Latvian Folk Art Museum

In 1964, the Chicago Latvian Association and the Latvian Artisans’ Association (Daiļamatnieku savienība) in the United States established a Latvian folk art collection in the Latvian community center. Jeweler Osvalds Grīns along with his daughter Astra Reveliņš visited various Latvian communities seeking out pieces to display in the museum. To ensure the successful continuation of this work, the Latvian Folk Art Museum was founded as a separate non-profit organization in 1978. A space was renovated in the community center to house the Museum’s displays. Currently, there are more than 300 items exhibited in the Museum, including folk costumes, ceramics, jewelry, weavings, mittens, and woodworking pieces.

Many prominent Chicago Latvians have served on the museum’s board. The most active of these was Pēteris Rieksts, long-time board chairman and woodworker whose creations are displayed in the museum. Several years ago, the Latvian Folk Art Museum joined the Chicago Cultural Alliance, an umbrella organization for ethnic museums and cultural centers in Chicago. Through this organization, Museum volunteers share their experience with other ethnic museum staff and help popularize Latvian folk art among non-Latvians in Chicago.