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Address: Vytauto Str. 17, LT-00101, Palanga, Lithuania. Tel.: (+370 460) 53501, (+370 460) 51319, E-mail gintaro.muziejus[at]takas.lt

PERMANENT EXHIBITION OF AMBER AND HITORIC INTERIORS
 

PALANGA AMBER MUSEUM

Reconstructed historic interior, Photograph by Andrius Valužis

Amber exhibition. Photograph by Andrius Valužis

Palanga Amber Museum is a subdivision of the Lithuanian Art Museum. It was established on August 3, 1963 in the former mansion of count Feliksas Tiškevičius (1870–1932). The mansion was designed by the German architect Franz Schwechten (1840–1924) and was built in 1897. It is surrounded by a park of 101,3 ha, which was designed in 1897 by the well-known French landscape architect Eduard Francois Andre (1840 – 1911).

In recent years the museum has been attempting to expand its functions. Not only amber attracts visitors here, but also a variety of cultural events. The outstanding Lithuanian artists perform concerts in the Fireplace Chamber. For more than thirty years a series of concerts called „Midnight Serenades“ have taken place on the terrace of the mansion.

The Amber Museum has been visited by more than 8 million people from all over the world.

On the 13th of May, 2011 a new exposition of amber was opened. The exposition was designed by the director of the Lithuanian Art Museum Romualdas Budrys. His conuslatnt were Dr Vladas Katinas and Dr Sigitas Podėnas.

On the ground floor of the manor an exposition of the historical interiors is opened. There one can admire furniture and works of applied art from 18th to 20th centuries.

Amber is being presented in renovated halls in new glass showcases designed particularly to this new amber exposition. One can see approximately 5 000 exhibits presenting the amber from different angles both of natural sciences and cultural history.
 

AMBER IN WRITTEN SOURCES
 

Amber exhibition. Photograph by Andrius Valužis

Known in many parts of the world, amber is nowhere else so deeply rooted into everyday life, folklore and art as in Lithuania. One of the finest legends, a poetic love story about the sea-goddess Jūratė and a fisherman Kastytis, originates in the land of the Baltic tribes. This is an attempt by our ancestors to explain the origin of amber. Big pieces of amber are the splinters of Jūratė’s castle smashed by Perkūnas (Thunder god), while small pieces of amber are her tears.

It is due to amber that Lithuanian ancestors were first mentioned in written historical sources. The Roman writer Cornelius Tacitus in the 1st century A.D. called them „aesti“ in his work „Germania“.
 

THE FORMATION OF AMBER

The process of amber formation is vividly displayed in the first hall of the museum: the geographical location and characteristics of the “amber pine” forest (climate, relief and hydrograph) present a scientific description of the conditions that predetermined the amber formation processes.
 

AMBER IN OTHER FOSSIL RESINS

About 150 varieties of fossil resins are known all over the world. Most of them are found in the northern hemisphere, i.e. in Europe and America. The exposition presents characteristics of the fossil resins found in the Sakhalin, Kamchatka and in the upper carbonic chalk sands of the Arctic and the Taimyr Peninsula

Europe is the best explored geologically. More than 50 varieties of fossil resins are found here. The museum displays a collection of fossil resins and their imitations collected in Indonesia, Tibet, Australia and Africa.
 

UNIQUE PEICES OF AMBER

The unique pieces of amber are a valuable scientific material for morphological studies of the amber formation process. The exposition displays more than 70 thousand samples of unprocessed amber, the weight of which varies from just a few grams to 2,5-3,5 kilos. Here you can see the biggest piece of amber in the collection of the Lithuanian Art Museum, called the Sun Stone (3524 g). You can also see morphological varieties of amber: accumulations on trunks, icicles, lenses and drops.
 

ANIMALS IN AMBER

Amber inclusions are the most popular and favorable objects for palaeontological research. Scientists have been interested in amber inclusions since ancient times. There are more than 15 thousand inclusions in the Palanga Amber Museum collections, the study of which enriches the history of amber and the knowledge of flora and fauna that existed on Earth millions of years ago.
 

ARCHAEOLOGY OF AMBER AND THE HISTORY OF ITS USE

The Department of Archeology of the Amber Museum is one of the most interesting and scientifically valuable. The exposition displays copies of the famous „Juodkrante treasures“ made according to Professor R.Kleb‘s scientific study. The remaining part of another well-known collection from the so-called „Palanga treasures“ is on display here as well. These artifacts were collected by Count F.Tiškevičius in 1905 – 1907 while excavating peat in the seaside swamps. In 1966 –1972 in Šventoji swamps a huge settlement of the Neolithic Period was explored. Research made by Dr. R. Rimantienė revealed a lot of priceless data about the daily life of seaside dwellers. Raw amber, handicrafts and various everyday articles found during that research are displayed in the showcases.
 

AMBER TRADE ROUTES

Prehistory scientists use a special term, “Amber Route”. This was the route of active amber trade with the Roman Empire and its colonies in the 1st-2nd centuries A.D. The main amber trade route went from the Baltic coast towards the lower Vistula, along the Varta and the upper Oder, across Bohemia, Moravia up to the Danube. From here the route went to Greece, Peloponnesus and Crete, while the second route went to northern Italy over the Alpine passes. Another amber route went by land from the Baltic coast to the Dnepr, then through the Don estuary to the Caucasus, eastern provinces of the Black Sea and the south western provinces of the Caspian Sea.
 

AMBER PROCESSING TRADITIONS

The unique features of amber were critical for its processing mode. In the 9th-13th centuries, with the spread of handicrafts and consequent delineation between the specific processing features of various substances, the first amber craftsmen appeared. Artistically processed amber was used to decorate churches and mansions of noble people. Amber became of the most popular gift to give during diplomatic visits. The biggest and the most impressive masterpiece was the famous Amber Chamber (1709).

Palanga has been one of the main amber processing centres for ages. The exposition displays the amber processing-tool used by the well-known artist V. Žilius. One can also see works made in the old Palanga amber workshops and manufacturing plant “Dailė”, which reveal attitudes toward amber jewelry and the fashion trends of the time. All the efforts of contemporary artists are directed toward the revelation of the natural beauty of amber and its aesthetic features. Works by J. Martinkienė, V. Kurklietienė, A. Jonušas, I. Pakutinskienė and F. Pakutinskas will also draw ones attention. Among the works made by professional artists the most outstanding are those by F. Daukantas, K. Simanonis, B. and E. Mikulevičius, B. Stulgaitė, S. Virpilaitis, Ž. Bautrėnas.

At the end of the exposition there is a shop of amber jewelry and souvenirs „Gintaro pasaulis“. In it one will also be able to by a certified inclusion of the Baltic amber.


 

 

 
 
 
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