The Lithuanian Amber Louvre – the Palanga Amber Museum
The Palanga Amber Museum, which is a part of the Lithuanian Museum of Arts, is undoubtedly at the top of the list of most visited cultural attractions in Lithuania – most of us have visited it at least once and everybody who has ever been in Palanga has watched ducks and swans in the charming pond at the front of the museum.
Still, I would like to ask: when was the last time you were here? If never – make sure to fill this gap, as this is one of the most beautiful museums in Lithuania. And if you visited the museum before 2015, come back again, because after its reconstruction, the museum was supplemented with new collections and made even more attractive and more pleasant for visitors. But let’s start from the beginning.
Count Feliksas Tiškevičius’s Manor
Count Feliksas Tiškevičius was undoubtedly one of the most famous historical and cultural figures in Palanga. The residents of Palanga can thank him for the development of the resort: the count built new villas, financed the construction of the Palanga church, and provided premises for the school and gymnasium. He built the Kurhaus and made it a high-level entertainment centre, and in 1897-1902, a new manor house with a park close to Birutė Hill, designed by the French architect and dendrologist Eduardo Francois André, was commissioned by the count.
Count Tiškevičius was passionately interested in amber. When discussing the story about the treasure of Palanga, we have already mentioned that it was the count who ordered excavations at the Baltic seaside, where a unique collection of ancient amber jewellery was collected. This collection was highly appreciated at the exhibition in Paris in 1900. So, it’s not surprising that Count Tiškevičius’s manor house was chosen for the Palanga Amber Museum, which was established in 1963.
Due to the count’s huge contribution to the city of Palanga and collection of Lithuanian amber, the first floor of the museum is dedicated to the history of the Tiškevičius family. Here you can admire the authentic historic interior of the palace: the lobby, the Hall of Events, the Countess’s and the Young Count’s Office Rooms, and the Grand, the Small and the Blue Salons. The authentic environment of this noble residence of the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century has been restored in these rooms and works of art from the Tiškevičius family collection, and other private collections of the Lithuanian nobility of that time are exhibited here.
One of the Largest Amber Expositions in the World
On the second floor of the museum, the process of amber formation, extraction, processing, and historical trade routes will be presented to you, and you will see a unique amber exhibition, which contains more than 30 thousand artifacts. This is undoubtedly one of the world’s largest amber expositions – a real amber Louvre, which can be accessed for just €3 or even for free.
The main celebrity of the museum is the Sun Stone – an almost round piece of amber the size of a human head. The folk artist Kostas Toleikis presented this unique 19.7 cm high, 21.3 cm long and 15 cm wide piece of dark yellow amber weighing 3.526 kg to the Lithuanian Art Museum in 1969.
The museum was reconstructed in 2015, and the exposition was supplemented with archaeological exhibits, the collection of fossil inclusions trapped in amber was renewed and a completely new exposition of amber morphology was presented. The museum conducts various educational events. Several innovations have also been introduced: in the permanent exposition, visitors can use tablets with audio guides in Lithuanian, English, German, French, Polish, Russian, Lithuanian and sign language for free. Or you can download the guide app to your phone. In fact, using it you can virtually examine the exhibits without leaving your home, but no visual material can compare to what you can see in person.
So, when will we meet at the Palanga Amber Museum?