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Tadas Ivanauskas Zoological Museum marks 90th anniversary


On 15 July, Kaunas Tadas Ivanauskas Zoological Museum marked its 90th anniversary. It is the only such a museum in the Baltic states. It has a valuable and unique collection of Lithuanian and global fauna, which is composed of over 200,000 exhibits. For example, there are more than 130,000 insects, which belong to over 14,000 species, in the storage facilities and exposition of the Invertebrates Division alone. Other divisions, such as Fish, Amphibia and Reptiles, Birds and Mammals divisions, have rich collections as well. Over the nine decades, the museum has organised a team of experienced and skilled ornithologists, ichthyologists and other natural science specialists who like their job.

In addition to scientific activities, one of the museum’s main activities is to acquaint the public with the valuable fauna exhibited here and the world of living creatures surrounding man. Located at the heart of Kaunas, in Laisvės Avenue, Tadas Ivanauskas Zoological Museum is always full of visitors. An interesting, informative, attractive and spacious exhibition, which occupies an area of 2,500 square metres, attracts people of different age and education. The museum is visited by over 40,000 people per year.

The Mammals Division exposition is very popular among visitors. It includes a giraffe, the tallest museum exhibit, and a white rhinoceros, the heaviest exhibit, which weighed some 2.5 tons when it was alive. The majority of exhibited stuffed animals have been made by specialists of the museum’s taxidermy laboratory.
The first exhibits that laid the foundations for the whole collection were stuffed birds made by Leonardas Ivanauskas, the father of Prof. Tadas Ivanauskas, in 1859, which have been brought from his Lebiodka manor house. They are still exhibited at the museum. The entire history of the museum is closely related to Tadas Ivanauskas, one of the most prominent naturalists of the country. As a schoolboy, he started preparing animals, collecting insects and molluscs. He constantly augmented his collection while studying in Sorbonne, working in St. Petersburg and during expeditions.

The Nature Research Station, later renamed the Zoological Museum, was established in Lithuania at Tadas Ivanauskas’ initiative on 15 July 1919. It was engaged in fauna studies, collection and systematisation of the country’s fauna as well as in the making of stuffed animals. The museum was moved to the current premises in 1948 and was named after its founder, Tadas Ivanauskas, in 1970.

Braches of Tadas Ivanauskas Zoological Museum are widely known as well. They include Ventės Ragas Ornithological Station, which rings up to 100,000 birds per year, Juodkrantė Environmental Research Laboratory, and Žuvintas and Čepkeliai Reserve Museums.

Public Information Division, tel. 266 3660

14 July 2009

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas