The main exhibition venue of the National Museum of Lithuania focuses on the history of Lithuania from the formation of the state to the 20th century and Lithuanian ethnic culture. In the first hall, the visitors can get acquainted with the history of the Vilnius Museum of Antiquities, whose museological tradition is continued by the National Museum of Lithuania.
Authentic exhibits from the Museum of Antiquities and showcases dating to that period, combined with the stylistics of contemporary museum arrangement, recall the ambience of the old museum. The exhibition of the history of early Lithuania in the second hall reflects the turbulent time of the flourishing and fall of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the formation of the state in the 13th century to its decline in 1795, and the social development of the Lithuanian state in this period. Historical events from the period of early Lithuania ruled by the Gediminids to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth are presented through authentic exhibits, arranged under separate headings linked by inner logic. The exhibition titled “Lithuania under Tsarist Rule” presents the nineteenth-century history of Lithuania – a history of an occupied country and an oppressed nation.
However, it was also the period of resistance and liberation struggle, and the period of the building and modernization of the nation, which ended in the proclamation of the independent state of Lithuania on 16 February 1918. Other halls contain exhibits related to Lithuanian ethnic culture – traditional culture of Lithuanian peasants, folk art and cross crafting from the 18th to the first half of the 20th century. In the exhibition, room interiors of a residential house of Lithuanian peasants from the 18th – late 19th century are reconstructed.