The name Królikarnia dates back to the 17th century, when the park was set up as a zoo, to hunt for rabbits – a fashionable custom of the time. The Palace was designed by Domenico Merlini and built in the 1780s by the notorious gambler and rake Charles Thomatis, Count de Valery. Thomatis had come to Warsaw from Milan at the invitation of the King of Poland Stanisław August Poniatowski to run the King’s Theatre. Since then, owners, interior design and function of the palace have often changed. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times. In 1879, Królikarnia burnt to the ground. The reconstruction of the building, conducted by the Pusłowski family, was one of the pioneer achievements in the history of Polish restoration works. During the Warsaw Uprising, the palace was devastated once again. After the Second World War the estate was nationalised by the communist government. In 1948, it was decided that Królikarnia should be rebuilt to house the sculptures of Xawery Dunikowski – a prominent artist. The restoration of the ruined palace was finished in 1965, a year after Dunikowski’s death. This was the beginning of the Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture at the Królikarnia Palace.
In Królikarnia, are organized exhibitions, performances, meetings, conferences, film screenings, concerts, and outdoor events in a romantic park which surrounds the palace. The museum houses the country’s largest collection of sculpture, comprising works from the 15th century to the present day. Its program combines traditional museum exhibitions with experimental performances and unexpected happenings, such as concerts that begin at sunrise, a vegetable garden cultivated by the museum audience, or a mystic Muslim ritual celebrated among western European art exhibits.