The site

The Open-Air Museum of Lithuania is one of the largest ethnographic open air museums in Europe that stretches across the area of 195 hectares. The museum was established in 1966 in Rumsiskes on the picturesque shores of Kaunas Lagoon.

The exhibitions at the museum are intended to introduce the ethnographic regions of Lithuania, i. e. Dzūkija (Dainava), Aukštaitija (Highlands), Suvalkija (Sudovia), Žemaitija (Samogitia) and Mažoji Lietuva (Lithuania Minor), as they looked at the end of the 18th century and up until the first half of the 20th century.

The houses representing each of the regions stand in their natural environment and have the interior and exterior of the respective period. Exhibitions of household appliances, crafting, trading, agricultural machinery and ethno-botany are presented inside the buildings.

The centrepiece of the museum is a small town featuring several authentic buildings from all over Lithuania typical to different time periods. The town has all prerequisite town elements: a market square with natural stone paving, a church, an inn and houses of various traders and craftsmen engaging in pottery, weaving, amber and wood crafting.

Some of the most famous structures found in the Open-Air Museum of Lithuania can be traced to centuries ago, and are still preserved in very good conditions. For example, the Aristavėlė Manor House dating back to the 18th century and retaining its look of a typical nobleman’s residence is located in the northwest territory of the museum.

The Exile and Resistance Movement Exhibition is a tribute to the tragic period in the Lithuanian history – the Soviet époque when thousands of Lithuanians had been deported to Siberia. The exhibition consists of a pit-house (a so called yurt, typical for Siberia), a train wagon used to transport deportees, a bunker and memorial monuments.

By observing the present and thoroughly researching the past, the Open-Air Museum of Lithuania intents to protect, preserve and share the traditional way of life of the Lithuanian people for future generations.


The project

The project will involve the participants in various conservation works at historic wooden structures belonging to the ensemble of the open-air museum. These works will enable them to learn about traditional wood construction techniques and clay techniques used in rural Lithuania. On the other hand, the participants will be able to gain an immersive experience into the historic way of life in Lithuania while learning about the efforts being done today by institutions such as the Open-Air Museum of Lithuania to protect the tangible and intangible heritage of their nation for future generations.

The main work will focus on the reconstruction of a replica of a traditional forge, which is part of the museum’s exhibition and is currently in a state of deterioration. The participants will dig out the foundations of the edifice, remove the damaged wooden elements and replace them by new ones. Once this is done, they will fill the walls with a wattle and daub structure. Finally, the participants will prepare the clay plaster that will be applied as a new layer on the surface of the wattle and daub structure.  

The second work will be to recreate and construct different styles of traditional wooden fences at various locations in the compound of the open-air museum. This activity will require the preparation of the wooden elements prior to be used in the construction of the fences and later assembling the pieces at their final positions.

Both works will be supervised by qualified staff members of the Open-Air Museum of Lithuania specialised in conservation of vernacular wooden architecture.

In addition to the work, the participants will have the opportunity to interact with the intangible heritage being showcased at the open air museum through special guided tours. The participants will have a unique experience also behind closed doors of the work being carried out at the open-air museum while in addition enjoying guided visits and excursions to other heritage sites in the region.


The project will take place from August, 14th, till August, 27th, 2022, and is organised by the Open-Air Museum of Lithuania in cooperation with European Heritage Volunteers. 

European Heritage Volunteers