Museum's history and services
Just a half hour’s drive from Riga’s center, nestled in a pine forest, one of Europe’s oldest and largest outdoor museums can be found alongside the shore of Lake Jugla. It is called the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia.
Since its establishment in 1924, the museum has collected 118 historical buildings from all over Latvia. Riga and all of Latvia’s regions, Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale, and Latgale, are represented here. The buildings have been set up to give visitors a sense of Latvia’s rural landscape.
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.
From May until September, folk artisans such as potters, weavers, blacksmiths, woodworkers, and teachers of traditional games work at the Open-Air Museum. These experts are happy to give you the opportunity to try out their crafts. After a long walk through the museum, enjoy a meal at the Priedes krogs pub and visit our souvenir shop, which features work by our artisans.
The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia also has two sister sites, which are located in their original regions. Vēveri is located in the hilly district of Vecpiebalga, and the fisherman’s homestead Vītolnieki is located on the picturesque coast of Rucava.
The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia offers its visitors countless differently themed educational programs, guided tours and educational lessons for pupils, families with kids, and adults that serve not only to expand knowledge, but also to give new inspiration.
You may explore the museum on your own, or through a guided tour. Please book tours in advance. Tours are offered in Latvian, Russian, English, and German. The Open-Air Museum offers annual guide training.
Events at the museum
The Open-Air Museum hosts over 20 different seasonal events and annual traditions every year, in which folklore groups and artisans take part. These include Shrovetide, Easter, the Summer Solstice, the Harvest Festival, and Yule Log Eve. You can also visit multiple craft festivals, such as the large Traditional Folk Art Fair in June, Contemporary Craft Fair in August, and the Harvest, Martin Day, and Christmas fairs.
The most well-known and unforgettable event is the Traditional Applied Folk Art Fair, which has been hosted by the museum for nearly 50 years. The most talented artisans, singers, and dancers come together from all over Latvia.
1) Vidzemes Pottery Workshop: ceramic kiln, potter lathes, children’s hands, clay, work, and inspiration! Everyone makes and keeps their own whistle, pot, and cup. Available everyday. Call Māris Dubkevics: 22067299.
2) Horseback Riding: large and small groups. Call horse master Rolands to schedule or to recieve more information: 28264355.
3) Mērsraga Blacksmith Forging Workshop: "laimes liešana" (melt metal to tell your fortune), coin forging, and stories about blacksmithing in the past. Call blacksmith Artūrs Purviņš to schedule or to recieve more information: 28879886
4) Museum’s Master Craftsman Workshop: fun games and ancient games with Aldoni Baldiņu, test the dexerity of your fingers in a seamstress workshop, as well as other events based on your wishes and the abilities of museum craftsmen. Call to schedule or to recieve more information: 29563152.
5) Priedes krogs Pub Throughout the year, the pub offers the opportunity to eat delicately at a pub-covered table or at a lounge in the museum.A multitude of deliciously authentic Latvian food for all stomachs and wallets. For larger groups, cooking can be ordered in a mantel on a live fire. During the summer season, bread is cooked in a big oven on Saturdays. Call innkeeper Rolands Zujevičsfor orders and more information: 29435189.
6) Cafe "Pūnīte" During the summer, enjoy a delicious meal at the Vidzeme’s eatery, near the Liepājas harbour building. Call Donu Ilze for information: 26425426.
7) Cafe "Bonaventura" From May to October, next to the Museum Exhibition hall, enjoy a great view, tasty coffee and tea, and ice cream.
- Free parking
- Bicycle parking
- Free Wi-Fi at the enterance of the museum and the Priedes krogs pub
- Infant changing rooms
For additional information on educational programs and events at the museum please visit: www.brivdabasmuzejs.lv.