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The renovation of the building in which Maria Skłodowska-Curie was born

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The renovation of the building in which Maria Skłodowska-Curie was born. Fot. E.Lach
The renovation of the building in which Maria Skłodowska-Curie was born. Fot. E.Lach

The building at 16 Freta St., in which Maria Skłodowska-Curie was born 149 years ago, is undergoing major renovation. After its completion, the building will once again host the museum dedicated to the Nobel Prize winner. The museum will be upgraded to provide educational services and enable access for people with disabilities.

The facility presenting the achievements of the great scientist will expand its resource. After the renovation, the visitors will be able to see the entire building from the attic to the basement, where conference rooms and temporary exhibitions will be located. The second floor will host the administration offices, while the first and ground floors will hold exhibit, reading and lecture rooms, as well as the ticket desk and the museum shop. In addition, the basement will hold the archive and museum collection storage space.
Once renovated and upgraded, the building will allow the museum to present the life and achievements of the famous Varsovian in a more engaging and modern fashion”, said Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Mayor of Warsaw. “The facility’s location happens to coincide with the sightseeing route of many excursions, thus far making the museum a well-attended establishment. In its new form, the museum will undoubtedly serve its purpose even better”.

What has been done so far?
The renovation of the building is at an advanced stage. So far, the roof truss has been partially replaced, with the rafters having been fully replaced; the roof has also been insulated, and now the tiles are being installed. Steel framing has been provided in the attic to create extra space for new rooms. On the east side of the roof, five new dormer windows have been installed, and on the front, two old ones have been remodeled. All of them have been roofed with copper sheet.
The building will receive a new dyed façade coating. The window-sill flashings, drainpipes, dormer windows, and balcony balustrade railing are to be made of copper. The window frames have already been replaced and new doors are to be installed soon. New wiring, plumbing, central heating and fire-protection systems have been installed in the entire building.

New quality museum
The future tenants of the building – the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum of the Polish Chemical Society – emphasise the fact that the upgraded building, with an increased usable floor area, will not only allow us to present the achievements of the renowned Nobel Prize winner but also to showcase the history of Polish chemistry, including the presentation of other distinguished scientists, such as Jędrzej Śniadecki and Ignacy Mościcki. After the renovation, the building will include a lecture and screening room, where films about Maria Skłodowska-Curie will be screened. The museum will also fulfil its educational role, as the renovated building will include a laboratory where classes for primary, lower and upper secondary-school pupils will be held. The museum will also have a recreated Parisian laboratory of the scholar and her husband. The Nobel Prize diplomas will be on display as well. However, the museum will focus not only on Ms Skłodowska's scholarly legacy, as it will also showcase the Warsaw of her youth and her family tree.
The project is scheduled to be completed in the autumn of 2016. The renovation cost is estimated at PLN 4,634,727.

UNESCO listing
The building was erected at the end of the 18th century. During World War II, it was destroyed, and later rebuilt in the 1950s. Freta Street is a uniformly developed area, rebuilt after the War, and located in the Warsaw Old Town complex, which constitutes the oldest part of Warsaw that was entered onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. Both the land and the building belong to the City of Warsaw.