The oldest record on the Crane as a wooden port lift comes from 1367. Its today’s appearance refers to the image from the mid 15th century.
The first wooden lift burned completely in the fire of 1442. The new lift was built in the years 1442-1444. It was of defence character. It was composed of two brick towers with a wooden lifting mechanism installed between them. The reloading device was composed of two pairs of wooden wheels operated by port workers. The lift was used for installing masts and reloading of cargoes. It also served as the city gate. The Crane remained the property of the city, and was administered by the crane master.
The Crane was destroyed as a result of war in 1945 – the wooden structure burned completely, and about 60% remained from the brick part. It was reconstructed after the war, and transferred to the Polish Maritime Museum.
The interiors of the Crane currently feature thematic exhibitions related to the life of the Gdańsk port. Since 2003, visitors can also enter the lift mechanism. For the safety of workers and fire provisions, the Museum does not permit launching the mechanism.
The building adjacent to the Crane, visible in the 16th century drawings, served as a granary. In the 19th century, it was converted into a residential object, and after the 2nd World War, a city heating station was built here. In the 1970’s, the heating station buildings were taken over by the Polish Maritime Museum. Their interiors were adapted as offices and exhibition rooms. The building is currently called the Colonial Collection.
In the upcoming years, the Polish Maritime Museum intends to open the Maritime Culture Centre here, construct an additional building on the side of Hotel Hanza, and harmonise the entire elevation in accordance with the historic urban study.
“Gdańsk from the 16th to the 18th century – the life of a port city”
The exhibition shows the radiant image of life in former Gdańsk, concentrating around the Motława River right at the Crane, where cargos from the inside of the country were transported along the Vistula River and its tributary. Visitors can familiarise with navigation in the Gdańsk port, see what the first lighthouses in Świnoujście and Nowy Port looked like. They can see waterfronts, pile tax office charging tax for the stay of vessels in the port, currency exchange office, and a representative living room in a tenement house in Gdańsk.
Various goods were traded with in Gdańsk. They particularly included: cereals, stored from autumn waiting for spring price increases, wood, salt, herring, wine and beer, wool and silk, canvas and fur, and crafts and artworks. Gdańsk was also a large shipbuilding centre. One of the exposition rooms holds craft workshops producing goods for the purposes of boat-building: rope makers, mast makers, sail makers, charcoal burners, and anchor makers.
“Boats from all around the world”
The collection of exotic boats exhibited in the rooms of the Colonial Collection features almost 40 objects from all continents. It was gathered due to the generosity of the captains and officers of the Polish Ocean Lines, as well as Polish foreign institutions. The objects include models of boats and rafts typical of different cultures, made of different materials with the application of different methods. You can see dugout boats, boats made of reed, papyrus, woven boats, and those made of tree bark and leather. Visitors can trace their development from the birth of the billing boat strengthened with ribs.
Another part of the exhibition presents the evolution of application of drives. You can see boats “pushed” with paddles, those with paddles on rowlocks, and those using the driving force of the wind.
Here are two examples from this exotic collection:
Dugout boat dihenge, Kribi, Kamerun
The smallest of the dugout boats (length below 4 m, width below 40 cm). Due to their microscopic appearance they are called mosquito canoes. They are made from the trunk of very light umbrella tree, and they are carried on the head. Keeping balance in such a boat at sea requires keeping the legs outside on both sides.
Fishing boat “gal bumak”, area of Dakar, Senegal
The largest of our boats, with a length of more than 14.5 m and width of 2 m. It was retrieved from the sea by the crew of PLO “Zambrów” at the coast of Senegal. Last names written on the sides permitted its identification as a boat belonging to fishermen from the tribe of Lebu, having their settlements in the area of the capital city of Senegal - Dakar. Apart from extending the basic dugout structure with several panels, it is characterised by protruding “horns” on both ends. Like other Senegalese boats of the type, the inscriptions are accompanied by colourful boards and magical protection in the form of charms made from goat horns suspended on the bow. The boats were originally driven by a sail. Nowadays, an engine is installed on the well on the stern.
Source: Polish Maritime Museum
From 1 March to 30 June
Saturday, Sunday, and holidays10:00-16:30
From 1 July to 04 September
Saturday, Sunday, and holidays10:30-18:30
Adult - 6 PLN, reduced - 4 PLN
Ticket to all objects in Gdańsk (Granaries, Crane, “Sołdek”) including return ferry transfer:
Adult - 14 PLN, reduced - 8 PLN
Ferry transfer: 1 PLN single
Group of up to 30 persons - 15 PLN, group of more than 30 persons - 20 PLN
in a foreign language (English, Russian):
Group of up to 30 persons - 20 PLN, group of more than 30 persons - 40 PLN
Booking: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. 058 301 86 11 ext. 431, 400
Taking photographs/filming by visitors:
Each person taking photographs/filming objects: for one object - 5 PLN, for all objects of the Polish Maritime Museum in Gdańsk: 10 PLN.
The Crane holds the ticket office and a souvenir shop.
In summer, the room on the ground floor features an open Colonial Shop with a rich offer of aromatic tea, coffee, spices, and dried fruit.
The building of the Colonial Collection holds the ticket office and a souvenir shop also selling publications and silver and amber products.