Fabric print design by Sigismunds Vidbergs, 1950s. Publicity photo

From July 11 to September 29, the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design (MDAD) will host its 30th–anniversary exhibition «Exposing the Hidden», which is built of different stories telling about the ways in which objects enter the museum. Majority of the objects selected for the exhibition will be shown publicly for the very first time.

Stories Editorial July 4, 2019

The MDAD was opened on July 6, 1989, and this year it celebrates its 30th anniversary. The museum is housed in the listed 13th–century monument of architecture — St. George’s Church. Throughout these years the MDAD has been faithful to its core tasks — to educate the public and stimulate its interest in the heritage of Latvian and international decorative art and design in its historical and artistic manifestations, highlighting the place of the national school of art in the history of culture and contemporary processes.

The exhibition «Exposing the Hidden» tells about the ways in which objects enter the museum. These routes of entry vary and are determined by different factors: the principles of the state’s cultural policy, economic situation, shifts in values and priorities in collection management policy, also various coincidences. Over the course of thirty years, many changes have taken place in our country and society, logically influencing the development of the museum. Today MDAD wants to take a complex look at this set of questions, reflecting on the future perspective of the museum and its collection.

The task of a modern museum is to ensure that this information is open and conveyed to the public in an intelligible manner. The museum’s collection holds 11 928 items, while the permanent exhibition presents only 522 of them. The visitor actually sees only a tiny fraction of the sizeable collection, therefore it is important to tell the public about the processes that take place beyond the visible part of the «iceberg», to make the specifics of the work with the museum’s collection more open and more accessible.

The exhibition is built on the principle of open collection. The exhibits selected by the MDAD collection curators (more than 70 items) are grouped according to the story of their arrival at the museum. Majority of the objects, donations, acquisitions and even accidental finds, selected for the exhibition will be shown publicly for the very first time.


The exhibition «Exposing the Hidden» will be on show at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Skārņu iela 10, Riga, from July 11 to September 29. More information on the exposition and its satellite events can be found on the MDAD homepage.