Exposition in Riga
Station Life Exposition (opened on 9 April 2014)
How does one unveil the charm and essence of a train station? How does one express what a person is feeling as they arrive in an unfamiliar station for the first time, returning home from a long journey or setting off for their day? We believe it can be done by stirring up personal memories and drawing on all the human senses. Hence, the exposition designer Einārs Timma together with his idea implementation team has created a special station world, which visitors can discover step by step through each station room, staff member and sensations.
The historical framework of the exposition is set by Saldus Station. However, we trust that the things seen, heard and experienced here will remind you of your own favourite station. Meanwhile, those who belong to generations not familiar with the daily routine of a station and have yet to experience a train ride, will get a good gist of it. Everyone will be able to find out how a Morse code device and commutator work, what resides on the station’s second floor, what hides in the station master’s locker, and how railwaymen dressed 100 years ago. The more patient ones will have a chance to listen to stories and conjure up their own imaginary station. The smells and sounds inherent to stations will only add to your experience.
The exposition does not merely reconstruct a period in time. It is dedicated to the station as a centre of social life in the 20th century. It is not a classical story of the functions and historical development of the station; it is an invitation to revisit your memories and tell your children and grandchildren about them.
The traditional train station rhythm faded away with the advent of modern technologies, motor vehicles and daily rush. The buildings of the small stations are being transformed into museums, churches, shops and residential buildings. Others look out on the world through dark windowpanes and await their new owners. The exposition offers a slightly nostalgic retrospection into the past and invites you to enjoy Station Life.
The museum’s employees have revealed their feelings and stories, and we invite others to do the same for a more personal take on history. Put your feelings and memories of trains and journeys into writing, a story or drawing and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask your parents and grandparents and you will be surprised how exciting their train rides have been.
The exposition’s creators:
The exposition’s museographer, author of the idea and interior objects: Einārs Timma.
Historical framework and text: Ieva Pētersone, Līga Līce, Karīna Augustāne, Inese Rezgoriņa, Toms Altbergs.
Sound expert: Uldis Sniķeris. Models of buildings: Jānis Strazdiņš and SIA Collezione. Historical interior of the station and displays: Uldis Soste, SIA Mežrogas. Display moving parts, electronics and other effects: Oskars Plataiskalns, SIA Dekorāciju darbnīca; Uldis and Jānis Sniķeri, Reinis Adovičs, SIA Warp Agency. Painting of the station personnel mannequins: Marina and Natālija, SIA Art.I.G.Plus. Station master’s uniform: Māra Binde. Chocolate relief: Solvita Bobrova, SIA S plus A. Renovation: SIA Velve. Painting of lamps: Rolands Buliņš.
Special thanks to: Janis Rozentāls’s History and Art Museum of Saldus, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, Anita Stirna, SIA Gulbenes-Alūksnes bānītis, personnel of Latvian Railways (VAS Latvijas dzelzceļš) at Liepāja, Kalvene, Ilmāja, Saldus, Skrunda, Zasulauks and Lāčupe stations, employees of the Regional Management District, particularly U. Lācis and A. Skirmants, and employees of the Joint Dispatch Control Centre, particularly A. Ņeverovskis.
The History of Rolling Stock in Latvia 1858-1940 (opened on 26 March 2009)
The Construction and Operation of a Steam Locomotive part of the exhibition will teach you about the origins of the steam locomotive in 19th century England. Animation by SIA Dd studio depicts the construction and operation principles of the steam locomotive. After the theoretical introduction to the steam locomotive, the exposition moves back to Latvia, where the first railways were constructed in 1858. With the help of photographs and documents, the exposition introduces visitors to the transformation of locomotives from English- and German-built locomotives used on the Riga–Daugavpils line to the ones built in Russia during World War I. The second part of the exposition is dedicated to the Locomotive Fleet of Latvian State Railways (1919-1940) with special focus on the locomotives and power cars designed, built and operated in Latvia. The construction of some vehicles was so unique they were featured in prestigious railway review publications. For instance, the Tk Class locomotive is included in the global railway encyclopaedia. The railbuses built during the crisis of the 1930s as one of the measures to reduce railway operating expenses might be of particular interest today.
The exposition is centred around the narrow gauge (600 mm) railway locomotive built during World War I and operated in Latvia up to the 1970s. The film Story of a Locomotive (VFS Films) tells of its history.
Visitors may climb in the locomotive’s cab for a closer look at its interior and controls that ensure its operation.
The author of the exposition is the museum’s senior exposition and exhibition organiser Toms Altbergs. All employees of the museum have contributed their fair share of work in the selection of materials and creation of the exposition; the artistic and visual design was developed in cooperation with SIA HES (director Mikus Mezītis) and SIA Dd studio (board chairman Dāvids Mitrēvics).