Nonprofit organizations relating to historical properties in Poland

Detail from the panorama of Kraków in “Civitates Orbis Terrarum” (1617)

Poland is home to many nonprofit organizations dedicated to caring for historic stately homes and post-industrial buildings. Many such organizations are local in scope, focusing on the preservation or restoration of a particularly beloved property. Other organizations have a regional or national scope. For example:

  • One of the oldest and most esteemed nonprofit membership organizations supporting the preservation and restoration of historical buildings is the Society for the Care of Historical Properties (Towarzystwo Opieki and Zabytkami), or TOnZ. It was founded in 1974 by Prof. Stanisław Lorentz, head of the National Museum in Warsaw and a former conservator of historical buildings, as a successor to the Society for the Care of Artifacts of the Past (Towarzystwo Opieki and Zabytkami Przeszłości) that had existed from 1906-1944. Today, TOnZ includes regional branches active throughout Poland, with membership open to all Polish citizens who are interested in the preservation of cultural heritage.
  • Among the most active nonprofit organizations supporting the preservation and restoration of historical buildings is the Foundation for the Rescue of Historical Properties and Monuments of Nature (Fundacja Ratowania Zabytków i Pomników Przyrody), founded in 1995, which is based in Poznań and active across Poland. The foundation’s Initiatives include robust volunteer programs, an adopt-a-property program, a “Social Care for Historical Properties” program, an “S.O.S for Historical Properties” intervention program for endangered properties, and the organization of activities connected with the annual World Heritage Day on April 18. It also offers a wide range of specialized management, legal, educational, advancement, and conservation services to support the historical preservation operations of local governments.
  • The Historical Monuments & Art Conservators Association (Stowarzyszenie Konserwatorów Zabytków) is an organization that brings together conservators and experts from other related disciplines with the aim of supporting and inspiring historical preservation efforts; promoting high ethical, scholarly, and professional standards within the field of historical preservation; advancing interdisciplinary collaboration; and promoting an appreciation for national and international cultural heritage. It was founded in 1980 and has twelve regional branches around the country.