EXHIBITIONS

NORTHERN KURZEME FARMSTEAD

Visitors have a chance to compare 19th and 20th century farmsteads in Northern Kurzeme and learn about the lifestyle in the mid-20th century.

The layout and building functionality are characteristic to Northern Kurzeme farmsteads of the late 19th century and early 20th century, when Ernests Birznieks-Upītis, called Pastariņš in childhood, lived in Bisnieki. Visitors can compare the two farmsteads: the current buildings and the miniature model with houses just big enough for the wooden story characters.

The restored dwelling house provides an insight into the lifestyle of a relatively wealthy family in the middle of the 20th century, when this estate was managed by the writer Ernests Birznieks-Upītis’ brother Kārlis. The central part of the dwelling house is the kitchen with the bread oven. Next to it is the grandmother’s room with a loom, spinning wheel, knitted socks and mittens, and the characters from “Pastariņš’ Diary” carved in wood.

Made at the Weaving Workshop of Tukums Museum, the handicrafts play a significant role here. The exact replicas of blankets, or throws, were made by the master craftswoman Ruta Švampe after thorough research of the most characteristic Northern Kurzeme samples.

EXHIBITIONS

BARN – THE REFLECTION OF THE FAMILY’S WEALTH

The exposition inside the barn takes visitors into the daily life of the Birznieki family, where they can get to know the traditional aspects of living on a farmstead.

The excerpts from E. Birznieks-Upītis’ trilogy “Pastariņš’ Diary” correlate to the exhibits, describing the material world in an imaginative and realistic manner, which was so customary and ordinary to Pastariņš, but is so distant and unfamiliar to most children and adults nowadays.

These items depict the practical side of living on a Northern Kurzeme farmstead: the daily jobs of men and women, food storage, agriculture tools and accessories. Many of them were used on the Bisnieki farmstead. The former grain barn will introduce you to the ethnographic objects that help grains become bread: seedlips, flour chests, shovels, grain and flour sifters, kneading troughs, bread peels and a collection of tools for measuring volume. The carthouse is where you will find agriculture and woodworking tools used by the men at Bisnieki: ploughs, harrows and rope-making tools. The exposition also glimpses upon the fields and the garden at Bisnieki. Dowry chests, women’s work tools and various household items can be seen at the clothing, or living, barn.

State Culture Capital Foundation’s special-purpose programme “Latvia – 100” within the project “Pastariņš’ Home – Bisnieki Farmstead in Northern Kurzeme – The Model of Latvian History” is co-financed by Tukums Municipality Council.