The European outdoor museum association includes a list of around 300 museums. The three Lithuanian museums that belong to this list are located in Telsiai, Rumsiskes, and Rokiskis.
The most important goal of such museums is not only to depict folk life in its natural surroundings, but also to preserve original objects of folk art for scholarly research.
In 1967 the Samogitian museum of everyday life was found on a 15 ha plot southwest of the Mastis lake.
In 1963 the Ministry of Culture formed a commission to choose appropriate cottages and other exhibits for the museum. The members of this commission included Vacys Milius of the Historical Institute, Klemensas Cerbulenas of the Institute for Construction and Architecture, Bronius Svegzdavicius, the director of the Telsiai folklore museum, and Vitas Valatka, a representative of the museum.
In 1966 they finished the plan for the layout of the Samogitian museum and decided to move 35 cottages, barns and other buildings to the museum grounds in Telsiai.
The first exhibit, brought to Telsiai in 1967 was a bath house from S. Bukauskas' farm near Tryskiai.
Today the Telsiai museum still only includes a fraction of the houses originally planned for the museum. Because of financial difficulties not all of the transports were completed. There are 16 buildings on the museum grounds now, divided into three homesteads and one public town area.
Most of the buildings are arranged to form the homestead of a wealthy farmer. They include living areas, a granary, a pig sty, a cattle shed, a barn, a sheep fold, and a bathhouse.
On the homestead of the medium well-off peasant there are living areas, a granary, a barn, and a cattle-shed. The land-starved peasant only has a small living space and a small shed. The public town area consists of a smithy and a mill.
The homesteads shown in the museum represent typical living quarters of Samogitian peasants and farmers at the turn of the century.
© Samogitian Cultural
Association Editorial Board, 1998.