The history of the kayak and canoeing
The history of the kayak and canoeing.
The first kayak races on the Vistula River took place in 1896 but it was not until the 1920s that canoeing took off in Poland. It was gradually becoming a very popular way of spending leisure time. Therefore, The Polish Maritime Museum in Gdańsk prepared an exhibition the purpose of which was to present as many components of the broad area of canoeing as possible. Having entered the exposition one can make themselves acquainted with the history of canoeing in Poland, briefly described on wall charts. Opposite the entrance there is a kayak in sail Poświt, built in the interwar period in Poland. However, one should be aware of the fact that before canoes appeared in Poland, they had long been used in other parts of the world. For this reason, we decided to place original exposits among pillars: an Eskimo kayak as well as a Canadian canoe made of bark plus two cane rafts as examples of other small sailing vessels.
The majority of kayaks and canoes presented at the exhibition are situated along the windows. To the right of the entrance we can see tourist kayaks; stiff, wooden, made in Poland (except Canadian canoe). They are arranged in chronological order – beginning from a kayak built before the Second World War, designed by Marian Pluciński, to those produced in the 1960s in Poland. On the left we can see different kayaks – modern, plastic, sports ones. A wooden sports kayak is suspended above the exposition. Sports kayaks are narrower, less comfortable, but much faster than the safe tourist ones. Behind sports kayaks there are folding kayaks, whose transition stage – carcass – is suspended above the exposition.
Canoeing is mainly people who have very often dedicated all their lives to it. Thus, the exposition presents two galleries: the gallery of new canoeing routes, authors of guidebooks, carers of teenagers, activists of canoeing organisations (in the alcove behind the green curtain) as well as the gallery of canoeing sportspeople prepared by the Polish Canoeing Association (on either side of the entrance). The gallery is completed by trophies (cups) won by canoeists of long standing.
In display cases situated at the rear of the exposition we can see books and magazines essential for the development of canoeing, guidebooks around canoeing routes plus stamps, medals and distinctions.
The exposition ends with a photographic display by Andrzej Michalczyk, entitled Kociewie and Kashubia – paradise for canoeists. It shows how beautiful the world is when seen from the kayak.
“The history of the kayak and canoeing”
The Vistula River Museum 27.06.2007 – 11.10.2009