The collection contains a photographic archive created in 1965-1980 as a result of field studies of the Polish ethnographic expedition in Mongolia. The research took place under an agreement between the Academies of Sciences of Poland and Mongolia and was the most extensive programme of ethnographic research conducted outside the country in the history of post-war Poland.
At the time, Polish researchers were among the few foreign ethnologists conducting regular research in Mongolia. The initiator and organiser of the project was Professor Witold Dynowski (1903-1986) – long-term head of the Department of Ethnography of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the entirety of the research was executed in cooperation with Mongolian scientists, as well as prominent experts in Mongolian culture.
As a result of the research covering most of Mongolia, especially its central and western part (a total of seven provinces), it was possible to collect a unique database containing information on the organisation of social life during the era of modernisation, customs and everyday life of Mongolian pastoral communities.
The collection consists of photographs taken by one of the most active participants of the expedition – Professor Sławoj Szynkiewicz, a long-term employee of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology PAN and an outstanding researcher of the Mongolian culture. The archive documents the details of pastoral life, focusing on topics such as: habitation, household and farm work, ritual management of the surrounding space, ceremonial observances in family life and the rituals of annual celebrations. The photographs, provided with an extensive commentary are not only a summary of the expeditionary work presented from a perspective of over 50 years ago, but also a form of auto-ethnographic narration supported by notes and publications from the past, as well as those from the present day.