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.