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Seaside Open-air Museum in Ventspils
The Seaside Open-air Museum in Ventspils offers information about development of the fishing industry and a vast exhibition of different boats and anchors.
The museum’s stock comprises over 24,000 exhibits displayed indoors and outdoors.
The indoor exhibits of the museum inform about the main stages in development of the fishing industry, showing its progress through implements for catching all kinds of fish and various boat-making methods.
The four-hectare-wide outdoor area is dedicated to the fishing traditions of the Kurzeme region, tracing the evolution of a fishing boat since the 18th century and featuring the fishermen’s houses typical of the local peoples, the Smiltnieki residential house of a Latvian farmer in the last quarter of the 19th century, a windmill, a threshing barn, a barn, a kitchen house, a forge, a smokehouse, a net shed and other ethnographic structures.
Most recently on display at the Seaside Open-air Museum is the Lielirbe Baptist Prayer House (1913).
On weekends, you can watch a blacksmith and a weaver practicing their crafts.
The narrow-gauge (600 mm) railway, affectionately called Mazbanitis (the Little Train), is one of the main attractions of the Seaside Open-air Museum, serving both to entertain and educate visitors. The German army built it here during World War I for communication between Ventspils and the fishing villages on the seacoast. Now two locomotives pull several second- and third-class cars as well as open-sided cars which are particularly popular with visitors along the Rinka (Circular) Line (1.4 km) and the Kalna (Hillside) Line (3 km) which will runs to the Ventspils Adventure Park.
See the museum’s website for the information about the fares and the timetable.
Festivals and programs
The museum actively organizes the change-of-season holiday festivities customary in Latvia and also offers various educational programs.
Educational programs for visitors of the Seaside Open-air Museum:
- The History of Light Fixtures;
- Ancient Household Utensils and Tools;
- Lost and Found in the Museum;
- Weights and Measures;
- How to Dye Yarn;
- The Butter Churn;
- The Way of Bread.