“Invisible. Stories of Warsaw Servants” is an exhibition that can already be seen at the Museum of Warsaw. It consists of 400 objects and hitherto unknown intimate stories from the life of Varsovians at the beginning of the 20th century.
– This is the first exhibition about forgotten women and the role of homework. Their service touched the most intimate aspects of the lives of many generations of Warsaw residents and women, said Aldona Machnowska-Góra, vice-president of Warsaw, about the exhibition.
Warsaw, serving the main heroines of the story
As the organizers explain, at the beginning of the 20th century, about 40,000 young women in Warsaw cleaned, cooked and washed hundreds of apartments each year. Their work touched on the most intimate aspects of the lives of many generations of Warsaw residents and women. They were at the back of everyday life, and until recently they were also marginalized by historians who – if they noticed them – described them at best as a group included in the statistics supplementing the main data.
“The layout of the exhibition reflects the path that the servant has traveled since her arrival in Warsaw, through job search and daily duties. The next parts of the exhibition refer to relations with the employers, the activities of trade unions and philanthropic organizations for domestic workers, and the image of the servants in the press or in advertising. The last part of the exhibition presents various perspectives of the approach to homework after 1945 and the comments of contemporary female artists “, encourages the museum.
The exhibition reverses the established historical narrative, making the servants the main protagonists of the story. It focuses on servants of everything – girls with no clear specialization, most willingly employed by middle-class burghers in the interwar period.
The exhibition will run until March 20, 2022. It will be accompanied by family workshops, museum lessons, film screenings, lectures and debates.
Main photo source: UM Warsaw