The Polish Center is grateful to Krystyna Slowikowska Farley, of New Britain, Connecticut, for the donation of her personal collection of Polish costumes. Visitors to the museum can see the display of thirty-two costumes on the third floor. For a country of modest size, traditional regional dress of Poland is remarkably rich in number and variety of designs, as well as use of color and pattern. The costumes in this collection are just a few examples of countless regional varieties. Historically, Poland has always been a nation of extraordinary cultural diversity and this is evident in the bountiful nature of its regional dress. History, geography, climate, local economic conditions, as well as social status played a significant role in shaping fashions of the countryside.
The gallery features folk costumes from:
• Greater Poland
• Kielce Włoszczowskie
• Silesian Beskids
• Upper and Lower Silesia
• Lachy Sądeckie
• Lublin Region
• Rzeszów Region
• West and East Kraków
About Krystyna Slowikowska Farley:
Krystyna (Stachowicz) Slowikowska Farley was born in 1925 in the village of Orlopol, Krzemieniec Poland. Her journey to America began with a brutal act of ethnic cleansing of Poles and Jews in her home town of Orlopol, Poland (now Ukraine) on February 10, 1940. The Stachowicz family, Krystyna, her mother and father and four siblings were deported to a Soviet slave labor camp in the Ural Mountains in the north of Russia. Packed into a single freight car with 60 other people, the family managed to survive to reach its destination 30 days later. Her mother did not survive the harsh realities of brutal exile while one of her sisters went missing, never to be found.
Siberian exile ended for the Stachowicz family when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Krystyna made her way to Teheran (Iran) across the Caspian Sea picking cotton in Uzbekistan, along with many other Polish refugees looking to eventually join the Polish II Corps in the Middle East. She joined the army at age 17 and made her way to Palestine and Egypt before being transferred to Italy, where she worked as a nurse’s aide during the Battle of Monte Cassino. At the end of the war, Krystyna reunited in England with what remained of her family.
While in England, she organized recitals, theatrical presentations and dances in the Polish community. She continued promoting Polish cultural events after arriving in America in 1955. Working as a dental hygienist and raising five children did not deter her from expressing her passion and deep devotion to her heritage. She is a co-founder of the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford and an esteemed member of the community. In addition, Krystyna assisted in organizing the Ms. Senior Connecticut Pageant for a number of years. In 2001, she was selected 1st Runner Up and in 2016 she was awarded the title of Ms. Senior Connecticut. Also in 2016, Krystyna and her husband, Ed Farley, were invited by the Polish Government to participate in the 72nd Celebration of the Victory at Monte Cassino.