At present Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum’s collections comprise 218 000 of exhibits. They embrace all periods of Lithuanian literature – from the first Martynas Mazvydas’ book till contemporary literature. Museum’s collections are formed, put in order by individual writers or translators, also by events of literature or culture.
Kinds of museum’s exhibits are various. Principally collections are formed of writers’ manuscripts, letters, photographs, documents, books with autographs and without them, prints, works of art. Also collections include memorial libraries, furniture, and various things.
There are five branches of Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum: Juozas Grusas’, Salomeja Neris’, Vanda and Balys Sruoga’ and Juozas Tumas-Vaizgantas memorial museums. Some of them have formed their individual collections.
Yearly in exhibitions are displayed approximately 8 000 of exhibits.
The first, the greatest and the main collection of the museum is creative, memorial heritage of poet Jonas Maciulis-Maironis that was remained in poet’s house after his death (1932). This material was the base to found Maironis Memorial Museum in 1936.
The first head of the museum was poet Bernardas Brazdzionis (1940-1944). At that time was prepared new statute that regulated activity of the museum and provided for necessity to collect not only material about poet Maironis, but also other exhibits of Lithuanian writers.
Part of exhibits was accumulated during World War II. At that time Bern. Brazdzionis has written: “We accumulate all material that is related to history of Lithuanian literature and to individual writers”. It confirms that even during the war focal attention was given to creator.
In post-war period was harder to accumulate exhibits because a lot of writers went away to the West.
At that time museum’s employees formed collections of writers who stayed in Lithuania; they fixed various events of Lithuanian literature, congresses of writers, Poetry Springs and etc.
In the museum’s collections are o lot of material about Lithuanian literature’s translations and about translators. At the period of the Soviets many people relied on museum’s employees. They gave very interesting and valuable material that was kept in special funds. There were A. Kniuksta’s and “Sakalas” archive, part of J. Keliuotis, V. Macernis literary heritage.
Thus was formed various collections of contemporary writers. Constantly was accumulated material about authors of Ancient literature, was collected a lot of old books.
Since 1989 arise a possibility to get exhibits from Exodus writers, mostly from USA. At present some collections of Exodus writers are huge.
After retrieval of Independence there was formation of exile writers’, partisans’ collections; various material that was hidden at the period of the Soviets could achieve the museum. Museum’s funds refill at present approximately 6 000 of exhibits yearly. The biggest part of exhibits is from archives of Exodus writers. In 1989 to the museum was passed 50 000 of exhibits from Vilnius Writers’ Memorial Museum that was closed. There were post-war and subsequent decades writers’ collections that included various kinds of exhibits, memorial furniture, things and pictures.
At present the tone of collections is changed. Of late years almost have disappeared very interesting and informative kinds of exhibits – epistolary and manuscript. Nowadays writers better prefer to write their works, letters with the help of computer. Standard, resembling everyday life does not generate museum employees’ interest to memorial things or to the same books. Although, every period is meaningful. Presently the most important task is to preserve and to investigate all accumulated material.