From the 1 January 1950 Museum became a central museum of the Silesia region, as the Silesian Museum, to which museums of Wrocław and Opole voivodeships were subordinated. It was appointed to the rank of the National Museum on 21 November 1970.

The oldest collections stem from previous German museums and certain sacral objects of Wrocław and the Lower Silesia, as well as from Lvov collections conveyed to Poland in 1946 by the then Ukrainian authorities. Subsequently new collections were created, of the Polish contemporary art for instance; those already existing were completed too. The Museum holding encompasses over 120 thousand units of virtually all domains of art, ranging over mediaeval stone and wood sculpture, painting, drawing, prints and crafts, Silesian, Polish and foreign works of art. It houses also documents of Polish culture in Silesia from 19th and 20th century, an accumulation of books art interest and of photography as well as the collection of 20th century art.

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