Museums and Galleries

MUSEUM NETWORK

According to the Law on the Register of Enterprises, from 1 January 2004 cultural institutions must be registered in the Register of Legal Entities. On 1 January 2009, the Register of Legal Entities included 106 museums; on 1 August 2014, there were 118 museums of various legal forms included in the Register of Legal Entities.

At the start of 2016 the following 104 museums submitted the statistical reports of the established form to the Ministry of Culture:

4 national;
15 state;
56 municipal;
22 departmental;
7 public institutions / non-state-owned  museums.

16 museums, including 4 national and 12 state, fall within the purview of the Ministry of Culture.

National:

The National Museum of Lithuania  
The Lithuanian Art Museum
M.K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art
National Museum the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

Republican:

The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum 
Šiauliai Aušros Museum
Trakai History Museum
The Lithuanian Theatre, Music and Cinema Museum
Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum
The Lithuanian Aviation Museum
The Lithuanian Sea Museum
The Lithuanian Museum of Ethnocosmology
The Open Air Museum of  Lithuania
Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum
The Museum of Lithuanian Education History
The Samogitian  Museum Alka

Legal basis of museums

The Law on Museums of the Republic of Lithuania, a key document regulating the activity of Lithuanian museums, was adopted on 8 June 1995. The Law defines the fund of Lithuanian museums, establishes the system of Lithuanian museums, the procedure for the setting up and liquidation of museums, the accounting and protection of museum objects, funding and management mechanisms. To enhance the efficiency and quality of museums’ activity and improve museum legislation, on 23 December 2013 the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania passed an Amendment to the Law on Museums by introducing a five-year term of office for the directors of national and state museums. This is expected to increase museum managers’ responsibility for the implementation of the museum’s objectives, encourage managers to improve performance results and thus create conditions for better management of national museum collections and the improvement of the quality of services provided by museums, and encourage young promising specialists to pursue a career. The amendments to the Law provide for a capacity of chief curator acting as a museum’s deputy director responsible for the management of museum collections (protection, accounting and preservation). Earlier the responsibility of this capacity was regulated by an order of the Minister of Culture. To make the process of taking decisions on the appointment and dismissal a deputy director – chief curator – at municipal museums less complicated and more clear and to make this provision compatible with Subparagraphs  3 and 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article  9 of  the Law on Budgetary Institutions and Subparagraph 8 of Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law  on Local Self-Government, on  3 May 2016 the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania  passed an Amendment to the Law on Museums. The Law was supplemented with Article 71 by empowering a head of a national, state and municipal museum to confer the title of curator emeritus on museum workers with a solid professional experience, who were actively involved in work and creative activity but terminated their employment contract with a national, state and municipal museum. This article will become effective on 1 January of 2017.

On 25 February 2005, the Minister of Culture issued the Order No ĮV-66 on the approval of Regulations on Handing over Archaeological Finds Discovered during Archaeological Investigations of Immovable Cultural Heritage to Museums (as subsequently amended).

On 16 December 2005, the Minister of Culture issued the Order No ĮV-716 on the approval of the new version of Instruction on Protection, Accounting and Storage of Museum Collections. The Instruction specifies the procedure and terms of the protection, accounting, storage, restoration and use of museum objects and exhibits, the filing of museum objects and their grouping into the main, auxiliary and exchange funds of museums. The Instruction explains in detail the composition of a museum collection, the procedure for the compiling and use of a museum collection, the protection, accounting and storage of exhibits, as well as the duties and rights of museum workers responsible for the protection, accounting and storage of collections. Currently, the Instruction is the key document which is observed by museum workers in their everyday activity.

On 5 June 2012,  the Minister of Culture issued the Order No ĮV-405 on the approval of the new version of Regulations on the Certification Panel  of the Restorers of Cultural Objects, which define the classification categories as well as specialities and specializations of restorers, conservation, restoration and preventive conservation technologists of movable cultural property, the valuable characteristics of cultural heritage structures, and art immovable cultural heritage objects, describe the formation of an certification panel of movable cultural property restorers and the arrangement of its activity, and outline the procedure for the acceptance and certification of documents.

On 14 March 2007, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approved the Programme of Museum Modernisation for 2007-2015. The programme was designed with the aim of encouraging the upgrade of the museum infrastructure and stimulating the activity of museums. The programme is aimed at creating conditions for proper collection, storage, management, display and protection of cultural objects as well as educating society. For the implementation of this objective the programme sets a task to modernize a material basis of museums, update museum collections with new exhibits, restore museum objects, apply modern measures and technologies to actualize  the potential of the national cultural heritage and provide society with an opportunity to embrace digital cultural heritage and learn more about it. It should be noted that the Programme became invalid with the entry into force of the Resolution No 94 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania of 4 February 2015.

