Virtual Exhibitions

Museum organises virtual exhibitions to reveal the University’s history, achievement and traditions, to present to its visitors the persons, who worked and studied at the University.

Life goal – service to the nation. 110th anniversary of Adolfas Damušis

16 June marks 110 anniversary of the birth of Lithuanian scientist, chemist, Minister of Industry of the Government of Lithuania, participant of anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet resistance Adolfas Damušis (1908–2003). On this occasion, KTU Museum prepared a virtual exhibition using the documents and photographs from A. Damušis family archive, funds of KTU Museum, chronicle of KTU Faculty of Chemical Technology and Adolfas Damušis Democracy Studies Centre.

After graduation from Panevėžys Gymnasium in 1928, A. Damušis was admitted to the Technical Faculty of Vytautas Magnus University (VDU). During studies, he was actively involved in the activities of the Ateitis Association; he was one of the founders of the corporation “Grandis”. He suffered the consequences of his activities several times: he was imprisoned at Varniai concentration camp for four months in 1931, exiled to his birthplace by the nationalists for several months in 1933. Professor Pranas Jodelė encouraged A. Damušis’ interest in the possibilities of cement production in Lithuania. During the summers of 1936-1940, A. Damušis was examining chalk and milestone beds near Kaunas, in the regions of Papilė-Akmenė and Karpėnai-Vegėsiai and analysed these materials in the laboratories during winters. He was visiting and learning in cement factories of Germany, Czechoslovakia and Finland in 1937-1938. He defended his dissertation “The influence of aluminium iron fumes to the shrinkage of Portland cement” on 4 March 1940. He prepared a project for the cement factory in Skirsnemunė in 1939; it was used for construction of the first cement factory in Lithuania that began in May 1940, but was stopped by the occupation. Cement factory was opened in Naujoji Akmenė only in 1952. KTU prof. Raimundas Šiaučiūnas always emphasised that “to this day, cement is produced in Akmenė using the formula of A. Damušis“. Damušis was the Head of VDU Department of Inorganic Chemistry from 1940. He became the commander of the headquarters of the Lithuanian Activist Front, one of the organisers and leaders of June Uprising in Kaunas, Minister of Industry of the Provisional Government of Lithuania. He actively participated in the anti-Nazi resistance in 1941-1944. He was one of the organisers of the Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania in 1943, Vice-Chairman in 1943-1944. 1942-1944, Dean of the Faculty of Technology. Was arrested by the Gestapo on 16 June 1944 and imprisoned in Bayreuth, Northern Bavaria, Germany. Was liberated by the American army on 14 April 1945. After his liberation, he found his family and lived in Kempten DP camp and worked as a director of the Lithuanian gymnasium. One of the founders and leaders of the Lithuanian Union of Political Prisoners of Lithuanian Resistance, established in 1945. He moved to the USA in 1947. He worked at the company “Sherwin-Williams” in Cleveland in 1947-1957, and in the chemical company “BASF Wyandotte” in Detroit in 1957-1973. After his retirement at the age of 63, he was invited to University of Detroit. He was professor of this university and Vice-Director of the Polymer Research Institute in 1973-1983. 24 of his inventions are patented in the USA, Canada, England and France. Damušis actively participated in social activities. Commander in Chief of the Ateitis Federation in 1946–1952, chairman of the board in 1957–1964 and 1977–1983. Chairman of the Organisation of the Friends of the Lithuanian Front in 1947–1950 and 1966–1969. Vice-Chairman of the Lithuanian Roman Catholic Federation of America in 1948–1954, Chairman in 1954–1955. At the initiative of the Lithuanian Roman Catholic Federation of America 20 ha of land was bought in 1955; the organisations used it to organise the youth camp “Dainava”; A. Damušis was the head of this camp for several decades. The was a deputy chairman of the Executive Committee for Commemoration of the 600th anniversary of the Baptism of Lithuania in 1985–1987, active participant in the case of the liberation of Lithuania occupied by the Soviet Union, he often write article to the Lithuanian press, was editor of the radio station “Free Europe”. A. Damušis signed an act of the restoration of VDU in 1989. He and his wife returned to live in Lithuania on 12 June 1997.

The merits of A. Damušis are acknowledged by the Prize of Prof. Stasys Šalkauskis, Vatican’s Order of Saint Sylvester, Cross of Commander of the Order of the Cross of Vytis, Honorary Doctor Degree of VDU, and Independence Medal of Lithuania. All his life, A .Damušis was a fighter and idealist. He wrote: “Both in society and in the studying youth we have to educate a sacred understanding that idealism and the spirit of sacrifice has to exist next to the science, dedicating the acquired knowledge for the higher purpose. We have to make sure that improvement of our nation’s economic level of living via science is important and sacred task. We have to educate a young person who is able to rule nature and has idealism to serve his nation”.

