About us

About us

An overview of the museum's history, its branches and museum friends.

History

Biržai Museum was established on February 16, 1928. On March 9, 1989, the town of Biržai celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Magdeburg rights being granted to it. On that same day, the museum opened its doors to the public. The museum was situated in the newly restored palace of Biržai castle. In 1991, it takes up the name Biržai Region Museum "Sėla" due to the fact that Biržai lies on the lands where the ancient Selonian tribe lived centuries ago.
 
Biržai Fortress was built in 1575-1589 by the hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Krzysztof Radziwiłł “The Thunderbolt” (1547-1603). In 1625-1627, it was occupied by the Swedish army and destroyed. A second castle took almost 50 years to restore. The first castle resembled Italian castles, while the second castle was built in Dutch style. By 1682, the fortress palace, fortifications and 21 other buildings made a huge defensive complex.
 
In the 17th and early 18th centuries, Biržai, situated in the north of the country, became Lithuania’s main fortress in its wars with Sweden. The Polish-Lithuanian King Augustus II himself visited Biržai Castle, as well as the Russian tsars Peter I and Alexander I who came twice. In 1701, Polish-Lithuanian King Augustus II and Russian Tsar Peter I signed a treaty to unite their armies against the Swedes. However, on September 14, 1704 the fortress was destroyed for the second time by the Swedish army. It was only in 1988 that the fortress' representational palace was restored.
 
In 2001, the 42.5 meter fortress bridge was rebuilt based on plans by the architect Evaldas Purlys. Two years later, the roof tiles of the palace were changed. In 2008-2010, the project Strengthening Biržai Castle Walls and Foundations and Adapting the Castle for Cultural and Other Public Needs, was completed. This project was co-financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway according to the European Union (EU) funding rules. In 2010, restoration of the arsenal began sponsored by the EU structural funds and the local municipality. Restoration and research works on the fortress are ongoing.
 
In 1991, the museum became a member of the Association of Castles and Museums around the Baltic Sea. In 1995, a cooperation agreement was signed with the Lithuanian Evangelical Reformist Church. A similar treaty was signed with the Lithuanian Great Hetman Jonušas Radvila Training Regiment in Rukla in 2003. In 2009, the museum signed a cooperation agreement with the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus and the Nesvizh National Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve.

Kirkilai Crafts Center

Kirkilai Traditional Crafts Center was established in spring 2016. Its main goal is to safeguard, promote and foster the traditional crafts of Biržai region.
 
The Center offers a wide range of activities and workshops. These include: wool felting, linen weaving, candle making, paper cutting and  Lithuanian straw ornaments making. Aside from this, the Center offers traditionally prepared dishes, coarse wheat pancakes (blynai) and fish soup.
 
Most of the activities take place during summertime. All the times and the dates are announced on  the museum website, its social media platform and local media.
 
Kirkilai Traditional Crafts Center is close to the observation tower.
Address:
Mokyklos 14
Kirkilai
Biržai district

Vabalninkas Branch

In 1995, Vabalninkas Culture and History Foundation established a museum. The museum became a branch of  Biržai Region Museum "Sėla" in 2005. Until 2010 the museum was managed by Ona Šoblinskienė, one of the founders of the Foundation. The current head of the branch is Vida Skujienė.
Address:
Žolinės sq. 10
Vabalninkas
Biržai district
Opening hours:
Tuesday- Saturay 8 am - 5 pm
Lunch break 12 - 1 pm

Visiting the museum and the exhibitions is free of charge.

Museum Friends

We are grateful to everyone who contributed to not only our activities and projects but also to enlarging our collections and educating the society.

We say thank you to our sponsors:

1. Ilona and Kęstutis Armonai
2. Doloresa and Jurijus Glebos
3. Laimutė and Dalius Jakubėnai
4. Asta and Romualdas Misevičiai
5. Viktoras Rinkevičius, the Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania
6. Audrys Šimas, the Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania
7. Irutė and Vincas Varzos
8. Biržai Municipality
9. Biržai "Rotary" Club
10. Lithuanian Council for Culture
 
                
               
Partners:
1. The National Museum - Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
2. Lithuanian Musicians' Union
3. Jurgis Bielinis Public Library of Biržai Municipality
4. Biržai Tourism Information Centre
5. Biržai Parish of St. John the Baptist
6. Biržai Parish of the Reformed Church
7. Mir Castle Complex
8. Aizkraukle Museum "Kalna ziedi"
                                 
We also thank our EVS (European Voluntary Service) volunteers:
1. Nikoloudia Marilena (2016–2017)
2. Sekulic Gorana (2016–2017)
3. Cięciwa Natalia (2017–2018)
4. Mendes Rita (2017–2018)

: 2019-10-24 12:32



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A biržiečė vaišin dainuodamūs
We invite you to visit our exhibition of ancient brewing traditions and take part in our special program "From a grain to a song: Birzai tradition and hospitality".