An overview of the news from Biržai Region Museum "Sėla"
On 7 February, the Belarusian opposition organized the International Town Twinning action. The museum also took part in the campaign as for many years a beautiful friendship has connected the museum with the colleagues from Mir and Nesvizh castles, the Belarusian National Museum of History and Culture and the Belarusian National Museum of Art. We support the people of Belarus in their struggle for freedom and democracy, from which joint projects and international exhibitions were born.
Travelling is not easy at the moment, so Biržai Region Museum "Sėla" invites you to travel around the history of Biržai together with the all-knowing Radziwiłł eagle. A witty short guide to the history of Biržai was supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture. We invite you to take a look...
Although the Biržai Region Museum “Sėla” has temporarily closed its door to visitors, the museum officers continue to carry out the planned works: 46 artefacts belonging to the family of the counts de Choiseul-Gouffier came to Biržai on 11–12 November. These items have been exhibited at the Samogitian Museum “Alka” in Telšiai so far, they will soon add to the exhibitions of the “Sėla” museum. Our museum specialists had worked for two days in Telšiai carefully packing the art values so that they could be safely transported from the capital of Samogitia to Biržai.
There were about 80 manors and folwarks in Biržai region. Currently, there are only a few surviving, and only a very small part of manor culture artefacts has been included in the Biržai Museum.
Papilys manor is one of oldest manors in Biržai region that had belonged to the dukes Radziwiłł. In the late 19th century, the manor was bought by the counts de Choiseul-Gouffier. The members of this family were the last owners of Papilys manor. This manor has the largest building complex of all the manors in Biržai region. It is disappointing that the manor is unmaintained and it does not have the owner.
The project “The Heritage of the Counts de Choiseul-Gouffier: Plateliai-Papilys“ was prepared by Edita Lansbergienė, Deputy Director of the “Sėla” museum, and partly supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture. The aim of the project is to present the family of the counts de Choiseul-Gouffier and its heritage preserved in the Samogitian Museum “Alka” – furniture, paintings, works of applied arts, photographs – at the Biržai Region Museum “Sėla” as well as to introduce a unique collection of photographs depicting the life of the owners of Papilys manor that is kept at the “Sėla” museum. A part of the photographs will be presented in a digital format and there will be a virtual exhibition on the website of the museum. This exhibition will run for two years.
The piano „Birutė“ is kept at Biržai Region Museum „Sėla“. This instrument is exceptional and rare. There are known only two instruments named after the duchess Birutė in Lithuania. One of them belonged to the famous accordionist Algirdas Ločeris. In 2008, Marija Ločerytė-Šilževičienė donated this piano to our museum.
At the moment, „Birutė“ is only a piece of the interior but not a musical instrument. The museologists thought that it would make sense to restore it.
After the museum had received partial financing from the Lithuanian Council for Culture, the piano “Birutė” was taken to Saulius Bazaras’ company “Pianoforte” on 21 September 2020. We hope that masters Motiejus, Mykolas and Benediktas Bazarai will restore the piano. According to the masters of musical instruments, this instrument is worth restoring because it is still possible to reconstruct its sound and appearance.
The restored piano is planned to be presented to the public by organizing o joint concert of professional performers and students from Biržai Vladas Jakubėnas music school. This unique piano “Birutė” will be used in numerous music festivals and concerts in Biržai Castle.
In 2020, Biržai Region Museum "Sėla" published an information leaflet in Lithuanian and English "Biržai - Birzh - בירזאי" about the history of the Jewish community of Biržai and its legacy to the town.
The publication of the information leaflet was partly funded by the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture.
You can find a free leaflet at Biržai Region Museum "Sėla", J. Radvilos str. 3 and Biržai Tourism Information Center, J. Janonio str. 2.
You can know more interesting facts about the life the Jews led in Biržai.
Attention! Audio guide for the ethnography halls!
30 new, short, attractive stories about ancient items.
You will hear a story about bezmėnas and čeverykos and will know what a farmstead consists of.
In the videos, you will see how butter was made in a butter churn, how people used to make sashes or young boys used to blow horns.
Get ready to travel 100 years back! Hear and see how people lived then, what jobs they did and what fun they came up with.
The audio guide is suitable for children, families and educational institutions. It is a very effective programme that combines the past and the present. We invite you to try this new educational tool that can liven up your tour or lesson.
Biržai Region Museum “Sėla” received a new exhibit - a silver cover of the Jewish Bible - Tanach (תנ״ך) for the exhibition on the history of religious denomination in Biržai region. This very eloquent artefact proves the beautiful and respectful relations between two religious denominations - Jews and Catholics - in Biržai.
Tanach is a Jewish Bible that approximately corresponds to the Old Testament of the Christians. It differs from the latter in the order and classification of the books.
