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Latvian War Museum

The Latvian War Museum (Latvijas Kara muzejs) is a military museum in Riga, one of the oldest and the largest museums in Latvia. It was founded in 1916 as the Latvian Riflemen Museum. In 1917, when Riga was bombarded, the museum was evacuated. In June 1919 restored operations at the Powder Tower in Old town of Riga. The museum opened to the public in 1921.

Latvian war museum, before 1914.
Latvian war museum, between 1910 and 1918.

In 1936 the government acquired the neighboring land lot. The erection of a new museum building was initiated in 1937, according to a project by architect Artūrs Galindoms. The new museum building was finished in the summer of 1940, but the museum did not manage to arrange the exhibitions prior to the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940. The Latvian War Museum came under the jurisdiction of the Latvian People’s Army’s liquidation commission, which handed the museum artifacts over to the People’s Commissariat of Education, and were stored at the previous Riga Stock Exchange building; and the museum premises were handed over to the Red Army. On 15 January 1941, the Latvian War Museum ceased to exist.

Latvian War Museum, the 1930s.
Latvian war museum, 1943.
Latvian war museum, 1944.

From 1957 to 1990 the premises were occupied by the Latvian SSR Revolution Museum, which interpreted 20th-century Latvian history through the point of view of Soviet ideology. On 11 June 1990, the Government of Latvia restored the Latvian War Museum.

Latvian War Museum, 1963.

The largest and most significant part of the museum’s collection consists of objects about the military and political history of Latvia in the 20th century. The core of the museum’s collection holds more than 25 400 units, which are systematized into 22 individual collections. The War museum has collections of weapons, photos, documents, medals, and military uniforms.