Elza Rudenāja and Vladislavs Urtāns collection on preservation of local cultural legacy
The Elza Rudenāja and Vladislavs Urtāns collection at the Madona Museum of Local History and Arts shows how much devoted and resourceful people could contribute to the preservation of the local and national culture by working within the system, even in an inhospitable political environment.
Madona Skolas iela 12, Latvia LV-4801
- Elza Rudenāja and Vladislavs Urtāns collections
The collection started to form with the establishment of the museum in 1944, but most actively since the 1950s. It consists mainly of documents and photographs about the everyday activities of the museum. Artefacts in the collection, documents, letters and memoirs present evidence of the efforts made by E. Rudenāja, the director of the museum, to counter the attacks on the very existence of the museum between the 1940s and the 1960s, and on the efforts by the museum's staff to preserve artefacts from the past. V. Urtāns worked in the museum from 1950 to 1958, and the collection reflects his contribution, which can be divided into two parts. One displays the obligatory part of his work for the museum: fulfilling formal obligations, such as giving lectures about the success of kolkhozes in the Madona district. The other part reflects his real contribution to the preservation of the historical and cultural legacy. The collection reflects the educational work of the museum, which was very diverse, from the popularization of the museum’s exhibitions and giving popular lectures to the public, to the active involvement of schoolchildren in the work of the museum and in researching local history. Rudenāja and Urtāns never challenged the political regime openly, they acted within it, counting on the support of liberal functionaries and cultural personalities who were aware of the importance of their work. Nevertheless, under the Soviet regime in Latvia, efforts at the presentation of a non-Soviet view of the past very often risked accusations of nationalism. The collection also holds memoirs about their work and activities written by Vladislavs Urtāns and Elza Rudenāja in the 1980s and 1990s, which were partly published in periodicals. The memoirs were written at the initiative of the museum. Some artefacts were donated by the sons of Vladislavs Urtāns. Documents, photographs and other artefacts were widely used after 1989/1991 in exhibitions, such as ‘Elzai Rudenājai - 100’ in 2011, and in an exhibition about Vladislavs Urtāns in 2016, as well as by researchers and journalists.
The collection consists of approximately 1,000 documents and photographs that reflect the efforts by Elza Rudenāja and Vladislavs Urtāns to preserve the cultural heritage of the Madona region. Although they had to accommodate the demands of the political regime, and prepare lectures and exhibitions on building communism, their main concern was the collection and preservation of the pre-Soviet historical legacy, and the cultural distinctiveness of the region. These efforts were sometimes not well received by over-zealous functionaries and journalists. There was always a tension between the formal role of local museums as propagators of the achievements of the Soviet system and the understanding among their staff of their mission as keepers of the local and national identity. Strong personalities like Rudenāja and Urtāns managed to fulfil this mission, in spite of the pressure from the political system.
- fényképek: 100-499
- kéziratok (személyes dokumentumok, naplók, feljegyzések, levelek, vázlatok, stb.): 500-999
További fontos személy
- Zepa, Līvija
Madona Skolas iela 12, Latvia
- Urtāns, Juris
- csak előzetes egyeztetéssel látogatható
A bejegyzés szerzői
- Bleiere, Daina
Urtāns, Juris, interview by Bleiere, Daina , June 01, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection
Zepa, Līvija, interview by Bleiere, Daina , September 04, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection