Latvian Museum Directory

Seaside Open-Air Museum

The Seaside Open-Air Museum – a structural unit of Ventspils museum – was established in 1954 (Ventspils Sea Fishery Open-Air Museum) under a resolution of the executive committee of that time. The field of its research is Kurzeme seacoast of the Baltic Sea. It was opened for visitors on the 3rd of June, 1962. A substantial contribution to development of the museum and collection of the first exhibits was given by the first director of the museum Andrejs Šulcs, who brought the first boats, residential and household buildings of fishermen, as well as narrow-gauge railway train, to the developing museum (  The museum collections number more than 24,000 objects distributed indoors and in outdoor expositions (about 4 ha). A part of the exhibition is displayed outdoors, a part – within the building of expositions and art exhibitions opened on June 5th, 1970, which houses also premises for storage of museum collections. From the interior exhibition, a visitor can learn the main fishery development stages, how different fish were caught, how boats were made. The biggest object out of 800 ones that can be seen within the museum exhibition is the windmill from Piņķi in Užava Parish (arrived at the museum in the early 70s of the 20th cent.), but the tiniest one – a needle for sewing floats on net.
The open-air exhibition hosts also the museum collection of anchors (more than 100 anchors of various types), the oldest exhibits thereof dating back to the 18th century. In summer 2002, several impressive exhibits joined the collection of anchors. Annual traditional holidays are also celebrated actively in the museum.
Boat craftsmen, who usually transferred their craft traditions from generation to generation, built boats skilfully. Success of fishing depended to the greatest extent on how stable the boat was on waves, how easy it could be sculled and controlled, while returning to the coast was more important.
 Latvian and Livonian residential and household buildings are furnished with proper objects representing work, social life and holidays of fishermen and farmers.
The windmill from Ventspils District Užava Parish, Piņķi (built in 1864). The windmill features a four-storey body, the fifth storey is formed of the revolving part – hat. The windmill had three corn milling runs and a pearl-barley run (gaņģis).
Blacksmith’s forge. From Ventspils District, Ugāle Parish, Rāpati Village, “Brendznieki” (rebuilt out of a former threshing barn in 1932). Neither a farmer, nor a fisherman could do without work of blacksmith – a blacksmith knew how to hammer out both a good plough and a good anchor.
A typical Latvian farmer’s house of the last quarter of the 19th cent., “Smiltnieki”. The house has preserved its original volume of 1874 and the layout of 1891. The building is furnished with authentic objects reflecting life of five generations of a family. Brought to the museum from 4 Targales Street in Ventspils and restored in 2008.
The museum collection of anchors numbers more than 140 anchors of various types and dating from different periods. Some of them can be seen in the Seaside Park. Any visitor would be excited to compare the small anchors, tailored to be used for mooring of boats and fishing tools, with anchors of sailing ships and modern heavy-tonnage vessels.
The museum visitors are invited to visit the museum’s permanent exhibition, exhibitions and to attend the traditional events of the museum– Easter, singing Ligo songs on the eve of St. John’s day, The Day of Crafts.

Riņķu iela 2, Ventspils, LV 3601

  •  63624467
Andis Dudins
Museum Chief
phone: 63624467