On April 30, 2005, we opened the Museum of Minerals and Fossils in Św. Katarzyna, in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains. We have made it available to visitors from around the world, from our private, more than 20 years old collection. We have always been interested in minerals. But each one of us is a little different. Husband as a child collected fossils in limestone quarries. I was fascinated by Leśmian klechdas, dreamed of great expensive jewels like from the tales of One Thousand and One Night. Dad, a geologist often took me on trips to the surrounding mountains where we were looking for minerals and rocks. I had my little collection of Świętokrzyskie stones supplemented with specimens from the world bought on Kielce mineral shows. Still, I was more interested in precious stones, crystals and their secrets. True passion gatherer developed on the geographic studies, during the practice of geology, both husband and I (as yet separately) collected specimens of rocks, minerals and fossils. Then (together) from each trip we brought a backpack full of “stones” partly found, partly purchased.
Each new specimen was a source of great joy to us, went to an honorable place in the house, and we read a lot of professional literature to know as much as possible. When the new minerals came in, the old ones went to the basement or to the attic. As it happens among hobbyists, we couldn’t resist increasing collection. When passion began to be dangerous for our wallet, we determined that hobby we have would combine with work, and maybe eventually start a museum. We focused on quality and not on the number of specimen. We were searching for rarity. As a result, at the expense of many material sacrifices we had at home a lot of so-called “museal” specimens, and in our minds a lot of professional knowledge needed to open the museum. By resigning from the previous work and beautiful apartment in Kielce, we risked buying a building, a former bakery in Św. Katarzyna, needing the general repair. We have adapted some of the rooms to the museum rooms, the stone shop, and the part to the apartment. In 2008 we expanded the museum to another hall devoted entirely to striped flint and made available for visitors a stone grnding atelier.
In 2010 we transformed the goldsmith’s studio and made it possible look at how jewelery is made, and called our company the Gallery “The Mystery of Jewels”.
In 2017 we expanded the museum by a few rooms and made a general renovation of the floors and the whole interior. We moved the stone grinding atelier to another more spacious place (unfortunately we can not watch the goldsmith’s studio anymore). Now we just have to repair the shop and the interior will be all renovated.
In the coming years we plan to change the roof, the facade and the fence. The building behind the bakery is so called. “Bottomless pit.” Although sometimes not everything is going well, we do not regret the hard work. It is rewarded to us by visitors who, in the majority, both laity and experts in geology or gemmology, are enchanted by the collection and do not spare words of appreciation. It is great to do what you like. Sometimes tourists ask why we chose Św. Katarzyna as the place to expose our collection.
To all concerned I answer:
Because it is a beautifully situated, quiet, peaceful spot in the center of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, in the season visited by many tourists, because of the wonderful St. Francis spring, a historic monastery of the St. Catherine, numerous hiking trails, i.a. the highest peak of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains – Łysica and many places of accommodation in local hotels and agritourism farms. We came here from Kielce for Sunday’s trips, we took our guests here, because we are spoiled for walks in the Zeromski Forest, after tasty dinners at local restaurants, and we are proud that the famous Łysica can be considered as “home mountain”.