KTU Museum is grateful to the head of Adolfas Damušis Democracy Studies Centre and journalist Vidmantas Valiušaitis and researcher of VDU Lithuanian Emigration Institute dr. Ilona Strumickienė for digital copies of the photographs they lent for this exhibition and for provided information.

Path to freedom. 30th anniversary of Sąjūdis

3 June marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Reform Movement of Lithuania Sąjūdis. On this occasion, KTU Museum prepared the exhibition “Road to freedom. 30th anniversary of Sąjūdis” The biggest merit of Sąjūdis – restoration of the state of Lithuania. The Act of Independence of 11 March was signed by 4 KTU lecturers, members of Sąjūdis: prof. Vytautas Paliūnas, assoc. prof. Povilas Varanauskas, assoc. prof. Povilas Varanauskas and lecturer Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas. Thanks to Sąjūdis, the independence of Lithuania was defended on January 1991. KTU Sąjūdis Council invited students, lecturers and employees to gather and defend the Supreme Council Chamber in Vilnius and protected objects in Kaunas and its districts. Students, lecturers and employees went to Vilnius by buses to defend state objects; others defended television building in Kaunas, municipality, Sitkūnai radio station and Jūragiai radio and television rebroadcasting station. Even though there were victims, including two KTU students, Virginijus Druskis and Rimantas Juknevičius, the freedom was defended.

Also, thanks to KPI Sąjūdis, the institute became Kaunas University of Technology; two-cycle study system was introduced and other significant reforms were performed. At the initiative of KPI Sąjūdis and club “Aukuras”, Vytautas Magnus University was restored in Kaunas, monuments for Vytautas, Darius and Girėnas were built, presidents Antanas Smetona, Aleksandras Stulginskis and Kazys Grinius were memorialised in the garden of the historical presidency.

The exhibition presents digital copies of the documents and photographs from KTU Museum and archives of the signatories of the Act of Independence of 11 March.

Independence Heralds

With celebration of the Centennial of the restored Lithuania, KTU Museum invites to take a deeper look at the Lithuanian history and remember people, who awakened Lithuanian people and provided conditions for restoration of the state. They are called the figures of national revival or “Aušrininkai” and “Varpininkai” according to the names of the forbidden newspapers published at the time – “Aušra” and “Varpas”. “Aušra” was published only for the period of three years and its mission continued with “Varpas”, therefore, many “Aušrininkai” became “Varpininkai”. Approximately 500 persons worked for these publications. They were different, but very similar – all of them were romantics, enthusiasts, optimists who believed in the bright future of the Lithuanian nation, success of its march to freedom, tireless hard workers and daredevils who were not frightened by jails or exiles in the Northern Russia. The most prominent of them is doctor Jonas Basanavičius. The first edition of “Aušra”, edited and published by him, is filled with love for the enslaved Lithuanian nation and Motherland; it made an indelible impression to the Lithuanian intellectuals Jonas Jablonskis, Vincas Kudirka and others, who did not feel the national spirit at the time; it inspired them to devote their lives to the fight for the Lithuanian language and rights of the Lithuanian nation. It was a miracle created by mere 500 of brave and determined intellectuals – almost extinguished Lithuanian nation woke up, regained its national self-respect and was inspired to fight for the independent state.

We invite you to recollect those enlightened people and look through the historical photographs of Jonas Basanavičius, Petras Vileišis, Martynas Jankus, Jonas Mačiulis-Maironis, Jonas Jablonskis, Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas and Aleksandras Dambrauskas-Jakštas from KTU Library and Museum’s collections. Those people are closely related to the history of KTU predecessor – University of Lithuania: J. Mačiulis-Maironis, J. Jablonskis, J. Tumas-Vaižgantas were professors of this university, they were awarded the titles of Honorary Professors and Honorary Doctors of the University of Lithuania, along with J. Basanavičius, P. Vileišis and A. Dambrauskas-Jakštas; M. Jankus gave his archive to the university; after the war this archive was handed over to Vilnius University. The exhibition ends with two photographs of the Lithuanian Conference on 18-20 September 1917 taken by photographer Aleksandra Jurašaitytė. Many figures of the revival participated in this conference; they elected the Council of Lithuania that announced the act of the re-establishment of the state of Lithuania on 16 February 1918. Thus implementing the idea of the restoration of the state.

The tasks set by J. Basanavičius and other figures of the national revival: fostering of the Lithuanian language and history, development of the Lithuanian culture, national school and state, remain relevant today, when Lithuania tries to solve the issues of its identity and survival. Let’s be worthy of their dedication and respect their memory.

