Saturday, 25 May 2013

Latvian Museum

We chose to visit the Latvian Museum for no other reason but to fill in some time. We were greeted by some very nice people who asked if we needed our tour in Latvian or English. The museum is set up in a lovely old cottage in Wayville with three rooms of costumes, crafts and the history of the Latvian immigrants in SA. The costumes were delicately embellished with beads and exquisite stitchery in many styles, there were also shoes and jewellery and an impressive collection of amber.
Each region in Latvia had their own style of clothing/costume. The clothing was not behind glass so we were able to inspect the delicate work at close quarters and also take photographs. There were also reminders of their hurried departure from Europe and the attempts of the Australian Government to integrate them by teaching them to speak English. In the early days the Latvian people were targeted for migration often due to the fact that they looked similar to the Australian people (White Australia Policy).
I have a vested interest in Latvia, my great grand uncle ran his shipping business from Libau and Riga, he married a Latvian lady and had two children there. I have been researching his interesting life whist in Latvia, so it was nice to see what the people would have looked like in their dress style and also the home decorations that might have been in his house. We did not have time to visit the Latvian church which is opposite but this is another place to visit at a later date.

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