The oldest museum in the country was founded in 1855 by Eustachijus Tiskevicius, the eminent collector and researcher of the Lithuanian culture and history. The aim of the museum foundation was to systematically collect, store and display national cultural heritage and to popularize the history of Lithuanian Grand Duchy. From the first days the museum had become very popular among the citizens. In 186, the biggest part of the museum collection was taken to Moscow. The remaining part of the collection was reorganized and handed over to the newly founded Vilnius Public Library. In 1919, one of Lithuanian national liberation leaders, Dr. Jonas Basanavicius, began to form the collection of the new Museum of History and Ethnography on the basis of the Museum of Antiquities and Lithuanian Scientific Society. The complete realization of his plans was prevented by Polish occupation of Vilnius. In 1941, at the direction of Soviet Power all the collection from all the museums of Vilnius was given over to the Academy of Science. The eminent museum worker, culture historian Vincas Zilenas recommenced the work, started by Jonas Basanavicius, and in 1967, the Lithuanian Museum of History and Ethnography emerged on the territory of Vilnius castles in the building of the former New Arsenal. In 1968, the museum was opened to the public. In 1992, the museum was renamed the National Museum of Lithuania.
The collection of the museum, divided into five specialized departments (History, Archaeology, Ethnography, Numismatics, and Iconography), counts about 800,000 exhibits. Among them there are paintings, icons, weapon, jewelry, crockery, furniture, clothes, coins, medals, maps, historical documents and other. The chronologically arranged exhibitions illustrate the history and culture of the people of Lithuania from the formation of Grand Duchy up to the Second World War. At the Ethnography department the mode of life in different Lithuanian regions is shown: authentic interiors, original clothes and artworks made by Lithuanian craftspeople recreate the life of peasants, workpeople and gentry it used to be many years ago.
Address: Arsenalo St., 1