Liepaja museum

The first efforts to establish a museum in Liepāja are associated with the 1890s. This is proven by a sentence in a letter by a writer and traveller Minna Freimane (1853-?), who was an active member of the Liepāja Latvian Charity Society, the first Latvian Society in Liepāja, established in 1882: “To my request to the museum founded by our Liep. Society…”. Unfortunately, further details about this museum are missing.

The next steps in the formation of the museum are associated with the beginning of the 20th century. Teacher and historian Aleksandrs Vēgners (1863-1926) was a significant contributor to the creation of the city museum. With his authority and ability to persuade, he obtained storage facilities for the museum’s collection which were assigned to the Gymnasium for girls on Zivju iela 7. In 1910, the City Council allocated 300 roubles in its budget for the museum, as it recognised that “there are unusual and historical objects collected in the museum, and it is obvious that its formation will successfully move forward.”

On 11th March 1910, the newspaper “Libauscher Zeitung” published a call by Vēgners to donate antiquities to the museum “for the good of the history of the city”. Prior to that, he and his wife had already gone around the nearby countryside and acquired national costumes at their own expense for the museum. This is the beginning of the collection of the Southern Kurzeme folk costumes. In 1911, when the German bourgeoisie established the Antiquity Society of Liepāja, Aleksandrs Vēgners became its first president. For a long time he had been the person who did most of the work – encouraging people to donate historical evidence related to the city and the surrounding area to the museum. A. Vēgners regularly informed the people of Liepāja about the acquisitions of the museum through newspapers.
On 9th April 1912, Krišs Mentelis (1844-1926), a member of the society received authorization to establish the Liepāja Latvian Society Museum.

The most important events relating to the establishment of the museum in Liepāja happened at the same time as the establishment of the Republic of Latvia. On 26th October 1922, a meeting of the Kurzeme Museum Society took place. The mission of the society: “/../to establish the Liepāja museum, accessible for the public and studies/../” Teacher and artist Jānis Sudmalis (1887-1984) is elected treasurer of the future museum. The museum finds temporary premises in the state technical school on Vilhelmīnes (now K.Valdemara) iela 4.

In September 1924, the City Council assigns the building of the former elementary school No 8, on 8 Alejas (now Čakstes) laukums, to the museum. However, with one condition: The Kurzemes Museum Society should try to merge all the holdings collected



Director: Dace Kārkla
Kūrmājas prospekts 16 Liepāja 3401, Latvija
+371 29605223