With Poland thought to have the sixth largest diaspora in the world (the group is known as the Polonia and is thought to number over 20 million), the museum does an excellent job of explaining the various situations, political and economic, which have made people consistently leave Poland, to places like the USA, Australia and even Brazil.
The building which is the museum’s home is also particularly noteworthy. Located on the French Quay in Gdynia Port, the beautifully renovated Dworzec Morski (Marine Station) dates from the 1930s and is a wonderful example of the architecture that was in fashion as Gdynia expanded rapidly after WWI. The building became the main gateway to the world for Polish emigrants in the inter-war years.
The exhibition is set on the first floor of the building and despite starting rather disappointingly (we have no idea what the displays in the silver thing outside the exhibition entrance are trying to achieve), it gets much, much better very quickly. You enter the exhibition to the music of the Polish national anthem with its line ‘Poland has not yet perished. As long as we still live’, which wonderfully sums up both the battered history of this country and the spirit which has kept it alive as a nation. Skip past the first displays and their practically illegible descriptions and then take your time to wander through the exhibition which includes some wonderful personal memories and stories. The exhibition is larger than it appears at first, so give yourself 2-3 hours to enjoy it without rushing. Highly recommended, particularly if you are one of the Polonia which is something you can check as the museum is one of very places which has free access to Ancestry.com records for its visitors to do family searches on.
To get to the museum take bus number 119 (weekdays only) or 133 (check that the destination is Dworzec Morski - Emigration Museum) from the main train station (bus stop is actually on ul. Jana z Kolna) or bus 137 from the Batory Shopping Mall on ul. Armii Krajowej. Alternatively a taxi will cost about 20zł or you can walk there in 20 minutes from the city centre.
Show on map
Open 10:00-18:00. Closed Mon, Tue 12:00-20:00.