The Jewish community of Biržai donated Tanach to the Catholic priest of Biržai St. John the Baptist church Juozapas Rinkevičius (1838–1918) on the 50th anniversary of his priesthood. The further story of the exhibit is unknown. The collector who sold the cover to the museum had bought it from a family of Vilnius residents.
As the second stage of the mitigation of quarantine starts on 29 April 2020 and onwards, Biržai Region Museum "Sėla" opens its doors to visitors again!
We are ready to ensure your safety, and we also ask you to be understanding and comply with the necessary quarantine conditions: visit in groups of up to 2 people (excluding close relatives, adoptive parents, guardians and caregivers), wear protective masks or face shields and observe safe distance from other persons. We would prefer you to pay for the services by card.
If you have any questions regarding the conditions of visiting our museum, please contact us by phone +370 450 33390, +370 655 43845, +370 655 57738 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We miss you very much and we hope that you will have a meaningful time in our museum during this difficult time for everyone.
We look forward to seeing you from April 29 on Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Esperanto language is a language for international communication. The boom of learning this language came to Lithuania from Europe in the interwar period (1918–1940). The history of learning Esperanto in Biržai can be traced back to the name of Biržai Gymnasium teacher, traveller Liudas Alseika. In 1923, he organized the Esperanto language courses at Biržai Gymnasium, which were attended by people from our region, who later became famous Esperanto specialists.
In the virtual exhibition “The Esperanto Language and Its History in Biržai” you will get acquainted with the history of the Esperanto language and people from Biržai region who have popularized Esperanto not only in Lithuania. You will find some information about Liudas Alseika and the famous traveller and writer Antanas Poškas, gymnasium students from Biržai and their teachers: Viktoras Januškevičius, Jurgis Kutra, Stasys Paliulis and others. You will see a collection of dictionaries of the Esperanto language published in various years, textbooks by Lithuanian and foreign authors, periodicals “Litova stelo” (“Lithuanian Star”), and some calendars. You will be able to examine some photographs, greetings, letters and manuscripts in Esperanto from the interwar period.
The meeting with Arūnas Gelažninkas, who is known as the fastest Lithuanian motorcycle rider of Zigmas Dakar Team, his family, relatives and friends took place in Biržai Region Museum “Sėla” on 24th February 2020.
Those who did not participate in the meeting with the fastest Lithuanian motorcyclist are invited to visit the Sports Exhibition hall of the museum and have a look at the sportsman’s trophies exhibited there.
The largest tourism fair in the Nordic countries, MATKA Nordic Travel Fair 2020, took place in Helsinki, Finland from 15 to 19 January 2020. The museum officer Lina Kuncytė presented Biržai Region Museum "Sėla" in the fair.
Valdemaras Serapinas, the ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to Finland, invited the Lithuanian participants of the fair to a reception at the embassy.
During Biržai Jewish History and Culture Week (13-16 June 2019), a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust was unveiled in Pakamponiai Forest. The participant from the UK, Michael Kretzmer, made a video about the events in Biržai and Plungė. You can watch it here.
On 12 October 2019, Juozas Januševičius, a restaurator from Klaipėda, handed over to Biržai Region Museum "Sėla" a picture of a restored Biržai Castle that was painted by by the painter Egilas Skuja. The staff of Biržai Restoration Unit donated the picture to Klaipėda Restoration Unit to commemorate its 15th anniversary, on 23 January 1987.
The staff members of Biržai Region Museum “Sėla” S. Kubiliūtė and E. Lansbergienė went to Toronto to commemorate the 100th anniversary of birth of the priest Petras Ažubalis and on their way back, they brought these precious documents last October. Realizing that the documents were of great importance to Lithuania, Dalia Ažubalienė, the relative of the priest, asked to bring the documents to Lithuania still without knowing where they must be kept. This summer D. Ažubalienė came to Lithuania, had some consultations and visits, and finally decided that the Lithuanian Central State Archives are the best place for the document to be stored.
The Baltic Unity Day was celebrated in Biržai, on 20-21 September 2019, with many honourable guests from the Parliaments and ministries of Lithuania and Latvia, as well as people from Latvia and Lithuania, and local Biržai citizens.
There was a great amount of action for everyone: to participate in educational activities demonstrated by the old Baltic artisans, play numerous games and listen to the concerts of the Lithuanian and Latvian performers on the grounds of Biržai castle, to watch documentary films in the building of Biržai regional park administration.
An exhibition of the works of the Latvian painter Gerderts Eliass from the archives of Jelgava History and Art Museum of Gederts Eliass was opened in Biržai Region Museum “Sėla”.
The final events of the day were the performances of Baldone and Vecumnieki Youth Symphony Orchestra “Draugi” (Latvia) and the State Song and Dance Ensemble “Lietuva” (Lithuania) in Biržai Cultural Centre.
The official regalia passed to the representatives of Kuldiga, the organisers of the next Baltic Unity Day in 2020.