The collection and holding of historical items and popularization of facts about university life has been an important activity since the foundation of the University of Latvia. In some of faculties museum collections and specific study rooms are created for educational purposes. Today the Museum of History of the University of Latvia provides information about the history of the university to the society and especially to students. Museum organizes excursions and provides consultations as well as gives the opportunity for researchers and students to access different kinds of materials about the history of the university- photography, documents, books and other items that are closely connected with the foundation and development of the University of Latvia. The information about people that have studied and worked in the university and are a part of Latvia’s and world’s academic, scientific, economic and cultural life is also provided.
Museum invites visitors to:
Student cell (punishment chamber) - in this excursion you will be informed why and for what “crimes” students were locked up in the punishment cells at the end of the 19th century and what were their views and reflections on that. Excursion includes an insight in to the early history of the University of Latvia.
The main building of the University of Latvia (19 Raiņa boulevard, Riga) – this excursion informs you about the foundation of the University of Latvia, the architecture of the main building and its diverse history. There are two kinds of excursions possible: the first one includes a visit to the celebration halls - Mazā aula (Small Hall) and Lielā aula (Great Hall), the second one includes both halls and takes a closer look at the façade, ornaments, central entrance hall of the university and the visitor’s platform on the roof.
Museum hall - here you can visit our current expositions
You can also receive a consultation about the history of the university and information about the materials available in the museum.
There is a small room in the main building of the University of Latvia, that keeps the evidence about the time when students were locked up for several days for ‘crimes’ such as not submitting books back to the library on time. Student cell that was established in 1875 in Riga Polytechnic Institute (1862-1915) brought both- joy and terror- to students for 20 years. Riga Polytechnic Institute (RPI) was located in the building were now is the main building of the University of Latvia. The administration of RPI had rights to punish students for violating the rules of the institute. In the punishment chamber Students could spend from several hours till a few days and even weeks. Punishment had to be served in solitude that is why the grayish and whitish walls of the room were soon covered with drawings and inscriptions in different languages, including Latvian, Polish, German, Russian, French and Latin. Inscriptions tell about the reflections of students about their delinquent activities that lead them to the chamber, their thoughts about lecturers of the institute, memories of beloved girlfriends and even some mathematic formulas.
Student cell was closed before the foundation of the University of Latvia. Today this Student cell is the oldest original punishment chamber of an educational institution in the Baltic States and it is open for visitors.
The collection and holding of the historical items of the university has been regarded as an important activity since the foundation of the University of Latvia. From 1919 in some faculty museum collections and specific study rooms are created for educational purposes. Here we must mention the Faculty of Medicine and the Museum of Anatomy, the Faculty of Engineering Sciences and the Museum of Geodesy and Swamps, the Faculty of Theology and the Faculty of Architecture and their collections as well as the valuable collection of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural sciences. Cabinet of the Art History in the Faculty of Philology and Philosophy created by the first head of the university- Ernests Felsbergs-must be mentioned as one of the greatest and most valuable collections. Cabinet was established in the study year of 1921/1922 and it holds a priceless collection of coins, a collection of original Greek and Roman art printings and valuable Latvian art pieces. These museums were founded for educational purposes and scientific research.
In 1930 there is the suggestion to unify all the museums, research cabinets of the university into one Museum of the University. This suggestion was declined due to the disagreements among faculties. Nevertheless an important decision was made on April 13, 1932: the Student cell will not be rebuilt and will become an important historical monument. After 1940 the valuable things of museums of the university are partly destroyed, large amount of the valuable items disappear, some of them become a part of the collection of the State Museum. In this period the research of the history of the University of Latvia has been suspended and history has been rewritten according to the new political situation. At the end of the 1960’s some changes can be seen when the first thematic exposition about the history of the university has been opened in 1967. This exposition has been critically evaluated, but at the same time it stimulated the new phase of research of the history of the university. Important stage of research starts at the end of the 1980’s, when the idea of united Museum of History of the university has been renewed. On October 31, 1988 the Council of the University of Latvia accepted the creation of the Museum of University and in 1990 the museum has been established and it has 6 branches: Museum of History, Museum of Zoology, Museum of Geosciences, Museum of Computing and Technology, Museum of Botany and Museum of Pedagogy. In the following years Fridrihs Canders and the Space Museum and Museum of Human Pathologies has been established (in partnership with Latvian Museum of History of Chemistry). Today The Science and Technology Museum of the University of Latvia is an educational structural unit that collects, classifies and presents materials connected with the different aspects of the history of the university.Adrese:
19 Raiņa boulevard, RigaKontakti:
Museum is open from Monday till Friday from 10AM till 5PM.
If it is necessary excursions can be organized also on different times.