Working the loom, treading in the oil mill, grinding grain in a quern. The clatter of the wings of a ptak-klepak (wooden bird toy) and the pounding of a hammer on an anvil. The mallets of the Pucheroki beat out the rhythm of life. The new year ritual of dziady noworoczne (New Year’s Eve tricksters), the bustle and noise of the springtime Rękawka celebration. Order and chaos, day and night, birth and death – the eternal circle of life coded in various cultural practices.

MEK’s permanent exhibition weaves together important moments in the lives of individuals and society. From a miniature of a child’s walker to a funeral shirt. The time of work is intertwined with celebratory time. On the one hand we recognise the effort of the ploughman on the field, the carpenter carving wood, the young shepherds grazing their sheep, and on the other: a family exchanging Christmas well-wishes, a wedding band and the evening conversations of spinners.

Learning about the ancient order of things is connected with self-discovery. While visiting the exhibition, pay attention to both the places you feel safe and those that demand you step out of your comfort zone. Experience the domestic atmosphere of the Podhale room, take a peek under the Christmas tree, remember your own childhood while viewing the painted eggs and the brightly-coloured birds. But also experience feelings of discomfort – let the sight of a sokha (shoulder plough) brought by repatriates evoke the drama of war. And when we see figurines of Jews amongst Easter toys, may we ask questions about our relationship to others.