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Orders and decorations occupy a prominent place in the collection of the Polish Army Museum. The set numbers about 10 000 artefacts, the oldest dating back over 300 years, to the beginning of the 18 th century, and the most recent to the 21st century, the modern day. Since orders and decorations are rewards granted by the Country for acts of courage and merits perfomed in Her service, the collection includes artefacts made of precious metals and linked to famous historical figures, in many cases to national heroes. Half of the collection contains Polish badges of honour; the rest are orders and decorations awarded by other countries.
On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Polish Army Museum and on the 100th anniversary of the restitution of the Military Order of Virtuti Militari, we place in readers hands the second volume of our series Treasures of the Polish Army Museum: Polish Orders and Decorations, 18th - 19th Century. Though most of the featured artefacts belong to one of only three orders: The Order of the White Eagle, the Order of St. Stanislaus and the Order of Virtuti Militari, they are crucial to the definition and history of our statehood, unanimously related to the shaping, defence of and struggle for independed Poland.