To ensure the availability of all the museums of the association during the Summer season of 2019, there will be the following changes in the working hours of the following museums:

  • The Jānis Akuraters museum: from 1st June until 31st August: 11.00–18.00, Wednesdays: 12.00–19.00. Closed – Sundays, Mondays.
  • The Krišjānis Barons museum: from 1st June until 31st August: 11.00–18.00, Wednesdays: 13.00–19.00. Closed – Mondays, Tuesdays.
  • The Rainis and Aspazija House: from 1st June until 31st August: 10.00–17.00, Wednesdays: 12.00–19.00. Closed – Sundays, Mondays.
  • The Rainis and Aspazija Summer House: from 1st June until 31st August: 10.00–17.00, Wednesdays: 12.00–19.00. Closed – Sundays, Mondays.
  • The Janis Rozentāls and Rūdolfs Blaumanis Museum: from 1st June until 31st August: 11.00–18.00. Wednesdays: 11.00–19.00. Closed – Sundays, Mondays.
  • The Ojārs Vācietis museum: from 1st June until 31st August: 10.00–17.00, Wednesdays: 12.00–19.00. Closed – Sundays, Mondays.
  • The Andrejs Upīts Memorial Museum: from 1st June until 31st August: 10.00–17.00, Wednesdays: 12.00–19.00. Closed – Sundays, Mondays

See you in the Summer!



May 18th, 2019

During the annual Museum Night, as is customary, there will be free guided tours available, as well as the documentary film on the poet’s life “Aspazija and Rainis. The Roll of Time”. Museum will be open from 19.30 until 24.00.

This time in the museum event space there will be the option to watch poetry videos about the subject “Anxiety” which have been selected by the poets working in the Association of Memorial Museums – Kaspars Zalāns, Elvīra Bloma and Raimonds Ķirķis.

Each of them has created a 30 minute long compilation, each with an introductory section. The videos themselves will be in English, but translations in Latvian will be available in printed form.

The plan of the Museum night:

19.30–23.00 Guided tours in Rainis and Aspazija’s memorial flat

19.30–24.00 Screenings of the film “Aspazija and Rainis. The Roll of Time”

20.30–23.30 Screenings of poetry videos.

The Screenings:

  1. Anxiety?

19.30 and 22.30

Raimonds Ķirķis: “When a train drives through a cinema screen, the audience feels anxiety. An Arabic script without context can create anxiety. School years are endless anxiety. When anxiety can be found in almost every expression, when it becomes part of living, life becomes considerably less anxious.”

Raimonds Ķirķis is a poet, translator, poetry critic who is currently responsible for the digitalisation of the Museum of Literature and Music’s collection at The Rainis and Aspazija Museum. His works have been published in Punctummagazine, Satori and elsewhere. He studies at the Latvian Academy of Culture and leads the literary show “Bron-hīts” (“Bronchitis”) at Radio Naba.

  1. Communication anxiety

20.00 and 23.00

To illustrate this theme, Kaspars Zalāns has chosen a poetic performance by Jackson Mac Low on the absurdity of phone conversations, Frank O’ Hara’s poem on the anxiety of urban communication and first impression’s, Ginsberg’s ever resonant “Howl” for all the outcasts and misunderstood, Ted Hughes representation of the breakdown in the communication between poet and his being, as well as a reading by Jim Morrison about the impossibility of communication between men and a higher power.

Kaspars Zalāns is a poet, the PR specialist of the Association of Memorial Museums, his works have been published in Satori, Domuzīme, konTEKSTS, Kultūrzīmes and elsewhere.

He has studied journalism at Glasgow, worked at the Scottish television, as well as written music reviews.

Currently researches the expressions of masculinity in contemporary male poetry for his masters.

  1. Private anxiety

21.30 and 22.30

Elvīra Bloma has dedicated her section to private anxiety, which is almost impossible to share, because shared it does not lessen. It is anxiety which is connected to each person’s “imprisonment” in their own body, time and space where one has not chosen to be born in and has to thus constantly adapt to.

Elvira’s focus is not as much on specific poets as it is on the movement of poetry videos, which became popular in Europe and the US in the 2000’s, the synergy of poetry and video: art forms that support each other, not limit.

Elvīra Bloma is a poet, a specialist at The Rainis and Aspazija House, her works have been published at Punctummagazine, Satori, Latvju Teksti and elsewhere, she also translates poetry from English, she has compiled the poetry collections “Aspazija. Rainis. Reloaded” and “Monta Kroma. Re:”.


