Starachowice, 32 km north-east of Kielce, was one of the key sites in the development in the early 19th century of the Starapolski Industrial Region by Stanislaw Staszic(1755-1826).
Charcoal-fired blast furnaces with bellows originally blown by water-power derived from the Kamienna river, were built in 1838-41. Coke was used after the construction of rail links with Russia in 1885, and the ‘big furnace’ of 1899 continued to produce pig iron until 1968. In the following decades local community initiatives led to the designation of a 7 ha open air museum, which includes the ‘big furnace’ with its Cowper stoves, a building housing a blowing engine of 1885, and parts of the original furnace complex of 1838-41, which was built in the classical style.
Since 2000 this has been a municipal museum, the Jana Pazdura Nature and Technological Museum, that takes its name from the pioneer of Industrial Archaeology in Poland who was above all the historian of the Starapolski Industrial Region.
Apart from the remains of the ironworks the museum also displays the history of the Star Truck Co that has produced heavy motor vehicles in Starachowice since 1948. The museum also interprets the ecology of the park.