This year Kėdainiai Regional Museum continues with expansion of exposition, complementing it with new technologies. This year, Kėdainiai Regional Museum receives even four new parts of the interactive exposition. Installation of the new expositions is being implemented by Kėdainiai Regional Museum, Pagėgiai district municipality and Punsk district municipality (Poland) participating in the European Union (EU) project ‘Lithuania-Poland history from the perspective of the three cities’.
‘Punsk, Pagėgiai and Kėdainiai have close historical, cultural and economical links. The Dukes Radziwills, owners of Kėdainiai, also owned possessions in Podlachia and Punsk.
Pagėgiai belonged to East Prussia. This town had a significant impact on Kėdainiai and Punsk by economical, confessional links and booklegging. However, these strong historical links between towns are little known and little revealed in museums expositions and their cultural activity.
Due to peripherality underfunded and poorly developed cultural heritage of these towns, a lack of cross-border cooperation between cultural and educational establishments, no common cultural events. Therefore, the main purpose of this project is to increase cooperation between Punsk, Pagėgiai, Kėdainiai municipalities and their cultural establishments for common cultural heritage promotion, development and interest in order to attract more tourists from Lithuania and Poland and to preserve cultural heritage for the future generations.
The implemented project will be useful for the three towns as well as for the whole Lithuania-Poland region to better protect and develop cultural heritage, create new tourist attractions and preserve live historical belonging’, maintains Rimantas Žirgulis, director of Kėdainiai Regional Museum.
Last year, an interactive and unprecedented in Lithuania exposition, funded by the district’s municipality, was created.
‘Last year Kėdainiai Regional Museum presented a new project ‘Kėdainiai gold century in the 17th townspeople tales’. The exposition is an interactive model of Kėdainiai town.
Exactly during this period, Kėdainiai town was a strong cultural, art and commercial centre, where different religious confessions and nations lived together.
This interactive model shows Kėdainiai old-town with the 17th century buildings, streets network, typical layout and landscape.
The model is not silent. Seven characters, residents of that period Kėdainiai, speak about former town’s landmarks. Their tales are not legends or fictitious. The stories based on real historical documents were prepared by the best researches of the old Kėdainiai history: professors Raimonda and Aivas Ragauskai and Deimantas Karvelis. So, all facts, events and opinions expressed by these characters, are real and authentic.
The model presents tales about the 17th century Kėdainiai town, told by a Lithuanian Evangelical Reformed, a Gymnasium student, a German Lutheran, a Scottish merchant, a Jewish trader, a Catholic woman and a greyhound Karūna. This year, the model will be expanded and supplemented with some add-ons based on computer technologies’, says R. Žirgulis.
This year Kėdainiai Regional Museum apart already mentioned supplement of the model is going to expand its exposition by more three new expositions based on modern computer technologies.
‘The interactive model of Kėdainiai town will be supplemented with animated historical cartoons. Using monitors standing by the model, visitors will be able to watch some different environments of Kėdainiai in the 17th century. Animated characters in the cartoons will tell their stories.
Also, till the end of this year, we are going to install some more interactive expositions. One of them will be dedicated to Czeslaw Milosz, another one will reveal Kėdainiai links with the world, and exposition dedicated to the Dukes Radziwills. The total cost of these expositions is approximately 100 thousand Euros’, – says R. Žirgulis.
The museologist notes that modern technologies significantly help small regional museums attract more visitors.
‘Museums that have rich expositions consisting of authentic historical exhibits, for example Louvre or Versailles, have less interactive solutions and that is understandable, because they have something to show. Innovative, interactive expositions mostly help museums, that don’t have a lot of survived exhibits, but can tell interesting stories. That is where the modern technologies come into play. Currently used innovative technologies help in revealing not only historical past, but also various complex subjects, for instance, various social processes’, – says R. Žirgulis.
All we know
The interviewee, speaking about creation of new expositions, notes that despite the rich Kėdainiai history, the Museum exhibits number is small.
‘Sources tell much about Kėdainiai town history, however really not about everything and many things remain unknown to us. Therefore, if we don’t know something, it means we improvise in the context of existing knowledge. We, really, 100 % don’t know how Kėdainiai looked like, for example, in the 17th century. Moreover, we even don’t know how some places of the town looked like during the interwar or the post-war period. We don’t have images, that show the whole town. However, we want so much to give people information about the town’s history and this is a significant challenge.
Our museum is not big and the exhibits number is small. That’s why we are trying to make our museum attractive using other ways. As Kėdainiai was the Protestant town, perhaps it resulted that there were less various things and luxury. People didn’t take care much about material things, but were more focussed on spiritual matters and business. Besides, fires, wars, battles, uprisings and the Soviet period also contributed to a destruction, stealing and bringing away of many things. For the same reasons, in Kėdainiai there are few real indigenous (locals) residents. The mere destruction of the Kėdainiai Jewish community, the town lost a one third of population of that time. Therefore, at we present time, we have what we have. So, because a number of material exhibits is small, we, using the modern technologies, are trying to revive our museum as it was outdated both physically and morally’, – maintains R. Žirgulis.
The museum director notes that museum currently comes to life and attracts more and more visitors.
‘We see that the museum currently comes to life and we have more and more visitors. Many visitors are being attracted by cultural events in the Multicultural Centre and the Reformed church. However, there are more and more visitors that come to the museum. The Evangelical Reformed church is being visited perhaps by each Kėdainiai tourist as it is unique and interesting building. Also, many visitors come to the church to visit the Radziwills mausoleum, as it is one of the two survived mausoleums of the noble families in Lithuania. The museum itself was less popular, because, let me be honest, there were almost nothing to see, except the exclusive set of furniture made of horns and crosses by V. Svirskis. It is always more interesting to walk through the town, drink coffee, enjoy leisure time and environment.
However, now I can say that the museum became more attractive. People can spend more their leisure time, because it became more interesting due to the modern expositions.
The increase of a number of visitors is perhaps also caused by changes in leisure time habits and more popular internal tourism. Now, people have more possibilities and wished to get in a car, visit some Lithuanian town and have fun there. The tendencies are really promising. Therefore, we a re trying to make our museum more attractive for visitors. In 2022, we celebrate the 100 anniversary of Kėdainiai Regional Museum and by the time of celebrating it would be very good if our museum would be interesting, attractive and relevant. So, let it be said of us, the museum is really worth a visit’, summarizes R. Žirgulis.