Vilnius is home to many interesting and enjoyable museums. Learn more about Lithuania’s history and culture when you visit one or more of them during your stay in Vilnius. The Money Museum is one of Vilnius best free activities
, the Amber Museum showcases Lithuania's national gem, the Church Heritage Museum is several rooms of glittering gold and jewels, and the KGB Museum is an important reminder of oppressive regimes.
The KGB Museum
, or Museum of Genocide Victims as it is officially known, is three floors of exhibits and preserved rooms from the original KGB building on Gediminas Prospect in Vilnius. It showcases prison cells, interrogation chambers, and even the execution room in the basement of the structure, with artifacts from deportees and freedom fighters, as well as information about history and individuals, on the upper floors. The museum makes a powerful statement, so be prepared to feel somber after your visit there.
Church Heritage Museum
The Church Heritage Museum
of St. Michael of the Archangel Church, is the home of religious treasures belonging to churches in Lithuania. Chalices, reliquaries, and icon covers, all of precious metals, crystal, and enamel work, glitter under glass cases and represent the level of artistry that went into making such objects.
The Gediminas Castle Tower Museum is most visited for its panoramic views of Old Town, but the interior contains small exhibits detailing the development of the castle complex that once encompassed the space now occupied by Vilnius Cathedral, Castle Hill, and the Arsenal. Models that show it at different stages in history illustrate how more stable structures replaced older wooden ones and how fortifications enclosed the space centuries ago.
The Arsenal Museums
The Arsenal Museums, found in one corner of the former castle complex, consist of the Old Arsenal and the New Arsenal. The Old Arsenal acts as an archeological museum detailing Lithuania’s prehistoric period and society in Lithuania before its establishment as a state. The New Arsenal traces Lithuanian history from its inception and contains an exhibit on Lithuanian ethnography, including Lithuanian folk costumes
. Both museums are small enough enough to enjoy in an afternoon, and you will have plenty of time left over to explore the rest of the castle complex.
The Amber Museum
Amber, Lithuania’s national gem, is explored in this two-story museum. Discover how it is formed by nature and collected and used by humans.
This free museum, good for kids, contains interactive and English-language exhibits on international and Lithuanian currency.
Applied Arts Museum
Also a part of the former castle complex, the Applied Arts Museum contains treasures from Vilnius’ royal interiors and other art pieces, including tilework, tapestries, furniture pieces, sculpture, and glass.
Kazys Varnelis Museum
Located near Town Hall, the Kazys Varnelis Museum is a by-appointment-only museum of a Lithuanian artist who lived from 1917-2010 and used a wide variety of art styles to develop his own art. Besides work from the artist himself, the museum contains the artist’s collection of works from other artists and antiques.
Energy and Technology Museum
The Energy and Technology Museum makes its home in an early 20th-century power plant and includes interactive exhibits for children, antique cars, and information on a variety of technological phenomenon and manufacturing.
Culture, Theater, and Cinema Museum
The Culture, Theater, and Cinema Museum is dedicated to the theatrical arts in Lithuania. Paying homage to famous Lithuanian performers, and containing a variety of objects documenting film and theater in Lithuania, the museum highlights a topic that most Western travelers may not be familiar with.