Located in the New Arsenal, the National Museum of Lithuania’s main exhibition invites visitors to learn about both the history of the Lithuanian state and Lithuanian ethnic culture.
The beginning of the exhibition transports the visitor to the Vilnius Antiquities Museum (1855–1915), on the basis of which the National Museum of Lithuania was later established. The Antiquities Museum’s artifacts and original glass display cases present the only such example of a “museum within a museum” and recreate the spirit and atmosphere of that earlier institution.
The next room offers a thorough presentation of Lithuania’s history – from the formation of the state in the 13th century to its fall in 1795, and how the societies of those eras lived.
The second floor introduces visitors to the turbulent years of the 19th and 20th centuries. This was a period of rebellion and the struggle for freedom, a time during which the nation took shape and modernized, all of it leading up to the proclamation of Lithuania’s independence on 16 February 1918.
In other second-floor exhibition rooms visitors can see Lithuanian ethnic culture artifacts dating from the 18th century to the first half of the 20th century and related to the traditions and everyday life of Lithuanian peasant, folk art, ethnic costumes, residential interiors, and Lithuanian iron crosses, which have been recognized by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage.