The present design of the palace corresponds with the scientific work taking place within its premises. The interiors of the Staszic Palace become available to visitors during cultural events, such as Science Picnics, Museum Nights, Archives Picnics, open lectures, and tours of the building.
On the second floor, you can enjoy a collection of sculptures by Zofia Wolska, entitled The Prominent Polish Scientists, dating from 1979 to 1980. According to Jerzy Madeyski, this series is more frugal in its expression (and more difficult to execute) than the artist’s earlier chisel work, People of the Kielce Region. The collection of exhibits includes sculptures of the heads of Oskar Lange (economist, 1904-1965), Florian Znaniecki (sociologist, 1882-1958), Jan Dembowski (biologist, 1889-1963), Wojciech Rubinowicz (physicist, 1889-1974), Wojciech Świętosławski (chemist, 1881-1968), Tadeusz Hobler (chemist, 1899-1975), Eugeniusz Pijanowski (chemist, 1906-1974), Ludwik Hirszfeld (physician, 1884-1954).
In the first-floor lobby, near the Round Table Hall, are two paintings depicting members of the 19th-century Warsaw Society of the Friends of Learning and the 20th-century Warsaw Scientific Society. The 1915-1916 oil on canvas painting by Bronisław Kopczyński, “Granting a Diploma to Onufry Kopczyński for Polish Language Grammar”, depicts the scene of the 1816 medal award ceremony for Onufry Kopczyński, painted as by his grandson’s imagination. The painting portrays the interior of the Piarist Fathers’ library on Miodowa Street, where the Warsaw Society of Friends of Learning gathered before the Society moved to tenements on Kanonia Street and then to a building on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street.
The painting by Stanisław Lentz, Under the Sign of Staszic (Portrait of Members of the Warsaw Scientific Society), on the opposite wall, is a group portrait with evidence of Dutch art influence. In 1912, the artist was awarded the first prize for this work in a contest for a piece dedicated to Polish culture. The contest was organized by the Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts.
Adjacent to the mezzanine is a brick plaque commemorating the members of the Warsaw Scientific Society who died and were killed in the years 1939-1945. On the stairs in the main hall is a bust of Staszic cast in Białogon in 1931 from his death mask which, according to Jan Główka, may have been made by Vincentini; and also based on a model prepared by Paweł Maliński. Busts cast from the same model can also be found in other places in Poland, e.g. on the grave of Staszic in the Bielany district of Warsaw.
In the days of the building’s splendor (1823-1831), the first-floor halls were interconnected by offices and gallery passageways, where the assemblies and paintings belonging to the collection of the Warsaw Society of the Friends of Learning were exhibited. Today, this kind of exhibition area is mainly represented by the first-floor lobby, while individual solutions referring to the Corazzian style can be appreciated both in the public space and in the interiors of conference rooms.
Historical palace interiors
The first open meeting in the palace was held in 1824 (the first closed meeting of the Warsaw Society of Friends of Learning members had been held in the building in 1823). The public who came to the palace designed to be the “home” of the Society had a chance to visit the offices, galleries, and museum spaces.
A compelling architectural solution, the first in Poland at the time, was the Italian-style staircase at the side of the lobby and made of local Chęciny marble. Both the floor and the handrail with the balustrade were a well thought-out piece of the interior architecture. The Corazzi arrangement of the staircase was abolished when the palace was reconstructed into an Orthodox church and a middle school with a boarding school, designed by Vladimir Pokrovsky, and the staircase was moved to the axis of the building by the southern wall; through the staircase, a direct connection between the hall and the church on the second floor was established. The present staircase shape represents a solution introduced during the 1920s building restoration directed by Marian Lalewicz. Preserved, partially, in its main structure and augmented with a communication junction in front of the Hall of Mirrors by Piotr Biegański in the course of the post-war reconstruction, it is now a constituent of the historic space.
In the nineteenth-century edifice, along with the library collections and the artefacts bequeathed to the Warsaw Society of Friends of Learning by General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, there were also vast collections belonging to an assortment of fields and a diary of the past, as well as sculptures, works of art, and archaeological objects. The selection of objects and exhibits presented in individual rooms was by no means random; the library was designed by Fryderyk Skarbek; the armory and the Dąbrowski Hall were of design by Zygmunt Vogel; the design of the Copernicus monument was consistent with the concept of work of the Warsaw Society of Friends of Learning. Artefacts and items carried meanings and provided collections valuable to Polish culture, not seldom featured as symbols within the walls of the the Staszic Palace.