KTU Faculty of Chemical Technology – 70

9 December 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Faculty of Chemical Technology. KTU Museum congratulates the faculty’s community on this honourable occasion and presents a virtual exhibition “70th Anniversary of the Faculty of Chemical Technology”. The exhibition displays the fragments of the faculty’s history and reminds the persons who transferred their knowledge and provided possibilities for continuation of their work. The exhibition consists of 3 parts reflecting various historical periods of the faculty. The first part “Origins: studies of chemistry in Kaunas 1922–1947” reveals the merits of the teachers of the University of Lithuania in the area of chemical science and shows a complicated history of the University. The second part “Establishment of the Faculty of Chemical Technology and its Activities in 1947–1990” introduces the faculty’s activities during the period of the Soviet occupation. The third part “Maturity: Faculty’s Activities in the Independent Lithuania” shows the faculty’s life after the restoration of independence in Lithuania. The exhibition presents photographs and documents from the funds of KTU Museum and Vytautas the Great War Museum, Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania and albums of the Faculty of Chemical Technology. The exhibition also displays photographs from the personal archives of the graduate of the Faculty of Chemical Technology, signatory of the Act of Independence of 11 March Algirdas Patackas, prof. Romualdas Baltrušis and prof. Marijonas Martynaitis family archives.

Origins: studies of chemistry in Kaunas 1922–1947

Studies of chemical technology began at the Technical Faculty and Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of University of Lithuania in 1922. The Technical Faculty was preparing the engineers of chemical technology while the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences – teachers. By 1940, only 15 engineers of chemical technology graduated from the Technical Faculty, because this speciality was not popular due to the poor development of chemical industry. Technical Faculty had the Department of Organic Chemistry (Head prof. Jonas Šimkus) and Department of Inorganic Technology (Head – prof. Pranas Jodelė). Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences had Departments of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry (Head – prof. Pilypas Butkevičius), Organic Chemistry (Head – prof. Antanas Purėnas) and Physical Chemistry (Head – prof. Vincas Čepinskis). These lecturers were the pioneers of chemistry science in Lithuania. They wrote textbooks in Lithuanian language and created Lithuanian terms. With the change of status in 1930, the University was renamed Vytautas Magnus University. After the Soviet occupation, the University was renamed the University of Kaunas in August 1940. The Faculty of Theology and Philosophy was revoked, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences was relocated to Vilnius University and the Technical Faculty was divided into the faculties of Construction and Technology. When invaders were destroying the Lithuanian army, at the initiative of col. Juozas Vėbra, the Military Research Laboratory was transferred to the University of Kaunas; The Faculty of Technology, including the Division of Chemical Technology, was located there. After the beginning of the war between Germany and the Soviet Union, the University’s students and lecturers organised an uprising against the Russian army on 22 June 1941, and announced the restoration of the independence of Lithuania, but it went against the German plans. The uprising involved active participation Assoc. prof. Adolfas Damušis and col. assoc. prof. Juozas Vėbra were active participants of the uprising, and Research Laboratory became the place of meetings for the rebels. Lecturers and students were active participants of the anti-Nazi resistance.

Establishment of the Faculty of Chemical technology and its activities in 1947–1990

By the order of the Minister of Higher Education of SSSR of 9 December 1947, Technological Faculty of the State University of Kaunas was reorganised into the Faculties of Electrotechnics, Mechanics and Chemical Technology. At the end of 1950, the University was reorganised into Kaunas Polytechnic Institute (hereinafter – KPI) and its Faculty of Medicine into Kaunas Medical Institute. KPI Faculty of Chemical Technology had 6 departments, later – 7 and their names were changed numerous times. New chamber of the Faculty of Chemical Technology and block of laboratories were built in 1970–1975 (architect V. Dičius). With increasing public awareness of the country’s ecological problems, Department of Engineering Ecology was established at the faculty in 1988. The spirit of the independent Lithuania remained present at the faculty during the years of the Soviet occupation. KPI students demonstrated anti-Soviet spirit: they were singing anti-Soviet songs, criticised Soviet system, destroyed Soviet monuments.

Student of the Faculty of Chemical technology Algirdas Patackas and his friend from another faculty Algis Petrauskas had an idea to paint the monument for the members of the young communist league, who died in the fight for the Soviet authorities in Lithuania, built in the faculty’s territory in 1963. During the mid-studies celebration A. Patackas secretly painted the monument in the colours of the Lithuanian flag and painted the Pillars of Gediminas using fuel oil. It caused a significant reaction: people were trying to wash the monument using various chemicals for several months, but nobody knew who committed this offence. The truth was revealed after regaining of the independence, when signatory of the Act of Independence of 11 March A. Patackas admitted that he had painted the Soviet monument.

