In 2023, Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, celebrates its 700th anniversary, and the Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania has made its contribution to the celebrations. To mark this event, on 5 July the exhibition “Take and Remember - Vilnius and its Memory in Numismatics and Notaphily" was opened at the Exhibition and Education Hall of the Museum. 

Vilnius is a city which everyone in Lithuania, people, communities and institutions – has a relationship with. So is the Bank of Lithuania. As early as in the inter-war period, Lithuania associated the country's central financial institution with its capital city, and in 1990, when Lithuania regained its independence, the name of Vilnius was for the first time mentioned in the Law of the Bank of Lithuania. This reciprocal relation is reflected not only in legislation but also in the success story of Vilnius itself.

In this exhibition, we invite you to have a look at the capital from a slightly different perspective – through pieces of numismatics and notaphily: medals, coins, unrealised graphic projects, banknotes and securities, depicting Vilnius, its architecture, and the historical personalities who have lived and worked in the city. Many of the objects on display actually were or could have been used on a daily basis, and therefore were particularly useful in consolidating certain images of the city, its places and people, and their interconnections within the collective memory.

Since ancient times, items of numismatic have been a means of communication. The coins are marked by the marks of the sovereigns (states, cities, rulers), which not only identified the money but also conveyed political or cultural ideas. Their inherent mobility allows the information content they carry to be disseminated and shared on a very wide scale. Their design, materials, form, and content reflect the political and cultural contexts over the lifetime of their creators. This allows us to see a medal from different perspectives, not only as a piece of art by itself, but also as a witness of a particular epoch, its ideas, or other relevant phenomena. Undoubtedly, one of the more interesting exhibits in the exhibition are the medals of the famous 20th century Lithuanian medal designer Petras Rimša. 

Visitors can also see the coin sketches that have never been realised. The creation of any coin, banknote, or medal starts from a simple sheet of paper. Then a sketch is gradually transformed into a graphic design creating a final, production-ready model. All projects and models, whether approved or rejected, are not only a unique source of insight into the development of ideas, but also help to imagine what might have been. All such artworks reflect the efforts of the artists to perpetuate the memory of Vilnius in a miniature space.

Exhibition partners – the National Museum of Lithuania and the M.K.Čiurlionis National Museum of Art.