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Mentzendorff House, a subunit of the Museum of History and Navigation, with its 17-18th century atmosphere is the only museum of its kind in the Baltics. It was opened to the general public on 18 May 1992. The exposition is set up in a building of 1695, which up to 1939 was a dwelling-house with a shop and warehouses. The house was restored by Polish construction company “PKZ” and architect Pēteris Blūms.
A dwelling-house museum renders the everyday life of wealthy Riga residents in the past. The unique ceiling- and wall-paintings of the 17th-18th centuries have been matched by respective objects of interior from the History and Navigation Museum, with every room furnished in a different manner. Visitors can have a look around the old shop, a kitchen with the so-called “coat chimney”, a salon, a dance hall, a “poet’s room”, a family chapel, a master’s room, a “girl’s room”, or go down to the cellar or up in the attic, both of which now accomodate exhibition halls.
The museum stores 2000 exhibits which tell the history of the house and the life-stories of its various inmates.
The museum acquired its name from the last owners of the house – the merchant family of Mentzendorffs. In-between 19th and 20th centuries August Mentzendorff’s shop was still the place to buy the best coffee in Riga. Ties with the Mentzendorff family have been retained and its descendants support museum activities both in spirit and practice. The grandson of A. Mentzendorff, prof. Dietrich Andre Loeber, was nominated for the Museum of History and Navigation Friendship Card due to his substantial assistance.
Already back in the 17th century the house accommodated a glass workshop run by Jürgen Helm. The tradition has been preserved – also nowadays the Mentzendorff House has a contemporary glass studio, the Centre of Glass Art and Studies. The creation of glass artworks can be observed in action. Preliminary booking will provide an opportunity to learn some glass artwork skills.
At least one new exhibition is opened every month.