The Rundāle Palace Museum has undertaken the task of bringing the palace complex back to its former glory. This task includes the restoration of buildings and rooms as well as their interior decorations and furnishings.
A great deal of effort is being directed toward renovating the Baroque garden, forest park, roads and footpaths.
The palace complex consists of 16 buildings, the total area of which is 14249,2 m2. The entire territory covers 72 ha, including the French formal garden (10 ha) and forest park (32 ha).
The restoration work in the palace complex began in 1972 when the Rundāle Palace Museum was established. Until 1992 the restoration was financed by the Ministry of Culture and the work was carried out by the Scientific Restoration Administration. Initially, the ceiling paintings and stucco decorations were mainly restored by experts from Leningrad (St. Petersburg).
Since 1992 the restoration work has slowed down as it is mainly supported by private donations. The patronage programme “The Completion of the Restoration of Rundāle Palace 2010 – 2014”, introduced by the Teterev family, will enable the Museum’s staff to finish the interiors of the Palace. The second study of the Duke will be opened to the public in 2013, while his library will be completed in 2014. The restoration of these rooms is carried out by SIA “Rokajs”. One of the rooms still under restoration is also the Grand Gallery. This year (2011) the restoration of its ceiling and wall paintings is supported by SIA “Skonto būve”. The work is done in cooperation with students of the Art Academy of Latvia.
One of the most urgent tasks of the Museum is to replace the roof of the building. The present tin roof dates back to the 1970s, and it has deteriorated so badly that it can cause damage to the interior stucco decorations and ceiling paintings. Some wet spot have already occurred on the ceilings.
The Museum will also continue the work in the western wing of the Palace where the European Decorative Art Exhibition will be arranged. It will occupy fourteen rooms, part of which will be available in 2012.
The restoration of the interior decorations is only one stage of the entire restoration process. In order to furnish the interiors, the Museum’s experts also need to restore artworks. There are six workshops in the Museum focused on the restoration of paintings, furniture, textiles, metal, polychrome wood as well as glass and porcelain.
As the Palace is nearly completed, in the future the Museum will concentrate its efforts on restoration of auxiliary buildings. It is also planned to reconstruct greenhouses which used to be at the north-side clay wall.
A large amount of work has to be done in the Baroque garden as it is still missing a labyrinth, several pergolas, pavilions, trellises and other architectural constructions.
It is also planned to create historic orchards, therefore the present three orchards will be replanted. The choice of fruit trees will be based upon the information provided by old documents.
The renovation of the forest park requires approximately LVL 800,000 as it is necessary to replace 30% of the dead trees. It is also important to construct a melioration system, build roads in the alleys and a belvedere as well as to create strolling bosquets and a tent camping area.
In order to improve the surrounding territory, the Museum will construct an additional parking lot, plant hedges, landscape an island and build a boat dock. It is also necessary to start a tree nursery and build greenhouses as it will speed up the renovation of the park.