SAMOGITIAN ART MUSEUM
DUKE MYKOLAS OGINSKIS ESTATE
The museum is located in the former estate of Duke Mykolas Mikalojus Oginskis (1849–1902). The buildings were constructed during the time period from 1873 to 1886. The manor housed an orchestra school established by Mykolas Oginskis, which operated from 1879 to 1902. The prominent Lithuanian artist and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875–1911) was a student of this school from 1889 to 1893. Presently, the estate consists of ten buildings dating back to the 19th century, surrounded by one of the most beautiful and largest (57.3 ha in total) mixed-style parks of Lithuania. The park was first formed in the 18th century. Plungė Estate has not lost its initial structure and is thus one of the most valuable architectural ensembles in Lithuania. As of 2006, it has witnessed numerous restorative works financed by Plungė District Municipality and the EU Structural Funds.
The Samogitian Art Museum opened its doors in the Manor House of Duke Oginskis in 1994. This museum was the first regional art museum seeking to exhibit the artworks by the Samogitian artists living both in Lithuania and abroad. The International Exhibition of Samogitian Artists is held every four years. The artworks brought to such exhibitions frequently become permanent exhibits of the museum. These exhibitions feature the works of various Lithuanian artists from Samogitia who represent the time period from the end of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century, e.g. Vytautas Valius, Juozas Bagdonas, Adomas Galdikas, Kazys Varnelis, Telesforas Valius, Algimantas Švažas, Ignas Budrys, Genovaitė Jacėnaitė, Dalia Matulaitė and many others. The museum also presents the history of the Duke Oginskis family and Plungė Estate, and regularly holds temporary art, history and cultural history exhibitions displaying Lithuanian and foreign works.
The museum has professional art and folk art collections of Lithuanian and emigrant artists from the second half of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century, and a sacral folk art collection from the 18th-20th century. The museum strives to compile archeological, photographic and ethnographic collections and establish a library for art, history and local history books. The scientific library of the museum stores personal books, manuscripts and other documents of such prominent figures as the historian Zenonas Ivinskis (1908–1971), local history specialist Eleonora Ravickienė (1916–2004), physician and ethnographer Ignas Končius (1886–1975), philosopher, reporter and translator Pranas Mantvydas (1894–1960) and many others.
The annual International Mykolas Oginskis Classic Music Festival is one of the most prominent events held by the museum that has already become an integral part of the Samogitian music culture. During summer weekends, the visitors can also the series of cultural events titled A Date in the Park of My Dreams. Plungė Estate and its international and local cultural events are among the most popular ones in Plungė district and attract many tourists.
The Samogitian Art Museum has a branch, Žemaitė Memorial Museum, which is dedicated to the Lithuanian writer Žemaitė. The museum is located in the manor where Žemaitė was born, in Godeliai Village, Regional Municipality of Šateikiai.