Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum
An outstanding caretaker of Latvia’s national identity and way of life is the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum, one of the oldest open-air museums in Europe. Since its establishment in 1924, the museum has collected 118 historical buildings from all over Latvia in its 84 hectare territory.
Riga and all of Latvia’s regions, Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale, and Latgale, are represented here. At the Open-Air Museum you can find farmsteads of Latvian farmers, craftsmen, and fishermen. They all contain permanent exhibitions – household and working tools, interior furnishings – which characterize the time period, the district, and the owner’s vocation. Craftsmen also work at the museum, and various traditional Latvian festivals are also celebrated throughout the year. The museum also features an applied arts studio and exhibits its collection at various exhibitions throughout the year.
The most well-known and unforgettable event is the annual Traditional Applied Folk Art Fair at the beginning of June, which has been hosted by the museum for nearly 50 years. The most talented artisans, singers, and dancers come together from all over Latvia for the event, where visitors can view and, of course, also purchase various items made by Latvian craftsmen. In recent years, the fair’s “little brother” has also become increasingly popular – the Annual Contemporary Crafts Festival at the beginning of August, where those using modern technologies and design in their arts and crafts are invited to attend.