Muzeum Przyrodnicze Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego - 200 lat i co dalej?`
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Abstract. The Władysław Rydzewski Museum of Natural History, University of Wrocław (MNHW) is among the oldest museums of its kind in Poland and the largest such museum being part of university in our country. It was established in 1814 as the University’s Zoological Museum on the initiative of J.L.C. Gravenhorst, the first zoology professor in Wrocław. 2014 is the Museum’s 200. anniversary. During almost half of its history it was located in the halls of the University’s Main Building. Since 1904, it occupied its present location at 21 Sien- kiewicza street, and additionally, since 2004 it acquired a new Herbarium building where also the entomological collections were transferred. The Museum’s biological collections, which were among the richest in Europe, suffered greatly during World War II; in all, half of the zoological collections and nearly two thirds of the herbarium were lost. Despite the losses, the collection is the second largest in Poland. After the war, under the Polish government, the Museum remained part of the University and its significance increased. In 1974 it became the present-day Museum of Natural History, of a rank of research institute. Two years later, having fused with the Herbarium and the former Botanical Museum, and having taken over the old and valuable plant collections, the Museum acquired its present structure and status. The main spiritus movens of the organisation changes and post-war scientific development was the Museum’s director of 1963–1980, professor W. Rydzewski. In recognition of his merits, since 1985 the Museum bears his name.
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