The historical interior of the Durbe Manor House

The layout, interior design and furnishing of the Durbe Manor House have changed along with eras, historical styles and owners of the estate.  The dominant elements of the eclectic style (the oak parquet, wall panels, doors and stoves) date back to 1904, when Carl von der Recke was in a big hurry in terms of updating the old-fashioned and patriarchal interior of the building.  The interior design also uses various neo-style forms in a parallel manner.

The exhibition presents the typical furnishing of the mansion of a countryside estate in the late 19th and early 20th century.  The use of documents, descriptions, memoirs and historical photographs made it possible to furnish the rooms in accordance with their former functions.  The finishing of the large hall is based on a set of representable forms related to the style of Classicism.  The boudoir has a playful, feminine and airy Rococo atmosphere, the dining hall has heavily serious, antique and very respectable Renaissance forms, while the bedroom is furnished in accordance with the era of Biedermeier design.

A tour of the business, representational and private rooms, as well as some  of the household rooms, creates a certain idea not just about the lifestyle of a single Baltic German lifestyle and the wealth of interior design and art objects in the museum, but also about the diversity of aristocratic cultural events in Latvia.

The ethnographic exhibition “Latvians and their Masters”

The former granary of the estate offers a look at a collection of Tukums Museum ethnographic items.  They are arranged in accordance with the lives of farmers and craftspeople at aristocratic estates, as well as their views and their values.  The name of the exhibition is based on a novel of the same name that was produced by the well-known writer and actor who was known as Rutku Tēvs, but was actually named Arveds Mihelsons.  The novel speaks to the strength of Latvians in terms of using farmland and dealing with the relationship between farmers and the nobility.  The exhibition begins in the room of the lord of the manor, after which the visitor will see the kitchen that is full of dishware and kitchen equipment.  From there, the visitor will go to the household room, where there were very different values.  Children who were part of the dynasty were a specific topic.  Latvians have always searched for “their own corner of land,” and so the topics of farmland, farm work, jobs and assembly of dowries are well-covered by this exhibition.