The first museum in Lazdijai was established in 1924 next to the old Žiburio Gymnasium by its headmaster, priest, poet, and talented pedagogue Motiejus Gustaitis. He gathered collections of ethnographic, household exhibit, and archeologic findings and created an exposition. The Magdeburg Right privilege act, granted to Lazdijai town in 1597 by King Sigismund Augustus was also stored here.
After nationalising the gymnasium in 1936 the museum died away.
In 1974 a memorial room for poet Salomėja Nėris was founded in the building of former Sejny Žiburio Gymnasium in Lazdijai.
After repairing the building in 1995 Lazdijai History, Culture, and Education Museum was established, which was administered by Lazdijai Region Municipality Administration Department of Culture.
As of 2004 the museum became an independent budgetary institution and was named Lazdijai Region Museum. In 2004-2006 the museum expanded after incorporating 4 more branches. In 2008 new exhibit collections were began to be formed, and exhibitions were updated.
Right after opening the door of Lazdijai Region Museum, visitors enter a story about Lazdijai during the interwar period. The hall depicts a fragment of the central square like a scenography of a play. This exposition can provide insight into how the centre of the town looked like during the interwar period and what institutions operated in Lazdijai. Museum employees established a single-visitor cinema, which still plays video clips on Lazdijai region customs: calendar holidays, family customs, traditional dishes, crafts, musical instruments, songs, dances, and attire.
History of education in the region is presented to visitors in the “Senoji Gimnazijos Klasė” (“The Old Gymnasium Classroom”) exposition. There people can learn about the old tools of teaching, sit in old school desks, write with goose feathers and penholders. Old schoolbooks, teaching curricula, didactic material, and school journals are exhibited here.
The museum exposition dedicated to Lazdijai region history contains exhibits of archeologic findings, copies of old maps, and important historic documents. In this exposition visitors can learn about the manors remaining in Lazdijai region as well as the oldest objects with memory of the past of the region – mounds.
Another exposition in the museum is dedicated to the history of institutions that operated during the interwar period. Here visitors can get acquainted with the history of medical, firefighting, postal, photography, and trade institutions in Lazdijai town.
In the room on the second floor of the building, called “the coffin”, an exposition dedicated to poet Salomėja Nėris (1904–1945) is established. In 1928-1931 the poet lived and worked in Lazdijai. Material related to her life and activities in Lazdijai is exhibited here. The adjacent room holds an exposition of her work. It contains photographs from various periods of the poet’s life. While living in Lazdijai, Salomėja Nėris published her second poetry collection “Pėdos Smėly” (“Footprints in the Sand”) (1931). A lighting installation “Smėlio Takas” (“Sand Path”) was created to commemorate this poetry collection.
Various visual and applied art, folk art, lore, and ethnographic exhibitions take place in Lazdijai Region Museum.
Annual ethnographers’ conferences, student conferences, and conferences to commemorate historic dates are held.
We participate in an international event “The Night of the Museums” and a Lithuanian Museum Association programme “Muziejų Kelias” (“Museum Road”) every year.
Motiejaus Gustaičio Gyvenimo Takais (On the Path of Motiejus Gustaitis’s Life). Participants of the education listen to stories about Motiejus Gustaitis. According to the provided questions and the existing exhibits the visitors carry out various tasks in his memorial room and compile a map of Motiejus Gustaitis’s life and creative work.
Svečiuose pas Salomėją Nėrį (Visiting Salomėja Nėris). During the educational activities pupils learn about poet Salomėja Nėris’s life and creative work in Lazdijai.
Slapta Mokykla (Secret School). During the educational programme pupils extend their knowledge of the press prohibition period, the Lithuanian publications that were launched at the time, the most active promoters of Lithuanianism, the secret schools, secret teachers, and book smugglers that operated during that period.
Kino Istorijos Takais (On the Path of the Cinema History). In the course of the educational programme participants learn about an important area of culture in the late 19th-20th century period – cinematic art, get to know with the history of the coming of cinema, the first movie directors and actors, as well as the pioneers of cinema.
Žvakių Liejimas (Candle Casting). During the educational activity visitors become acquainted with the ancient ways of casting candles and try one out themselves.
Velykų Rytą Lelija Pražydo (A Lily Bloomed on Easter Morning). In the course of the educational activity participants are introduced to the oldest ways of colouring Easter Eggs, symbols, and ornamentation, they are taught how an Easter table should be set according to tradition, and try out the traditional way of colouring Easter Eggs with natural wax.
Šieno Monai (Hay Spirits). Participants of the educational activity are told about ancient toys and the means people used to decorate their living areas. They also try out one of the oldest ways of decorating or toy-making by tying hay with thread.
Archeologiniai Kasinėjimai (Archeologic Excavation). Participants of the education become archaeologists for a short amount of time. Each person gets a box with sand and archeologic “findings” hiding in in. They try out how the excavation should be carried out, how findings are to be treated, and how the areas under investigation should be recorded following all the scientific rules of archaeology.
Senųjų Lazdijų Beieškant (In Search of the Old Lazdijai). During the educational activity tasks are given about the past of Lazdijai region and historic objects. The participants seek the answers in the expositions by themselves.
Popieriaus Gamyba (Production of Paper). In the course of the educational activity the participants are introduced to the history of the coming and production of paper in the world and Lithuania, the variety of its ways of use, and the importance of recycling.