The Rundāle Palace Museum organizes exhibitions on various themes related to the history of the palace, the Dukes of Courland (the Biron dynasty), Latvian art from early periods, decorative art and garden art as well as themes related to the history of civilization such as different aspects of daily life and festivities.
To celebrate the 285th anniversary of the laying of the palace’s foundation stone on 24 May 2021, the Rundāle Palace Museum has prepared an exhibition ‘The Princess of Courland travels. Fanny Biron’s watercolours and drawings’, which presents the work of Fanny Biron (1815–1888) – the great granddaughter of the commissioner of the palace’s construction Duke Ernst Johann of Courland.
The exhibition has been arranged as a 19th century salon displaying Fanny Biron’s watercolours and drawings and furnished with period furniture and interior items from the collection of the Rundāle Palace Museum. It is complemented by her sketchbooks from the collection of Prince Ernst Johann Biron of Courland, as well as copies of Fanny Biron’s portraits, travel passports and other documents from the German museums and archives.
Exhibition is open until 30 April 2022.
In the Duchess’ apartments are four thematic exhibitions arranged:
18th Century Fashion,
The von Behr Family in Courland,
18th Century Portraits of Courlanders,
Duchess Dorothea of Courland and the Family of Counts Medem.
The room (106) located right next to the Duchess’ Bedroom displays ladies’ clothing, fabrics and lace of the 18th century. Here one can see items that were used in beauty care and everyday life – perfume bottles, necessaires (a case for holding small items such as scissors, tweezers, knives and needles), snuff boxes as well as boxes for make-up.
One of the rooms (107) is dedicated to the von Behr family, a family of landlords who played an important role in the history of Courland. Twenty-two portraits from the heritage of Ulrich von Behr, mostly from Pope Manor, show different members of the family.
The next room (110) is devoted to the society of the 18th century Courland. It exhibits portraits of courtiers, state officials and professors of Academia Petrina in Jelgava. Here one can see the Duke’s family friends and opponents.
The adjacent room (111) is devoted to Duchess Dorothea of Courland and her relatives – the von Medem family. It displays a variety of items donated by Count Théodor de Medem (France). Particularly valuable among these items are the portraits of the Duchess’ brother Count Jeannot Medem and her half-sister Elisa von der Recke, as well as Duchess Dorothea’s cosmetic set produced by the Berlin KPM factory around 1787.
The exhibitions in first floor and the basement of the palace:
The History of Rundāle Palace Construction,
Stone Carvings and Ironwork in Latvia.
The exhibition in the basement of the western wing provides information on the palace history. It comprises archaeological finds, archive documents and old photographs.
The exhibition in the central part of the basement displays part of the Museum’s collection of items related to burials. The exhibition features sarcophagi and decorative coffin plaques from different churches and also from the Great Cemetery in Riga.
The exhibition in the central part of the basement features tombstones and sculptures as well as facade stone carvings and ironwork from manor houses in Latvia.
There are exhibitions in the ground-floor halls of the palace devoted to historic gardens.
Next to the old kitchen is located the exhibition The Green Glass. Four vitrines display a collection of green glass household objects donated to the Museum by Karin von Borbély (Germany).