The Mentzendorff House, a Rigans’ 17th–18th cent. house-museum is a branch of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation.The mission of the Mentzendorff House, a Rigans’ 17th–18th cent. house-museum, is to preserve and study the architectural and artistic values of the museum building, to research the fates of the people associated with the building, to demonstrate the culture and traditions of Riga’s citizens as a cultural phenomenon of the time by projecting them against the values of modern culture, to facilitate the museum integration in the cultural processes by supporting the measures and ideas that would promote mutual understanding among the current legatees of Riga’s cultural and historical heritage, i.e. today’s Rigans, the descendants of the earlier generations of Riga’s inhabitants. In view of the historical connection of the house with the glazier’s craft, the museum has undertaken to reflect the development and achievements of the craft and art in this field.
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HISTORY OF THE MUSEUM
The Mentzendorff House, a branch of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, with its 17th-18th cent. ambience is the only museum of its kind in the Baltics and was opened to visitors on May 18, 1992. The exposition is located in a house built in 1695, which until 1939 was a residential house with a shop and warehouse floors. The building was reborn under the care of the Polish restorers of “PKZ” and the architect Pēteris Blūms.The Rigans’ house-museum introduces visitors to a well-to-do Rigan’s traditional everyday culture. A significant part of the exhibition consists of unique 17th-18th cent. ceiling and wall paintings. Matching historical interior items from the collection of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation create a peculiar character and mood for each room. The historical basement vaults and the romantic attic accommodate exhibition halls. The museum is named after the family name of the last owners of the house, the merchants Mentzendorff. Around the turn of the 20th century, August Mentzendorff’s colonial goods shop offered to buy a variety of sought-after goods, such as spices, green and black tea, cigars, sweets, etc., including the best coffee in Riga. The house still has close ties with the descendants of the Mentzendorff family, who support various museum activities.
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Latvian Baltic-German Centre “Domus Rigensis”
The association “Domus Rigensis”, founded in 1992 in Riga by Latvians and Baltic-Germans, has also found its home in the Mentzendorff House. The aim of the association is to identify and nurture the common cultural and historical heritage of Riga, contacts between people who are interested in Riga and Latvia. The events of the Latvian Baltic-German Centre highlight the historical and modern-day interaction of Latvians and Germans in Riga’s multicultural environment.
Glass Art and Study Centre
Already in the 17th century, this house accommodated the Jürgen Helm Glazier’s Workshop and, in the footsteps of the historical tradition, the Mentzendorff House is the home of a modern art glass workshop “Glass Art and Study Centre”.
In the studio, it is possible to observe artists at work and, by applying in advance, get to know the secrets of glass art.Application to the studio manager Ilze Dūdiņa by phone (+371) 29632208.
Veenkoloniaal Museum. Veendam, the Netherlands.
The museum of the history of the peat mining region, founded in 1939, is seriously researching contacts between the Netherlands and Latvia. The Veenkoloniaal Museum is the only one in Europe with a special Riga Hall. The Mentzendorff House connections with this museum are by joint exhibition and conference projects. The collaboration will be complemented by the exhibition of Dutch artists planned for 2021 – works inspired by the Baltics.