The letter of intent on the establishment of Centre for Science and Education was signed by Deputy President of the Institute of National Remembrance Dr. Paweł Ukielski and Witold Gerlicz, a plenipotentiary of the owner of the building - the European Institute in Lódź. The ceremony was attended by, among others, Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage; Zbigniew Rau, Governor of Łódź; Hanna Zdanowska, President of Łódź, Prof. Antoni Dudek, Chairman of the Institute of National Remembrance and Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, a longtime chairman of the European Institute in Łódź.
„This is the biggest project of the IPN planned for the coming years. We want to make it possible for the young people to learn about the latest Polish history in an attractive way in the very centre of Lódź.. We want a history lesson about the Soldiers Accursed, everyday life in Communist Poland and struggle of „Solidarity" with the Communist power to be not only attractive, but also original. Thanks to us young people will be able to move in time," says Deputy President of the IPN Dr. Paweł Ukielski.
The building itself, now earmarked for the new institution, has its own story. It was built in the late nineteenth century by the industrialist Henryk Birnbaum. In the interwar period it housed the German consulate. After Hitler came to power in 1933, violent anti-German demonstrations took place in front of the building.
The modern Interactive Historical Education Centre will occupy three floors. Instead of the usual exhibition, the IPN wants to create an exhibition with elements of a game. The game involves participants emotionally and they can remember more afterwards. The project coordinator of this „game-show" will be Karol Madaj, the author of twelve educational games of the IPN, including the bestselling „Queue”. „Mechanisms of this unusual game haven't been designed yet. We will definitely be inspired by solutions used in the popular recently real life room escape. This is the kind of adventure game, transferred from the computer to the real world. The goal of this popular game is solving puzzles in order to find a way out of the locked room. Our game will have an educational aspect as well,” said Karol Madaj.
Each room, like a time machine, is intended to transfer participants to the historical reality, which will allow them not only to touch everything, but also to understand the events from the past. The background for the mission will be real historical events and scenery. After „being released, players, with the help of an educator, will be able to summarize and draw conclusions from their experience. „We hope that the accompanying emotions of the game will make it possible to remember this event and the conclusions drawn from it for a long time,” said Karol Madaj.
Similarly like in board games, a team will be appointed in order to provide professional development of a given topic, both in terms of substance, and graphics. The work team will be supervised by the council composed of the President of the IPN Dr. Łukasz Kamiński, Head of the Institute of National Remembrance's Council Prof. Antoni Dudek and Director of Public Education Office Dr. Andrzej Zawistowski and Deputy Director of the Public Education Office Kamila Sachnowska. President of the Institute entrusted direct supervision of the project to his Deputy - Paweł Ukielski.
The centre is designed primarily for students. After school hours it will be open to individual visitors.
In the coming weeks the IPN plans to announce a contest for the name the interactive educational centre. In the spring we plan to start a nationwide collection of items that could be used as exhibits.