Riga – Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

This is the temporary home of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, which concentrates on the period between 1940 and 1991 when the Russians were effectively in control in the country. They have a new building being built at the moment, which isn’t likely to open until 2020, which will give them much more space. I also had a rather positive experience at their second site, which is temporarily closed, the Corner House KGB Museum.

There are a limited number of exhibits and interactive displays at the moment, as they don’t have the space to show everything that they’d like. Instead there are a lot of information boards which tell the story in chronological order and they’re clear and well presented. Above is one of the boards which shows what street names were changed to in Riga during the relatively brief period of German occupation during the Second World War.

This is a purse which was meant to be used for a Latvian soldier’s identification badge, in case he was killed in action and needed identifying. He used it instead to place prayers from his mother and sister in, a reminder of the home-life that he was missing.

One of the special exhibition displays, the notice reads “this item (like history itself) is being made right now!”. It went over my head….

The museum started operations in 1993 and its site closed in 2012 for the new building to be constructed. I look forwards to visiting Riga again when the museum is open, as there was a special display on some of the plans that they have, and it looks an exciting project. I noted that there was a staff member at the entrance to the museum who was welcoming everyone and giving them an introduction to what there was to see, it set a positive tone for visitors.