The first power plant in Vilnius, which was in operation from 1903 to 2003, is connected to the Old Town by the nearby King Mindaugas Bridge. On the opposite side of the river Neris are the Gediminas Castle and Cathedral Square. The front of the power plant is decorated with the sculpture “Electra“ by B. Balzukevicius (destroyed during the Soviet occupation in 1957 and recreated in 1994 from old pictures, by sculptor P.Mazuras).
The opening of the museum coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Vilnius Power Plant. 2005 saw the development of a project for “the Lithuanian Energy Museum’s reconstruction into the Lithuanian Technology Museum, converting cultural and historic heritage buildings and premises of the first Vilnius Central Power Plant for public and tourism use”. The project was implemented with the support of EU Structural Funds in September 2008 and the site, which grew from 800 to 5000 sq m, became the largest technical museum in Lithuania, covering different aspects of industrial heritage and science.
The pride of the museum is and always will be of course, the power plant building itself and the original equipment, which had been in recent use: steam turbines and generators, steam boilers, water pumps, pipelines and the power plant’s control panel etc. In addition to a renewed and substantially expanded energy exhibition, the museum has exhibits on industry (the history of technology in Vilnius), transport and two interactive exhibitions: Technology Science and Technology for Children.
The industry exhibition invites visitors to see how the face of the city and its everyday life had been changed by global industrialisation during the last two hundred years. It shows the industry of the city, from craft workshops right up to the end of the Soviet era, including important industries such as textiles, glass, paper, computers and laser technologies. In two halls, surrounded by historic photographs, visitors are presented with machinery, equipment, industrial products and the people who made them. The transport exhibition is an introduction to the evolution of the motorcar and motorcycle spanning over one hundred years and shows the history of public transport in Vilnius.
The interactive exhibitions aim to stimulate interest in science and technologies in an entertaining way and to popularise science in society. The exhibits are a lively illustration of different technical inventions and demonstrate different scientific approaches. Educational interest was the key for the development of this exhibition.
Being located in the very centre of Vilnius and owing to its authentic industrial environment, the Energy ant Technology Museum also attracts the attention of event organisers. Various representational events such as presentations of new products, small concerts, the filming of video clips and photo-sessions which require unusual environments, all take place in the Turbine Hall and Boiler Room. It’s great to see that the museum is becoming an attractive location not only for Vilnius citizens interested in technology and visitors to the city, but also for children, young people and families.