The Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Vilnius University (AMM) is a museum founded in 1911 to commemorate the Adam Mickiewicz life and work. From 1 January 2021 the AMM became one of the departments of the Vilnius University Museum. Today, the museum holds many paintings, books, photographs, sculptures and other museum objects related to Mickiewicz.
The oldest part of the museum building is the basement, which dates back to the 17th century. In 2011, archaeological excavations uncovered fragments of green-glazed tiles, which testify to the existence of a stone house on the site as early as the 15th century. Current complex of buildings was completed at the end of the 18th century, and according to the old numbering system, it was marked with the number 147.
Byčkovskis family bought the building in 1812 and soon began renting rooms on the ground and first floors. Among the tenants were Adam Mickiewicz and his friends Ignacy Domeyko, Józef Jeżowski and Antoni Edward Odyniec. According to Odyniec, Mickiewicz edited his poem “Grażyna” in the rented premises. Later, when the house was owned by the military doctor Jan Życki (1810 – 1875), Mickiewicz's historic room was decorated with a memorial plaque with the inscription 'Tu pisana GRAŻYNA 1822' (in English: “Grażyna was written here in 1822”').
At the beginning of the 20th century, the house was purchased by Jan Konrad Obst (1876-1954). The Vilnius weekly newspaper “Tygodnik Ilustrowany” published an article introducing the recent arrival of Obst. He was opera singer, journalist, editor of the magazine Kwartalnik Litewski from the Saint Petersburg. Obst and his wife Róża set up the Adam Mickiewicz Museum in the newly acquired building. In the room where Adam Mickiewicz is believed to have lived, the aforementioned memorial plaque was found under the wallpaper. The Obsts themselves, who were avid collectors, provided the museum's exhibition.
In 1938, Obst donated the entire building, including the museum and its treasures, to Stephen Batory University (now Vilnius University). The building housed the Department of Classical Philology and several professors' apartments. During the Second World War, the museum became a simple apartment and most of the exhibits disappeared.
Stanisław Filibert Fleury, 20th century.
After the war, when UNESCO declared 1955 as the year of Mickiewicz (the 100th anniversary of the poet's death), there were thoughts to restore the museum. Thanks to the efforts of Vilnius University, a new exposition was created. It included authentic Mickiewicz furniture from Kaunas (a chair and a table), that were donated to the Society of Polish Friends of Science by Kazimierz Jaworowski.
In 1979, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Vilnius University, the building underwent a major renovation. The plaque of Obst from the facade, the painting of St. Christopher that decorated the inner courtyard and the plaque "Here was written GRAŻYNA in 1822" that hung in A. Mickiewicz's room have disappeared irretrievably. The situation was worsened by a fire in 1987.
After Lithuania regained its independence, private sponsors supported the museum. One of them was the singer and painter Wiesław Ochman. Part of the money raised and private donations from the Polish Ambassador to Lithuania allowed the museum to expand by adapting the basement to its needs, creating two halls: the Poetry hall and the hall with the exhibition "Women in the Life of Mickiewicz". In addition, the Philomaths Room was opened, and renovations were carried out to Mickiewicz's rooms and courtyard.
Today, the Adam Mickiewicz Museum is important not only for the memory of the poet himself, but also as an important thread in the history of relations between Vilnius, the University, Poland and Lithuania. The Museum offers various guided tours, educational activities, annual Literary Wednesdays, Poetry Contests and other events, and various projects.
Adam Mickiewicz Museum, 2021.