The Lithuanian National Museum of Art is a public institution granted the national museum status by the Government of Lithuania in 1997. Originally founded in 1933, the museum is one of the oldest and leading institutions of its kind in the country, the member of ICOM. It is distinguished for its rich Fine Arts collection that totals to about 230 thousand exhibit items which represent Old and Contemporary Master Paintings, Sculpture Prints and Drawings, Applied and Folk Art as well rare amber stone and jewellery specimens and other museum objects. Geographically the museum covers nearly all the territory of the Republic of Lithuania through the network of its branch museums, including Vilnius Picture Gallery, the Museum of Applied Arts, Museum of the Radvilas Palace, the National Art Gallery that are located in the country’s capital city Vilnius, as well the Clock Museum and Pranas Domšaitis Gallery in Klaipėda city, the Palanga Amber Museum in Palanga and the Museum of Miniature Arts in Juodkrantė, the popular coastal resort towns. In addition, the Lithuanian Art Museum is a renown centre for preservation works carried out by its Pranas Gudynas Restoration Centre.
The museum is not only aims to collect, preserve, study and research, promote art valuables that are at its disposal, but also takes an active role in regularly organizing around 70-80 exhibitions annually, cultural events and educational pursuits to promote cultural identity and sense of European citizenship in various forms targeting diverse age and interest groups. Majority of initiatives are being implemented and focused to provide better public and cultural awareness, create a better infrastructure for social services and pleasing atmosphere for cultural experiences.
Since the year 2000 the Lithuanian National Museum of Art has implemented many significant projects of the national and international scale. The museum’s strategic guidelines and efforts are well presented in art and museum’s infrastructure improvement projects as well in its digitization activities.
The last decade is marked by implementation of many impressive art projects, including the international art exhibitions as the “Christianity in Lithuanian Art” (2000-2004) or some of the recent projects as “Longing for Nature. European Landscapes” (2009) with participation of ”Landesmusuem”, the State Museum of Upper Austria, “Dialogues of Colour and Sound. Works by Čiurlionis and his Contemporaries”(2009) in cooperation with partners from EU countries and Russia; the exhibition “Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970” (2009) developed in cooperation with the Victoria and Albert Museum and other exhibitions while the museum took part in the national programme “Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009”; the touring international exhibition “Lithuania: culture and history”, a part of the National Millenium of Lithuania Programme, which was displayed with a great success in seventeen countries across Europe, the USA and Canada in 2008-2009, as well it was presented virtually.
Some of the strategic projects are related and contribute for continuous improvement of museum’s infrastructure and facilities conditions. One of the large-scaled projects was the reconstruction of the National Art Gallery in Vilnius (2003-2009), which after modernisation covers 10 000 m2 area in total, including exposition area of 2200 m2, transformable exhibition area of 1055 m2, modern storage space of 1700 m2 as well integrates a modern conference, audio, video, climate control facilities and other technological solutions; the renovation that is being implemented at the Pranas Domšaitis Gallery (2010-2011) in Klaipėda and Palanga Amber Museum (2010-2011) will visibly expand public access, upgrade museum service quality and create wider opportunities to deliver cultural experience in this particular tourism destination area of the country.
The Lithuanian National Museum of Art is an approved administrator and a recognised national training centre for implementing and managing Lithuania’s museums digitisation projects. The launch of the national project LIMIS with the aim to facilitate knowledge sharing it through the online access to museum-collection data has become an important tool to enable organising virtual exhibitions and presentation of previously hidden cultural treasures. It helps to integrate all of them into the EUROPEANA system or employ in different way for regional-scale needs.
The Museum Publishing produces solid exhibition catalogs, informative booklets, Museum’s Annual and other culture research type publications. The museum professionals have a long going experience and competence in such fields as control and documentary management, registration, inventory and archiving of the cultural assets as well advise and consultancy service to professionals, researches and the general public. The Museum’s international collaboration is the other area of practical focus. It is maintained and pursuit through various forms, including bilateral long-term agreements or cooperation based on project based partnership or membership at the international museum organizations. The Since 1993 The Lithuanian National Museum of Art is a member of ICOM, some of museum’s professionals take membership in NEMO (Network of European Museum Organisations), AICA (International Association of Art Critics) and other museum or culture organizations.