The Museum of the University of Warsaw continues the tradition of collecting, developing and sharing collections that have associated with the university since its first years of existence. The Royal University of Warsaw was established in 1816 and consisted of five faculties with more than 20 scientific cabinets and artistic collections. They served various purposes such as research, teaching, and dissemination of information. The cabinets were located in different university buildings, however, the collection belonging to the Fine Arts Department gained a very special position due to itsprominence of plaster patterns in the monumental Column Hall. The headquarters of this branch – today the building of the Historical Institute – was traditionally named the Museum Building. As it was planned to house other art collections in addition to plaster figures: oil paintings, drawings, and architectural models. The collections of the Royal University of Warsaw became the foundation for the creation of the Museum of Fine Arts, which over the years has evolved into the National Museum in Warsaw.
Referring to its tradition, the university established its museum in 1980. Its main purpose is to take care of the collection, intellectual and cultural heritage of the university, by collecting monuments related to its history and organising activities commemorating its achievements. Initially, the university collections were exhibited in the Kazimierzowski Palace, in 2000, they were transferred to the classicist Tyszkiewicz-Potocki Palace at Krakowskie Przedmieście 32. From January 2016, the exhibition “Eagle and five stars of the University” is available for visitors in the Table Room in the Palace. The exhibition was inaugurated on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the University of Warsaw and is dedicated to the birth of the university.
The University of Warsaw Museum also hosts exhibitions and publishing activities. Temporary exhibitions are regularly presented in the lobby of the Old Library building, the outdoor exhibitions are presented in Krakowskie Przedmieście and in the Column Hall, where some of the plaster casts of the former study room were exhibited.