This year, the history of the Institution of Presidency in Lithuania already counts a century. Marking this occasion, an open-air exhibition of archive photographs “Whoever is a president? The Presidents of Lithuania and the Institution of Presidency in Lithuania in 1919–1940” is being exhibited in the front garden of the museum. It tells us more about the duties and daily routines of the President of the Republic of Lithuania.
Preceding the 2019 Year of the World Lithuanians M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art dedicates a new exhibition “The Great Gift to Lithuania” to the 125th Anniversary of a famous America Lithuanian Collector Aleksandras Mykolas Račkus. The exhibition is opened in the Historical Presidential Palace of the Republic of Lithuania in Kaunas. Two collections are shown here. One of them represents the numismatic valuables collected by A. M. Račkus – among the most interesting exhibits are rare coins of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and other nations of the world, valuable medals, exotic items and rare Lithuanian and numismatic books. In the second part of the exhibition visitors have the opportunity to get acquainted with the social life of the American Lithuanians of the 1860s – 1930s and their contribution to the restoration and consolidation of the state of Lithuania.
To get acquainted, to understand and to take pride – this was the slogan of the Historical Presidential Palace at the outset of the 5-year-project “Waiting for the Centennial: the Most Significant Events of the First Republic of Lithuania.” The team of the museum was the first to focus on the approaching centennial anniversary of the modern State of Lithuania. It sought for forms of activity exerting longterm influence on the society. Thus the ephemeral noisy campaigns were rejected and instead focus was laid on activities promoting coherent cognition of the history of the State and participation in the events.
The modernized and updated exposition introduces the Presidents of the First Republic of Lithuania (1918–1940) in traditional and innovative ways. Three presidents took the presidential oath of office: Antanas Smetona spend the whole 15 years in this office; Aleksandras Stulginskis – 6 years (including 2 years, when as the Chairman of the Constituent Seimas he was an Acting President); and Kazys Grinius had barely 6 months, a short term ended by Coup d’État. The President was elected by Seimas. The State President’s institution underwent many serious changes over two decades of the First Republic of Lithuania – changing from nominal and representative to autocracy. This evolution may be traced in explicit photo galleries, documentary films, and president’s speeches that are available on a touch-screen terminal.
A permanent historical exhibition of representative portraits, pieces of art that originally decorated the interior of the Palace, gifts to the Presidents, surviving authentic furniture, historical pictures recording the Presidents’ foreign and internal activities, public activities, pictures from personal life and many more things that tell the story of the First Republic of Lithuania (1918-1940).