Foto and video materials might be taken and will be used further on the internet and for other publicity purposes.

More information: 26912310 or elvira.bloma@memorialiemuzeji.lv, as well as  http://www.memorialiemuzeji.lv and www.aspazijarainis.lv.


On Tuesday, 18 September, 7.30 PM there will be a chance to meet the German writer of Ukrainian origins, Dmitrij Gawrisch. The event will take place in The Rainis and Aspazija House (30 Baznicas street).

Dmitrij Gawrisch was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and moved to Switzerland at the age of eleven. After graduating in Business & Economics at the University of Bern, he wrote his first play “Barren Land”, which was staged in Germany, Switzerland, UK, Poland, Ukraine and Russia. He has written several plays, “Something Africa”, “Lessons of Leaking” and “All Shall Be Well” among them. Dmitrij is a regular author for the award-winning non-fiction magazine “Reportagen”. “Don’t Wait for Rain”, a collection of texts originally written for the magazine dealing with Ukraine and Russia, were published in Russian at “Smena” in Kazan in 2016. Dmitrij is currently working on a yet untitled book of memoir as well as his first novel “The Crane in the Snow”. He lives in Berlin.

He describes himself as: “I’m a Swiss citizen who was born and grew up in Kiev and who now lives in Berlin. Even though I speak Russian, Ukrainian, English and some French, I only write in German. In the short biography for the Russian collection of my reportages, I am called “Swiss writer of Ukrainian origin”. But what about my German life? Does a person need a passport or a birth certificate to be counted as a writer of this country? So I guess I am a German-Swiss-Ukrainian writer writing in German. Or just Dmitrij Gawrisch writing the texts I write no matter where I was born and where I live.”

An event of the Association of Memorial Museums.

Foto and video materials might be taken and will be used further on the internet and for other publicity purposes.


On the 15th of June in Lugano, Switzerland, there was a grand opening of an exposition “Rainis and Aspazija between Latvia and Switzerland” in the new Rainis and Aspazija museum.

In the ceremony – which was organised by the Lugano municipal government – speeches were said by the Latvian Deputy State Secretary of Culture Uldis Zariņš, Lugano city Mayor Marco Barradori, Latvian Ambassador in Switzerland, Austria and Lichtenstein Veronika Erte and others.

The celebratory atmosphere was further created by the Zurich Latvian choir “Balts” with their sibling choir “choR inteR kultuR”(conductor Lāsma Kuplā) and folkdancers “Ramtai” (leader Jānis Vinklers).

The exposition tells about the time Rainis and Aspazija spent in Castagnola, allowing attendees to learn about their lives through their letters and fragments of Rainis’ book of memories “Castagnola”. Within the context of the poets lives are explored the most important points of interaction between Latvia and Switzerland from 1893 till today. In the exhibition it’s possible to see the original Niklāvs Strunkes illustrations for the works of Rainis and Aspazija, the works these poets created while in exile and attendees can also read “Castagnola in three languages.

When creating this exhibition, a lot of thought was put into making it suitable for different audiences. The challenge was to make it appealing for both a Swiss person, a foreign tourist and a guest from Latvia, because each would have a different perspective and knowledge base about the authors, Latvian history and the relationships between Latvia and Switzerland.

“Rainis and Aspazija between Latvia and Switzerland” was created by the design bureau “H2E”. The lead designer Ingūna Elere wishes visitors “to experience through a personal, spatial sense the loneliness both poets felt in their exile and the grandeur and solace given by Switzerland, its nature and people.”

The Rainis and Aspazija Museum in Castagnola (Piazza C. Cattaneo 1, Lugano) will be open from Monday till Friday, from 8.30 till 16.30. Entry is free. After viewing the exposition, attendees are invited to walk around Rainis’ and Aspazija’s favourite places in Castagnola and its surroundings, using the map available at the museum.

Exposition has been created with the financial aid of Latvia’s Ministry of Culture, it’s being maintained by the Lugano municipality.

Group of Strategic advisers: chairman Pietro Montorfani, Rita Meinerte, Sanita Kossoviča.

Content writers: Vita Matīsa, Gundega Grīnuma, Jānis Šiliņš

Project Manager: Sanita Kossoviča

Executive Secretary: Marie Kraitr

Editor: Rita Meinerte

Scientific Consultant: Jānis Zālītis


On 3rd of July, at 15.00 in The Rainis and Aspazija Summer House in Jurmala there will be the opening event for an international exhibition “On the Roads of Language and Literature”.

