Last year, more than 120,000 people visited the MO Museum and its exhibitions, while 13,000 schoolchildren took part in MO educational classes and the same number of adults attended events. 30 000 people visited the travelling MO Museum exhibition and educational events in Lithuania. During the first four years, the MO Museum has established itself as a relevant open space that attracts a wide range of people, with more than half a million visitors since its opening in 2018.
Exhibitions, new activities and initiatives – what were the most memorable events of the past year and what can you expect in the Museum in 2023?
The challenges of 2022 have reinforced the need for cultural people and institutions to take a more prominent position in public life. This expectation is also reflected in research and surveys, according to which MO visitors expect the museum to take a stand on important issues of value in public life.
Year of Support for Ukraine
Russia’s war against Ukraine in February 2022 shocked the world and demanded a swift response and consolidation. “We immediately took the decision to give Ukrainian citizens free access to the museum, and we raised funds for support organisations in various ways. We went from being a receiving institution to a fundraising institution,” says Milda Ivanauskienė, Director of the MO.
In support of Ukraine, we have made it possible for its citizens to visit the Museum free of charge, we have developed an e-guide to the exhibition in Ukrainian, and we organise free guided tours in Ukrainian. More about our support
Prominent exhibitions in 2022
In spring of 2022, joining one of the most important cultural events of the year – Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022 – MO Museum, together with the Kaunas City Museum, organised the exhibition “Kaunas-Vilnius: Moving Mountains“, which explored the culture and identity of Kaunas and Vilnius cities in different ways.
Andrew Miksys’ exhibition “BAXT“, about the life of the Lithuanian Romani community, also attracted special attention. The multicultural day centre for children and young people “Help me to fit in” and the Romani young people who attend it were involved in the creation of the exhibition and the events surrounding it. The exhibition was featured in Vogue magazine as one of the world’s most recommended exhibitions to visit.
The autumn season at the MO Museum was opened with MOrathon, a two-weekend cultural festival dedicated to the opening of the international major exhibition “The Meeting That Never Was“. This exhibition is the most important event of the year 2022 for the MO Museum and an exceptional Lithuanian art event. The major exhibition is accompanied by a small exhibition on optical art, “Op Art Reflections”, which explores the origins of Lithuanian optical art.
Leadership in philanthropy and emotional literacy
Last year, the MO Museum initiated the first scientific study in Lithuania to substantiate the positive impact of art on children’s emotional literacy. The research, conducted by the Integrated Neuroscience Association, confirmed that the emotional literacy of schoolchildren improved after only four educational sessions.
“We are proud that the first scientific study in Lithuania to substantiate the impact of art on children’s emotional literacy has been conducted at the MO Museum – a place where we have been talking about it since its opening and where we have been organising activities aimed at developing emotional intelligence for children and young people of all ages,” says Milda Ivanauskienė, Director of the MO Museum.
Another important topic in society is the promotion of philanthropy, which is why in 2022, the MO Museum has addressed the state institutions with a proposal to start celebrating the International Day of Philanthropy in Lithuania on 15 November. Public initiatives to promote philanthropy make a strong contribution to public education so that present and future generations understand the importance of sharing. Without the support of patrons, the MO Museum would not be able to carry out its ambitious exhibition and educational programmes.
On the 700th Anniversary of Vilnius, the major exhibition "Vilnius Poker"
The year 2023 is special for Vilnius as a whole with its 700th anniversary. On this occasion, from 22 April, we will invite you to an experiential major exhibition based on Richard Gavelis’ novel “Vilnius Poker”.
“Everything is possible in Vilnius”, wrote R. Gavelis in his book. This work is still known as one of the most important texts on Vilnius, and has become a symbol of liberation from the Soviet era and freedom of creation. The challenge to rethink it visually was taken up by one of the most prominent and innovative personalities of theatre, theatre director Oskaras Koršunovas, and stage designer and artist Gintaras Makarevičius. The exhibition is curated by Dovilė Barcytė and Algė Gudaitytė, and consulted by Jūratė Čerškutė, Laima Kreivytė, Gintautas Mažeikis, Kasparas Pocius, Almantas Samalavičius, and Vladimiras Tarasovas.
Special attention to children
This year, the Museum will focus especially on children. In the spring of 2023, the lobby spaces of the MO Museum will invite children to explore the life of the city, reflecting the year’s main theme – the anniversary of Vilnius.
After the first children’s exhibition at MO, “Lake Full of Stars“, which attracted a great deal of interest, it is finally time for the second one. At the end of the summer, the MO Museum will open a small exhibition for children and the whole family, created together with partners “Vaikų žemė” (Children’s Land) and book author, illustrator Kotryna Zyle, and stage designer and illustrator Antanas Dubra. The exhibition will invite visitors to explore the links between art and literature and will become a space full of unexpected experiences.
Plaster Mask-Making Workshop will be revived after more than 27 years
In spring 2023, the MO Museum will also invite visitors to Žilvinas Kempinas’s exceptional exhibition “Portraits-Fossils 2023” (curated by Miglė Survilaitė and Aušra Trakšelytė), which will see the revival of the plaster mask workshop after more than 27 years. The masks cast during the workshop will be on display in the exhibition, together with footage from 1996, preserved by the director Gintas Smilga, showing the casting process.
In the 1990s, the masks were cast in the artist’s workshop by friends, now well-known painters, dancers and filmmakers. In the most visited exhibition to date at the MO Museum, “The Origin of Species: 1990s DNA”, the only three surviving casts from that time, inspired Žilvinas Kempinas to reconstruct the workshop anew.
The MO Museum will travel further
The MO Museum will continue to travel beyond the physical walls of the museum in 2023, visiting Biržai, Druskininkai and Šalčininkai with the photography exhibition “Celebrate for Change“. In addition to free admission, residents of these towns and surrounding areas will be able to take part in educational sessions, trainings and activities for the whole family.
For the third time this year, the MO Museum, together with the British Council in Lithuania, will be running the Teachers Project. The project will also test new activities: it will develop a new model of integrated lessons in literature, which is expected to be successfully implemented in the MO Museum’s Millennium Schools Programme. Thanks to the British Council, the MO Museum’s educational activities will reach pupils in Visaginas and Šalčininkai district.
MOrathon and other MO events
The exhibition “Vilnius Poker”, which opens at the MO Museum in spring 2023, will be accompanied by MOrathon, which will expand the main theme of the exhibition with new contexts and layers – talks, guided tours, educational activities, a concert and other encounters. Throughout the year there will be events for MOdernists, MO partners and friends, teachers will be invited to the annual conference, and the Museum will once again welcome a loyal and new group of volunteers.
As last year, the Museum will invite families to Family Sundays and those who want to learn more about art to Back2school lectures with Ričardas Jankauskas. In the summer, there will again be children’s summer camps, “MO Outside” events, poetry readings, dance performances, and in the autumn, for the fourth time, the virtual modern art game “MOdyssey” will be organised.