The Valdas Adamkus Presidential Library-Museum follows an example first set in the United States. There the legacy of former presidents is preserved and kept alive in presidential libraries readily accessible to scholars, students, and the general public.
Precisely because of who Valdas Adamkus is and what he represents, this practice can and should be brought to Lithuania as well—for at least two reasons. One is that this Kaunas-born man who ably served the United States before returning to his homeland to run for, and be elected twice to, its highest office symbolizes the ties that for more than a century have bound Lithuania and the United States closely together. The other is that he is also the personality through whose life and activities the story of modern Lithuania—from its prewar independence through its periods of foreign occupation to the regaining of freedom and its assurance through membership in NATO and the European Union—can be excitingly and authentically retold.
It is a historically rich story involving many people from many decades and virtually all continents—with Valdas Adamkus as its central but by no means sole figure. That‘s part of the idea behind this Presidential Library-Museum: to create a stimulating environment, filled with pictures and texts, in which as many people as possible can vividly relive the recent history of the Lithuanian nation as it first lost, then fought for, and finally regained and secured its independence through its own efforts as well as with major help from its diaspora and many friends abroad.
But the Library-Museum is not only for dramatically reliving that history, but also for critically discussing, and learning from, it. That‘s the other reason why the Valdas Adamkus Library-Museum is such a must-have. As its three founders—Vytautas Magnus University, the City of Kaunas Municipality, and President Valdas Adamkus himself—fully realize, a country dies when it neglects its history. But it lives on, and flourishes, when its young people study its heritage; become aware not only of its great deeds and achievements but also of its mistakes and malfeasances; and motivated by this double awareness move on to fashion a better, more prosperous and equitable future without betraying the values that underlie its historical accomplishments.
It is in the hope of becoming such a venue of reliving, learning, and creating that the Valdas Adamkus Library-Museum has been initiated. Its founders call it a place of active history, a forward-looking site of remembrance on which an even more flourishing future Lithuania can be imaginatively built.
The documents and pictures that will be part of this Presidential Library-Museum have just begun to be assembled. This includes some of the material items (letters, papers, books) of Valdas Adamkus‘s historical legacy. The project is just in its starting stages, with the most urgent present need being a renovation of the historical building at Daukanto g. 25 so that the holdings of the Library-Museum and its Achives can be safely housed there.
When the job is finished, the building will have:
1. a Library and Archives containing collections of books and papers owned by, written by, or related to the person, activities, or interests of President Adamkus and/or his associates.
2. a Gallery for a permanent exhibition of works of art acquired by President Adamkus throught his lifetime, and for occasional exhibitions of other works of art related to themes of Lithuanian and diaspora history.
3. Rooms recreating President Adamkus‘s office and depicting episodes of his working life in politics, civic and community affairs, culture, and sports, with personal memorabilia, office equipment, and furniture used by Alma and Valdas Adamkus.
4. Spaces for lectures; conferences; and cinema, audio, and video presentations of historical, political, and cultural issues relevant to President Adamkus‘s and his predecesors‘ times and work.
5. Spaces for students (at all levels) to work at terminals in studying and extending the legacy embodied in this Presidential Library-Museum.
To turn this project into reality, we, the founders of the Valdas Adamkus Library-Museum, are asking for your help. It is the wish of President Adamkus that only private funds be used to support this institution. Thus we appeal to you to send a donation in any amount you can to the following account:
President Valdas Adamkus Library-Museum
S. Daukanto g. 25, Kaunas, Lithuania
Bank: AB SEB Bankas
LT65 7044 0600 0769 1028 (LTL)
BIC: CBVIL T2X
Tel: +370 687 72805
Arūnas Antanaitis, Director,