As part of the formation of state policy in the field of the management of museum activity and its implementation, coordination and control, on 16 April 2015 the Minister of Culture issued the Order No ĮV-247 on the approval of Strategic Guidelines of Museum Development 2015-2020The document was drafted by a working group comprised of the representatives of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Education Development Centre, the Faculty of Communication of Vilnius University and Lithuanian museums.

The Strategic Orientations were prepared taking into consideration the fact that the museum is not only a place for preserving the memory and carrying out research but also a place of cultural education, entrusted with the mission of promoting the development of society. So, the key strategic objective of this document  to meet cultural needs of the public in the context of the developing knowledge society by improving the conditions for raising of cultural literacy and civil education in museums, strengthening strategic management of museums, providing them proper conditions to collect, preserve, restore, research and promote heritage values, create positive image of museums, raise the prestige of a museum profession by increasing the value of museums to the society.

The Strategic Orientations outline the mission of museums – to COLLECT, PRESERVE, RESTORE, RESEARCH values of cultural, historic, nature and technical heritage, in a COMPREHENSIBLE and ATTRACTIVE manner and by using modern COMMUNICATION TOOLS, to present them to the public, forming human historic, cultural, social experience in line with COOPERATION, SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, COHERENCE and CULTURAL OPENNESS principles.

  • The contemporary museum  have been defined on the basis of the attitude, that today museums are not only memory preservation and study institutions, but also act as educational institutions, the mission of whose is related with the promotion of the society development.

The document includes five strategic orientations of museum development:

FIRST STRATEGIC GUIDELINE – to develop contemporary museum exhibitions shaping historic awareness, encouraging participation of the society in the cognitive process as well as representing national history and heritage.

SECOND STRATEGIC GUIDELINE – to strengthen educational activities of museums based on engaging, inclusive, creative teaching and learning principles with the synergy with formal, non-formal and in- formal education programmes, life-long learning and meeting the needs and expectations of different groups of the society.

THIRD STRATEGIC GUIDELINE – to pursue more efficient collecting, accounting, storing and promotion to the public of museum collections.

 

FOURTH STRATEGIC GUIDELINE – to enhance accessibility,  quality and marketing competitiveness of the services rendered and products provided by museums.

FIFTH STRATEGIC GUIDELINE – to encourage and consistently pursue building of skills and enhancement of qualification of the museum staff.

 

On 27 August 2008, the Minister of Culture issued the Order No ĮV-429 on the approval of the Regulations on the Evaluation of the Activity of Museums, which are aimed at determining whether museums are prepared to fulfil the objectives and functions set forth in the founding documents and provide quality services to museum visitors. The objectives of museum evaluation include the improvement of the quality of museum activity and the quality of services for provided to visitors, the vision of the museum as a democratic, open, live and appealing place design for providing cultural services, the recognition, application and popularization of good practice by supporting the activity of museums under conditions of competition and improving the image of museum in society.  Until 2012, museums participated in the evaluation process voluntarily. Three museums were evaluated: Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum, The Open Air Museum of Lithuania, and The Lithuanian Sea Museum.

To ensure the quality of museum activity and establish the quality level of the management of museum collections and services for visitors, on 4 October 2013 the Minister of Culture issued the Order No ĮV-698 on the approval of  the  new version of Regulations on the Evaluation of the Activity of Museums and set up an evaluation panel for carrying out the evaluation of the activity of museums within the competence of the Ministry of Culture on an annual basis in accordance with the approved list. In 2014, the activity of four museums whose owner’s rights and obligations are implemented by the Ministry of Culture (The Lithuanian Theatre, Music and Cinema Museum, The Samogitian Diocese Museum, The Lithuanian Museum of Ethnocosmology, The Museum of Lithuanian Education History) was evaluated. In 2015, five museums whose owner’s rights and obligations are implemented by the Ministry of Culture are expected to undergo evaluation.

As part of the implementation of the 3rd regulation of the national audit of the National Audit Office of the Republic of Lithuania No VA-P-50-1-20 on the Managing and Maintaining Movable Cultural Property of 5 December 2013 and seeking to speed up the process of establishing the actual value of exhibits, on 7 October 2015 the Minister of Culture issued the Order No ĮV-3 on the approval of the Methodology  for the Valuation  of Movable Cultural Property Stored at Museums  at the Actual Value. The Methodology establishes the procedure for the valuation at the actual value of acquired exhibits as well as exhibits that were registered in the records of tangible assets during the primary recognition at the symbolic value of one euro.

On 28 October 2008, the Minister of Culture issued the Order No ĮV-508 on the approval of Regulations on the Long-Term Professional Development of Museum Specialists . The budgetary institution of the Ministry of Culture – the Lithuanian Council for Culture – supports the projects of museum specialists’ professional development by providing part-financing.