The exhibition will introduce attendees to poets – Donelaitis, Rainis, Pushkin, Mickiewicz, Maironis, Kupala – who have had an important influence on the development of culture and literature for various nations. The exhibition will also showcase the literary contacts of the neighbouring countries at the time.

“On the Roads of Language and Literature” is dedicated to the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The exhibition is a project of 6 museums from 5 countries: Тhe Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Art (Russia), Literary museum of A. Pushkin (Lithuania), Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum (Lithuania), State Literary Museum of Janka Kupala (Belarus), Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature (Poland), Association of Memorial Museums (Latvia).

The aim of the project is to strengthen relationships between museums and their respective countries and increase the understanding of common history, cultural variety and the richness of its heritage. The initiator of the exhibition is the Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Art, amongst whose branches is the Museum of Kristionas Donelaitis. This year marks two centuries since the publication of Donelaitis poem “The Seasons”. This event is included in UNESCO’s list of commemorative days.

The exhibition will be displayed in various countries throughout 2018: on the 4th of May it was opened at Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Art, on the 3rd of July it will be presented at The Rainis and Aspazija Summer House, 8th of August – Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature, 8th of September – Literary museum of A. Pushkin, 4th of October – State Literary Museum of Janka Kupala, 19th of October – Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum.

The exhibition in The Rainis and Aspazija Summer House (J. Pliekšāna iela 5/7, Jūrmala, LV 2015) will be held until the 30th of August.

An event of the Association of Memorial Museums.

Foto and video materials might be taken and will be used further on the internet and for other publicity purposes.

For more information: www.memorialiemuzeji.lv/en/

zelta_zirgs_01 Rainis. The Golden Horse

Translated and Annotated by Vilis Inde, J. D.

inde/jacobs publishing, Marfa, Texas, 2012

Price (LVL): 12,00

The book is for sale in Rainis and Aspazija Cottage, Janis Rozentals and Rudolfs Blaumanis Museum, Krišjanis Barons Museum and Janis Akuraters Museum as well as in administration of Asociation of Memorial Museums.

One of the seminal pieces of Latvian literature, Rainis’ The Golden Horse is newly translated to English. The play, written in 1909, relates to Latvia’s fight for cultural autonomy at the beginning of the 20th century. Latvians had suffered defeat during the 1905 Revolution and World War One was just beyond the horizon. Rainis, like many other Latvians hoped to inspire a nation. The Golden Horse provided a path to achieve independence.

The Golden Horse is based upon a fairy tale. The youngest and meekest of three brothers, Antins climbs the mountain of blue glass and green ice, wakes the princess and saves the kingdom. The tale is full of symbolism relevant to the era that the audience fully understood. Rainis included lessons along with his words of inspiration. He called for Idealism – Altruism – Self-sacrifice – Unity!

The lessons were exceptionally important. This becomes apparent in the Afterword of the book. The Afterword includes the historic context for this important piece of Latvian literature and discusses Rainis’ exceptional role in the cultural and independence movement of Latvia.

As an example, Rainis and others had been the leaders of the socialist movement that called for workers’ right and freedom from exploitation. This movement was evident in Russia and throughout many parts of Russia. The Latvian socialists would soon split: Rainis would stress cultural autonomy, while others, who followed Lenin, believed that a global utopia could be achieved only by extinguishing ethnic distinctions. The latter believed in a Russian melting pot (Russification), while Rainis stressed the value of Latvian culture. But, The Golden Horse calls for “unity.” Ultimately, the political and cultural differences could be worked out after Latvia shed the oppression of Imperial Russia and the Baltic German land barons.

Thus, this new prose translation provides the reader with access to Latvian literature and the related cultural elements. But it also provides the historical context of the play and its continuing relevance for Latvians today.

The translation by Vilis Inde, a first generation Latvian, is readable. Although the play retains the tone of early twentieth century literature, it does not stumble in the way that many translations do that are prepared by Latvians with English as a second language.

Inde’s goal with the translation was to provide an interesting and important introduction to Latvia for friends and family who do not know Latvian. He stresses that this is an objective history – one very different from the one that he was taught in Sunday schools and summer camps. For example, Rainis was the father of Latvian socialism (and many socialists were communists that supported the Bolshevik Revolution). Inde hopes that his nephews and friends who read the work will have a greater understanding of the complexities of Latvian history and culture.

The book has been praised by Latvians in Latvia and abroad. It has been referred to as a fresh and readable translation for the contemporary reader.