WARSAW, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of thousands of Poles are expected to visit museums and other cultural institutions on Museum Night on Saturday, in an event drawing ever bigger crowds every year.
"I'm inviting you to the town hall, where you can see my modest office, and if anyone wants to sit in the mayor's chair, this will be possible," Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski said at the end of April during a press conference announcing this year's Warsaw Museum Night taking place on Saturday under the patronage of the municipality.
Over 260 institutions are scheduled to take part in the Warsaw event and hundreds of others will join across the country. In Warsaw alone, over 200,000 visitors took part in Museum Night in 2018, and organizers expect more to attend this year.
Museum Night is a cultural event in which museums and other cultural institutions stay open during the night, inviting visitors to come in free of charge and participate in special activities, with the goal of making culture accessible and attractive to more people.
The first such event took place in Berlin, Germany, in 1997, and since then the concept has spread to hundreds of cities in Europe and beyond. The first Warsaw Museum Night took place in 2004, with 11 institutions involved.
In the Polish capital, this year's topic is the 30th anniversary of the first free elections in 1989, and many institutions are preparing events related to this topic.
"In four places in Warsaw -- at the National Museum, the History Meeting House, the Warsaw Prague Museum and the Warsaw Center of Architecture -- we will bring a movie gift to the visitors which on this night are roaming around the city," Dagmara Goldzinska, from the Andrzej Wajda Center of Cinematographic Culture, one of the institutions participating for the first time this year in the Museum Night, told Xinhua.
"We invite people to stop for a second and watch selected archival materials which show the atmosphere of life in Warsaw before the changes in 1989. There was a time when news chronicles were opening every movie showing in Polish cinemas, so in the same way we want to open the Museum Night with such chronicles. While waiting in line to get into the museums, people won't just be sitting around or scrolling on their phones, but they can watch the archival material."
With the increasing popularity of the event, a broad array of Warsaw institutions are opening their doors to people on Museum Night, including governmental bodies, science centers, heating plants and even a chocolate factory -- a wildly popular choice for kids.
To further attract visitors, the Warsaw municipality this year launched an app and a special transport map for the event, and offered free lemonade made with Warsaw tap water -- whose consumption the municipality has been encouraging for environmental reasons -- to those in need of a break. A parade of old-fashioned buses is also scheduled to take place on Saturday.