The Ministry of Culture together with the ministries of culture of Latvia and Estonia every year arranges The Baltic Museology Summer School (www.bms.edu.lv), which seeks to develop and strengthen museological thought in the Baltic States by linking theory and practice, so that Baltic museums become more professional, contemporary and accessible to society. The school is attended by 10 museum specialists from every of the three Baltic States. In 2009, 2012 and 2015 the school was arranged in Lithuania, in 2004-2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 in Latvia, and in 2008, 2011 and 2014 in Estonia. In 2017, the Baltic Museology Summer School will be held in Estonia.

Information concerning a state guarantee with respect to arranging international exhibitions  

Resolution No 433 of 8 April 2003 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approving the Procedure for Assuming a Written Commitment of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania or an Institution Authorised by the Government for the Compensation of Losses Incurred as a result of Damage or Loss of Cultural Goods of Foreign States during their Temporary Import for Exhibitions (consolidated version, translation into English)

Order No ĮV-351 of 16 June 2010 of the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania Approving the Rules of Procedure of the Expert Commission and the Application Form for the Implementation of the Written Commitment of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania or an Institution Authorised by the Government for the Compensation of Losses Incurred as a Result of Damage or Loss of Cultural Goods of Foreign States during their Temporary Import for Exhibitions (translation into English)

 

The following functions of the Ministry of Culture are defined in Article 13 of the Law on Museums of the Republic of Lithuania:

  1. Outlines the  strategy of the activity of national and state museums, prepares programmes for the implementation of the strategy  and submits them to the Government or, at the Government’s discretion, to the Minister of Culture for approval;
  2. Prepares drafts of legal acts regulating the activity of museums and submits them to the Government or the Minister of Culture for adoption;
  3. Coordinates the activity of Lithuanian museums, their participation in cross-border museological  programmes;
  4. Checks how objects stored at museums are accounted for and protected;
  5. Provides funds for the key programmes  of museum activity,  restoration and scientific research;
  6. Appoints, through  a public  competition, and dismisses the directors of national and state museums whose owner’s rights and obligations are implemented by the Ministry of Culture;
  7. Appoints, through  a public  competition, and dismisses the deputy directors – chief curators – of national and state museums whose owner’s rights and obligations are implemented by the Ministry of Culture;
  8. Arranges the professional development of museum curators and restorers;
  9. At the order of the Minister of Culture compiles the list of paid services provided by museums within the competence of the Ministry of Culture.

Museum collections

In 2015, the collections of Lithuanian museums included 7 150 956 cultural objects having archaeological, historical, artistic, ethnical, religious, scientific and memorial value or otherwise valuable. The number of cultural objects increased by 1.6% or nearly 112 500, from 7 038 477 in 2014.  

Museum visitors

In 2015, Lithuanian museums boasted 3 896 254 visitors. The number of visitors grew by 3.7%, from 3 757 133 in 2014, and by a whopping 19.3%, from 3 266 905 in 2013. This figure includes individual visitors and organized groups, visitors of funds, participants of educational activities and events organised by museums. 

* Since 2013, the total number of visitors has also included the participants of museum events and visitors of funds, resulting in a bigger growth of visitors.

Top five most visited museums in 2015

  1. Trakai History Museum – 362 593 visitors
  2. The Lithuanian Art Museum – 342 717 visitors
  3. The Lithuanian Sea Museum – 341 991 visitors
  4. The National Museum of Lithuania  – 303 623 visitors
  5. National Museum the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania – 214 170 visitors

Educational activities at Lithuanian museums

In 2015, museums hosted 22 542 educational activities, which were attended by 476 725 visitors. The Lithuanian Art Museum held the biggest number of educational activities, which attracted most   visitors – 2 122 activities attended by 36 068 participants. The number of educational activities at museums grew by 13.3% from 19 376 in 2014, with the number of the participants of educational activities increasing by 13.8% from 418 913.


PUBLIC ORGANISATIONS

In December 1990, the Restorers Union of Lithuania was founded (www.restauratoriusajunga.lt)

At the end of 1994, the Lithuanian National Committee of the International Council of Museums was founded (http://network.icom.museum/icom-lithuania)

In December 1995, The Lithuanian Museum Association was founded (www.museums.lt)

In November 1998, the Union of Directors of Municipal Museums of Lithuania was founded (the Union of Municipal Museums) (www.muziejubendrija.lt)

In 2001, Master degree programme of museum science was launched at the Faculty of Communication of Vilnius University (www.kf.vu.lt)

USEFUL REFERENCES

www.muziejai.lt

www.emuziejai.lt

www.museums.lt

 

Information prepared by

Museums, Libraries and Archives Division

Tel. (8-5) 219 3417, (8-5) 219 3582

Last updated: 17-10-2016