A new exhibition at the Money Museum invites visitors to see a different side of Vilnius amidst the city’s anniversary celebrations

The Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania invites visitors to a new exhibition dedicated to the 700th anniversary of the capital of Lithuania: ‘Reminding and Remembering – Vilnius and its Remembrance in Numismatics and Bonistics’. The exhibition organisers admit that housing of the most impressive exhibit of the exhibition in the exposition brought along a lot of challenges.

Visitors to the exhibition will see medals, coins, unrealised graphic designs, money notes, and securities depicting Vilnius, its architecture and a range of historic figures who lived and created in the city.

‘Everyone in Lithuania – be they individuals, communities or institutions – has a relationship with Vilnius, and the Bank of Lithuania is no exception. 

Lithuania first established the connection between the capital city and the central financial institution of the country during the interwar period, and once independence was restored in 1990, Vilnius was mentioned for the first time in the Law on the Bank of Lithuania. This mutual relationship is not only embodied in legislation, but also in the success of Vilnius itself.

Urban growth and prosperity is inseparable from the successful operation of the central bank. Therefore, the Bank of Lithuania is proud to be part of celebrating the anniversary of Vilnius.

This exhibition is our gift to Vilnius, and visitors are invited to look at the city from a different angle: numismatics and bonistics. The exhibition and the entire museum is free to enter for all’, notes historian Karolis Tumelis, one of the event’s main organisers.

The majority of items on display were or could have been used in daily life, which is why they play a special role in preserving certain images, places, and public figures from Vilnius, and the links between them, in the collective memory.

‘Vilnius is the most important city in Lithuania. For over seven centuries, all of the nationalities and communities that have lived here have agreed on this; those for whom the capital of Grand Duke Gediminas was not only the state’s political centre, but also the cradle of their culture. This kind of Vilnius is established in the collective memory, as well as in the memories of the individuals who have lived here. 

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see medals designed by one of the most prominent Lithuanian medal makers of the 20th century, Petras Rimša, alongside unrealised graphic designs of collectable and commemorative coins, manufacturing tools, and other coins depicting our capital city’, observes historian and exhibition organiser Lina Žižliauskaitė.

For the organisers of the exhibition, housing the most impressive item in the collection posed many challenges. The most significant was faced by designer Kipras Lučinskas, who had to decide on how to display the bas-relief of Jonas Basanavičius created by Vincas Grybas.  

‘It is the biggest item in the entire exhibition, measuring 84 cm in diameter and weighing tens of kilograms. Therefore, preparing its display required specialist skills and sheer physical strength.  

Vincas Grybas proposed that the then Bank of Lithuania should manufacture and distribute medals designed on the basis of this bas-relief. Unfortunately, those plans failed’, reflected Ms Žižliauskaitė.

The exhibition in the Money Museum will be open until June 2024, and is partnered with the Lithuanian National Museum of Art and the M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art
Money Museum