Elbląg – Museum of Archaeology and History (Coat of Arms Epitaph from Blessed Virgin Mary Church)

This epitaph comes from the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Elbląg which is now an art gallery, but is now on display at the Museum of Archaeology and History in the city.  It’s carved out of wood with polychrome decoration and it dates from the seventeenth century. The museum doesn’t give information on who it commemorated or why it’s here and not still in the church. I know little about heraldry, but that’s the Prussian Eagle since it’s black, rather than the white Polish Eagle.

I mention this just because I like to see things that survive when a building is so badly destroyed, which the church was during the Second World War when there was a large fire. It seems unlikely that it was removed before the church was damaged, so this is perhaps one of the few items that avoided destruction. I’m guessing it was given to the museum at this stage to preserve it, which is why it never made its way back to the church.

And one thing I didn’t realise when writing about the museum is that although it was founded in 1954 in its current form, it has collections which date back to the original museum which was founded in 1864. They were fortunate to discover that the collections of that municipal museum had been moved by the Germans to a basement in Raków for safekeeping, so they didn’t have to start entirely from scratch with finding new exhibits.