. The Museum also has its own screening room where animation films can be watched.

You don’t really want to leave once you enter the Museum and are thrown back to your childhood. We have found another time-machine – it’s in Rzeszow and we encourage everyone to give their inner child some quality time!