Maturity: faculty’s activities in the independent Lithuania

Kaunas Polytechnic Institute was renamed Kaunas University of Technology on 31 October 1990. On 12 December 1990, KTU became the first Lithuanian university to begin using two cycle study system. Institute of Synthetic Chemistry was established in 2005, in 2010 a modern Food Science and Technology Competence Centre was equipped using the funds of Faculty and EU Cohesion Fund; it employs experienced scientists and technologists of food science field. Currently Faculty of Chemical Technology consists of 6 departments, Institute of Synthetic Chemistry and Food Science and Technology Competence Centre. New traditions were created at Kaunas University of Technology: in 1998, an oak park was planted near the Faculty of Chemical Technology for the 80 anniversary of the re-establishment of the state of Lithuania. On 26 October of the same year, a sculpture of the oak acorn (by a sculptor R. Antinis) was opened there for commemoration of the Day of the Lithuanian Constitution and Magna Charta of the European Universities. Sundial of the human shadow was opened by the faculty in 2009 to commemorate the thousand year anniversary of the name of Lithuania. Student union of the Faculty of Chemical Technology “Vivat Chemija”, established in 1992, preserves old traditions and creates new ones: they organise freshmen christening, “Days of Chemists”, conduct various social projects.

Traditional costume in the University’s history

This year has been announced as the Year of Language Culture and Traditional Costume. Language and traditional costume are the identification marks of each nation that have to be understood, cherished and preserved by the people. Occupation and ideological abuse hurt the memory of the Lithuanian nation and caused the problems of identity. The nation has historical relation with its native land. Knowledge of the history and national marks motivates creativity, facilitates understanding of the meaning of life and helps to feel your self-worth; therefore, KTU Museum organised a virtual exhibition “Traditional Costume in the University’s History” for the year of the Traditional Costume. The exhibition consists of 4 parts: 3 of them reflect various historical periods: inter-war, soviet occupation and restored state; the works of the students of textile of Kaunas Polytechnic Institute are displayed as a separate part; they are stored at KTU Museum.

Traditional costume and students, 1922-1940.

Traditional costumes were worn by the members of academic choir established in 1924, and choir of the Ateitis Association, as well as members of some student corporations at the University of Lithuania (from 1930 – Vytautas Magnus University). At the time the understanding of the traditional costume was still amateur, however, in a few years the Lithuanian press provided many articles explaining the subtleties of the traditional costumes of the Lithuanian ethnographic regions and people were encouraged to wear traditional costumes. Virtual exhibition provides quite a few copies of unpublished digital photographs from the Baltic Festival of Folk Culture in Tallinn, on 19-20 June, 1926 with a present delegation of the Lithuanian youth wearing traditional costumes and led by the director of the National Theatre Liudas Gira. Lithuanian delegation of 200 persons including many students of the University of Lithuania participated in the joint festive procession with the youth delegations from Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Formal opening of the event took place in the large stadium, followed by a 2-day festival of national culture with dances, songs and games. Original photographs are stored at KTU Library.

Traditional costume during the years of the Soviet occupation

Traditional costume played a special role during the period of the Soviet occupation; it became the form for preservation of the national identity and the sign of the resistance against cultural oppression. Traditional costumes were worn by the exiled Lithuanians in Siberia and members of the Song Festivals. During the concerts at Vytautas Magnus University, traditional costumes were worn by the members of the academic choir and ensemble of dances and songs that was titled “Nemunas” in 1963. Virtual exhibition presents the photographs of the graduate of Kaunas Polytechnic Institute Konstantinas Sasnauskas. The photographs of the fragments of the rehearsals of KPI ensemble of folk songs and dances in 1956 are displayed for the first time.

Works of KPI students of the topic of the traditional costume

Architect and Doctor of Science in history of art assoc. prof. Marija Matušakaitė worked at the Department of Leather and Textile Product Technology of KPI Faculty of Light Industry in 1963-1983. She paid particular attention to the artistic and cultural heritage of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. She taught students about the history and composition of the costume. After retiring, M. Matušakaitė devoted her life to the scientific activities and published 9 science monographs. She was awarded the National Prize for Culture and Art for these works. Virtual exhibition displays the fragments of the thesis of R. Pociūnaitė and J. Jasiulionytė, students of the LS-0 group of the Department of Leather and Textile Product Technology of KPI Faculty of Light Industry “KPI student ensemble of folk songs and dances “Nemunas”. Stage costumes” (1974). Supervisor – assoc. prof. M. Matušakaitė.

Traditional costumes of KTU art societies

3 KTU art societies wear traditional costumes during the performances and events: folk art ensemble “Nemunas”, academic choir “Jaunystė” and folk ensemble “Goštauta”. Traditional costumers of the team of “Nemunas” are made by the designer of traditional costume Gertrūda Kliučinskienė. Members of “Goštauta” ensemble made their costumes individually, depending on the ethnographic region of their origin. Virtual exhibition displays the digital copies of the photographs capturing the moments of KTU art societies during concerts, events and trips. (photographs by R. Misiukonis, J. Klėmanas and R. Žaltauskas).

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