Architecture Museum in Lithuania has a long history. It was one of the first established in Lithuania even at European level – even in 1968. Unfortunately, the fate of our country’s architectural museum is painful as having survived for almost 4 decades it was closed during the times of independent Lithuanian – in 2006 – and its funds (about 56 thousand exhibits) spread throughout various institutions.
Virtual Museum of Architecture (VAM) was designed to establish a broken connection between the present and the past, building a bridge to the future.
As long as there is no real Lithuanian Museum of Architecture, it is very important to continue – even in digital form – the accumulation of material collected from personal archives, because there is a real threat of losing it forever: on the one hand, in recent years, our ranks are left by the most prominent creators of Lithuanian architecture of the 20th century who have won international recognition (architecture academician V.E. Čekanauskas, architecture professor E.N. Bučiūtė passed away last year); on the other hand, even seemingly recent projects, for which the authors received awards, managed to disappear.
During the development of VAM, we oriented towards the common European standards, consulted LIMIS staff out (we are very grateful for the help). This should facilitate and speed up the transfer of accumulated material to restored Lithuanian museum of architecture. VAM programme has also been designed, provision related to accumulation of exhibits and collection formation techniques have been prepared as well.
So far, the main sources of exhibits are personal archives. We started with a modest, but valuable number of exhibits: currently the virtual museum of Lithuanian architecture nearly 700 exhibits accumulated. Among them the works of prominent Lithuanian architects, realized images of buildings in digital format can be found: by architecture academician V. E. Čekanauskas, architecture professor V. J. Dičius, architecture professor A. Mačiulis, architecture professor V. Brėdikis and others. Documents of different nature, content and technical execution are publicly available at www.archmuziejus.lt. Registered users can form their own collection, contact regarding receipt of exhibits of better resolution (the application – contract template is to be provided).
In 2013 the collection was supplemented with new format of exhibits – video interviews with famous architects (V.J. Dičius, A. Mačiulis, V. Brėdikis). Everyone is interested in their live ideas, unique standpoint and facts from their past, and not only the professionals in this field. Naturally, this material will be extremely valuable to researchers going deeper in modernist architecture of our country.
Another novelty: since this year Virtual Museum of Architecture starts in English, so visitors from other countries interested in such material will be able to use the resources. It is encouraging that we will enrich our field of architectural history with new insights; perhaps even the works of our architects will find their place in the international discourse.
The project Virtual Museum of Architecture has been developed by a Creative Industries Park “Architecture Center” together with the Architects Association of Lithuania under the auspices of the Support Fund of the Ministry of Culture and the Chamber of Lithuanian Architects.