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The   General   Sikorski   Historical   Institute   was   called   into   being   on   2nd   May   1945   when   an   agreement   between   Helena   Sikorska   and members   of   the   organising   committee   was   signed.   By   this   agreement   Gen.   Sikorski's   widow   donated   her   husband's   papers   and   memorabilia   to the   new   Institute. The   committee's   task   was   to   take   care   of   them   and   organise   an   institution   bearing   her   husband's   name.   Its   task   was   to   facilitate research   into   Gen.   Sikorski's   career   and   his   times.   The   Organising   Committee   formed   the   Institute's   first   Council.   At   its   head   stood   the   Earl   of Elgin and Kincardine, Chairman of the Polish-Scottish Society. The   main   initiative   to   set   up   such   an   institution   came   from   Gen.   Sikorski's   Chef   de   Cabinet   Lt.   Col.   Zygmunt   Borkowski,   who   was   also Head of the Military Archive and Museum Service between 1944 and 1948. He became the Institute's first director, a post he held until 1956. From   a   legal   point   of   view   the   Institute   was   organised   as   a   Trust   and   later   received   charity   status.   To   avoid   any   pressure   from   either   the British   Government   or   the   communist   regime   in Warsaw   it   was   decided   not   to   establish   the   Institute   by   a   decision   of   either   the   legal   President   of Poland or the Polish Goverment then residing in London. During   the   first   meeting   of   the   Institute's   Council   on   13th   December   1945   at   the   Dorchester   Hotel,   Colonel   Stanisław   Szurlej   reminded his   listeners   of   "similar   Polish   institutions   such   as   the   Polish   Library   in   Paris   and   the   Polish   Museum   in   Rapperswil   and   that   their   common   aim in   the   collecting   of   historical   documents   witnessing   Poland's   contribution   to   worldwide   culture   in   general,   and   as   far   as   this   Institute   is concerned   specially   to   the   period   of   the   Second   World   War.   The   Institute   has   been   named   after   General   Sikorski,   as   the   basis   of   its   collections are   the   General's   memorabilia   donated   by   Helena   Sikorska   the   Generals's   widow   as   well   as   the   fact   that   the   General's   name   is   inextricably entwined   with   Poland's   role   in   the   war,   side   by   side   with   the   British   and   American   allies.   These   same   reasons   are   the   cause   of   Madame Sikorska's special privileges in the Institute”.
Ceremony of laying down the Regimental   Colours in the Museum at Prince's Gate: - Colour Parties formed up in Prince's Gate - Prelate Reverend W. Cieński with the Institute's  chairman Profesor St. Stroński - General Władysław Anders and General   Stanisław Kopański
History
In   1946   number   20   Prince's   Gate,   Kensington   was   purchased   to   house   the   collections.   On   9   July   1947   the   Reverend   W.   Cieński, Chaplain-in-Chief   of   the   2nd   Polish   Corps,   blessed   the   building   following   which   the   regimental   colours   of   the   Polish   Armed   Forces   were ceremoniously trooped in, to hang alongside the colours of various pre war regiments. In   1965   the   General   Sikorski   Historical   Institute   and   the    Polish   Research   Centre   (established   in   London   in   1939)   amalgamated   to form   The   Polish   Institute   and   Sikorski   Museum.   In   1970   the   Polish   Regimental   Colours   Fund was   set   up   with   the   aim   of   safeguarding   and   conserving   the   colours   as   well   as   the   building itself. In   1973   the   Polish   Historical   Institute   (previously   known   as   the   Historical   Commission of   the   former   General   Staff)   became   an   autonomous   part   of   the   Institute.   Its   task   remained   to write   and   publish   military   historical   books   about   the   role   of   the   Polish   Armed   Forces   in particular   during   the   Second   World   War.   The   Commission   under   several   (changing)   names, was   active   until   its   winding   up   in   2006.   In   1979   the   Institute   was   one   of   the   main   instigators   of the    permanent    Libraries,    Museums    and    Archives    Conference,    a    forum    for    co-operation between various Polish academic institutions in exile.    
Sir Winston Churchill, visiting the Institute     and the Museum on the 5th July 1949.
HRH Prince Charles visiting the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in 1989.
The President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Wałęsa at the Institute with the children of the volunteer staff, 1991.
In   1988   the   Polish   Underground   Movement   (1939-1945)   Study   Trust   amalgamated   with   the   Institute.   Whilst   losing   its   separate   legal status, it was granted internal autonomy in its daily aims and activities.
The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum is divided into the following departments and sub departments: - The Archives - The Museum (which also has responsibility for) - the Photographic Archive - the Film Archive - the Sound Archive - The Reference Library - Administration - Publications - Regimental Colours Fund - Membership is divided into: - Honorary Members (chosen by the AGM) - Full Members (chosen by the Council) - Life Members (single donation of £100 and above) - Members (regular annual donation, £5 and above)
The     Primate     of Poland,     Cardinal Józef    Glemp,    in conversation   with the    Chairman    of the             Institute Captain     Ryszard Dembiński          in 1985.
The Institute is governed by the Council which elects the Executive Committee from its members who run the day to day business of the Institute. At the head of the Council and Executive Committee is the Chairman. During the Institute's 64 years of existence it has had six chairmen: - Prof. Stanisław Stroński PhD (1945-1951) - Lt. Gen. Prof. Marian Kukiel PhD (1951-c.1965) - Count Edward Raczyński PhD (c.1965-1976) - Stanisław Leśniowski Msc (1977-1979) - Capt. Ryszard Dembiński (1979-2003) - Krzysztof Barbarski CEng (2004-
The      President      of      the      Republic      of      Poland Aleksander    Kwaśniewski    and    Madame    Jolanta Kwaśniewska,   during   their   visit   to   the   Institute   in October 1996.
Visiting   the   Institute   and   the   Museum   in   September   2008,   from   the   left:   Lieutenant   Colonel   Stanisław Żurakowski   (long   standing   member   of   the   Institute's   voluntary   staff),   Polish   Minister   of   Defence   Bogdan Klich,   Polish   Military   Attache   in   London,   Colonel   Krzysztof   Szymański,   Current   Chairman   of   the   Institute Krzysztof Barbarski, Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces General Franciszek Gągor.
The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum