Permanent expositions and exhibitions



Living near the picturesque Daugava valley, in the native „Jaunkausini” house built by Valentina`s Zeile father, sculptress from childhood felt in love with art. And this all thanks to her father Antonijs Zeile, who leisure moments dealt with woodcarving. Native side nature also has inspired the sculptress. From meadows and lush verdure of rye fields, Valentina took over the richness of colours, from Latgale loamy land – tenacity and perseverance. It all reflects in pastels depicting native home, parents Antonijs and Anele Zeile and beloved banks of the Daugava river. Valentina life and creative work, like charming meanders of Daugava river valley, thrown two circles, the first of which was rooted and gained strength in Latgale, Naujene, but ended in Riga. In turn, the second enticed sculptress to her dreamland –  France, Paris, where she has been living for over 30 years.

In the exhibition are viewable works of art in bronze, in which especially brightly expressed talent facets of the sculptress Valentina Zeile. Most of the exhibits consist of the medals and plaquettes because sculptress is considered as the leading medal artist in the former Soviet Union. In the 4 showcases, visitors can see the medal series, which are devoted to the family, relatives, doctors, teachers, poets and prominent public figures. The travel impressions reflected in the medal cycles dedicated to the Czech Republic, France and Asia.  Attract the attention the number of the artist’s self-portraits.

The travel impressions of Africa is reflected in the sculpture cycle dedicated to this country. 4 works of art of the cycle are viewable in the exhibition: „The strength of generations”, „The rhythms of Gambia”, „The joy of living” and „Sculptor Paul Ai from Togo”. Also, the breeze of France is felt in the exhibition. The sculpture “The man and a horse” is a tribute to Bartabas [born Clément Marty] – Zingaro horse theatre founder in Paris suburb at Aubervilliers. While  the sculpture “Skater” gained prominence not only in Latvian – one copy of the work of art  is located in the gallery in Athens [Greece]



Once Valentina Zeile gave the promise: wherever she would not live, she will always come back to her hometown with her works of art. The promise fulfilled in public collection store – room „Workshop of Valentina Zeile” where can be viewed and stored unexposed part of Valentina Zeile collection. The collection consists of more than 6200 items, which are mainly created before sculptress departure to Paris [1956-1982]. Workshop of Valentina Zeile designed as a public collection store – room that reflects the artist’s creative life in Vecdaugava [Riga, Latvia].

Remembering this period of life the sculptress in her book „Valentina” wrote: „In Vecdaugava house, built by my daddy, I spent long, happy and corny years of my life. My best works of art created there. I was happy there, I felt like a queen in her palace. I organized parties and carnivals, my friends, artists, actors, scientists came to me. Actors posed for me: neighbour Karlis Sebris, funny Rudolfs Plepis and very serious Juris Strenga, who posed, without missing book out of his hands. Even today in the ears sound silvery voice of the Riga Russian Drama Theatre excellent actor Mikhail Hiznakov, – until the morning light he used to recite texts from that time performances – “Man of La Mancha” and “Conversations with Socrates.” Unforgettable moments left in memory also with other theatre stars, creating their portraits – always cozy tea drinking with the scene queen Elsa Radzina … ”

In 2016 Naujene Local History museum collection was supplemented with painter Gertrude Zeile donation – objects owned by Zeile family: mother Anele Zeile handicrafts [doily, gloves] and objects manufactured by father Antonijs Zeile and used in everyday life [table, baskets, plane, hammer, wooden bowl, and washing board with the dolly]. Each object, as a witness of those times, shows opportunities and lifestyle, providing a brief look in “Jaunkaushini” house everyday life. In exhibition also represented crosses and crucifixes made by Antonijs Zeile for St. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Juzefova church.

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The exhibition represents the protected area of unique Augšdaugava landscape territory and nature park „Daugavas Loki”.  Nature park was created to preserve the unique natural complexes, natural, cultural and historical values and little –  transformed landscapes of the ancient valley of the Daugava on the site of Naujene to Kraslava. The bends of the ancient valley of the Daugava are considered to be the oldest geological formations in Latvia. The nature park as part of Augsdaugava protected landscapes area was recognized as the NATURA 2000 territory in 2004, but in 2011 this park was included in the Latvian National UNESCO World Heritage List. The River Daugava is a structural axis for the nature park, forming picturesque bends. There are picturesque landscapes from the banks of the river. Since ancient times the River Daugava was the main element of the development of this area – water trade route. Castles and villages were built on the banks of the river. An ancient but eternally young Daugava with its apparent calm watercourse had been conducting a titanic effort, for thousands of years creating a unique valley that produces an unforgettable impression on each traveller. Visitors can use various multimedia solutions for more information such as floor interactive projection with sound shower to listen to sounds of nature, as well as Led display for more information about Daugavpils hydropower station history or holocube.

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Daugavpils region cultural environment, determined by the historical process, has formed ethnically diverse and one of the largest minorities are Poles. The Poles settled in Latvia after the collapse of Livonia in 1562, when Latgale was included in the Polish – Lithuanian state. As a part of Polish – Lithuanian state, Latgale strengthened Catholicism, but Polish manors became the cultural centres.

The insight of Polish manor houses in Daugavpils region can be represented by Juzefova [Polish:Jozefow] manor plans. Juzefova manor started to develop in the 17th century. In 1900 – 1901 Polish landlord Bogdan Shahno built a new manor house in the neoclassical style by Baltic German architect Wilhelm Neumann [German: Johann Wilhelm Carl Neumann] project. During World War II in 1942 Juzefova manor house was burned down.

The exhibition consists of household items that characterize the Polish culture, fashion and traditions in the second half of 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Furniture, Kuznetsov Porcelain Factory dishes and fine embroidery, compositionally reflect the living room interior of the first half of the 20th century. The main part of the exhibits consists of Naujene children`s home donated collection, as well as Daugavpils region inhabitants donations. Juzefova manor everyday life story is recorded from Anna Ratkevicha memories – the nanny of landlord daughter Maria. In the exhibition represented the authentic nanny`s dress with Richelieu embroidery preserved until nowadays.



[the end of the 19th century – the first half of the 20th century]

Peasant houses in Latgale were built from pine or fir logs. The buildings consisted of 10-12 log wreaths, among which led dried moss. Sawn plank floors in houses up to the 19th century was an unusual phenomenon typical only for some wealthy peasant farmsteads. For heat preservation in the house above the ceiling put the layer of clay, dry leaves or flax.

The exposition consists of household objects and tools that characterize Latgale wealthy farmer’s home interior, lifestyle, traditions and culture in Naujene parish at the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.


Exhibits represent utensil and tools used in the process of preparing meal and drinks as well as reflect the hostesses working and living conditions in the Southern Latgale at the end of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century.

Meals at the farmstead depended on seasons and the church calendar, which limited meat and dairy food consumption. Grain and flour dishes were very popular in Latgale. Hostess had a little choice in food serving and was able to save only from what was grown, collected or stored in the farmstead. For product [flour, groats, peas] storage, transfer, and in some places as units of measurement in domesticity, where used a variety of shapes and sizes of wooden bowls or containers. Was founded arcuated bark, especially birch bark and wood strips utensil, turned bowls, as well as wicker utensil. In the Southern Latgale was widespread straw utensil in combination with wicker.  Various utensil wasn`t only made of wood but also of clay. Pots for milk and mugs for beer, cream, mushroom and honeypots, large family bowls from which ate the whole family – the most widespread pottery in the Southern Latgale.

An indispensable part of the everyday meal was the bread, which each hostess was able to bake. Bread baked from rye and barley [later wheat]. Dough prepared in the special wooden bowl made of linden wood. The dough fermented in the warm place in the bowl covered with a cloth. Then the dough several times kneaded and hostess prepared the bread bribes. Hot oven wiped out from ashes and coals, and with a peel put in the oven bread on the maple leaves. Delicious, well – baked bread was a hostess pride and it was brought to the table for both everyday and holidays.

The beer was served at the celebrations or traditional festivities. Each host in Latgale has own beer brewing traditions. For beer preparing traditionally used meal milled malt. The milled malt was put into the wooden tub and poured with boiling water. Then, after swelling, the malt poured into the special wooden bowl with the hole at the bottom and filtered through the straw. The yeast was added to the liquid, and after 2- 3 days liquid poured into the beer barrels and placed in the cellar.

Traditional dairying in Latgale remained up to the 1930s. Dairy products were prepared at each farmstead, using traditions from previous generations. Cow milking and milk handling were women – hostess and her daughter’s occupation. Milking process set a woman’s daily working rhythm. For cow milking used a special wooden pail. Just milked milk cleansed by using wooden vessel – percolator. For preparing cream, milk was poured in a special clay pot with the hole at the bottom for skimmed milk dripping. Separators or centrifuges appeared in the 19th century at the manor houses, which made possible to process larger quantities of milk and control milk fat – cream separation process. From skimmed clubber prepared cottage cheese. Cheese for storage pressed in the bucket or cask and mixed with salted butter. For curd cheese were used different types of wooden cheese press, which consisted of two interconnected boards. Butter was made of cream. For butter preparing was used 2 types of churns: steep and prostrate churns with rotating wings, widespread at the  2nd half of 19th century. Butter was stored in the wooden buckets or divided into portions using a square template [butter pound] and later sold at the market.

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Slutišķi Old-believers’ farmstead is made of two expositions: „Old-believers’ dwelling house” and „Horse-powered traction tools in Daugavpils district”. The exposition buildings were renewed in 2015 within the project “Old-believers’ historical construction restoration and preservation of agricultural cultural and historical heritage in Slutišķi Village” supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

The exposition „Old-believers’ dwelling house” is located in a building that was built in the beginning of the 20th century, which preserves the traditional Old-believers’ house planning: entering the door, a visitor gets into narrow cold hallway. To the right from the hallway, the house’s residential part is located – it is a room, in which we see the “red” (God’s Holy Corner) corner and the “black” corner or women corner and the room’s part, which was used for sleeping. In the left part of the room, there is a brick stove – the so-called Russian stove.

On the left side of the cold hallways, there is a barn and a mill. In the barn or the “cold room”, there used to be a table covered with embroidered towels – rušņiki, on which there was a bread baked for the week; at the wall – a wardrobe and a bed. Currently, the “cold room” keeps a loom, which the old-believers used to use only in winter.

At the „cold end”, there was a flour-mill, where not only flour was milled with handmill, but products were kept there as well. The flour mill served as the storeroom – in winter, lard salted in tubs was kept here, in its turn, in summer, the tools (loom, carriage) not used in household at that moment were kept here.

The exposition „Horse-powered traction tools in Daugavpils district ” is arranged in the renovated household buildings – cattle shed and barn. Museum articles, mostly horse-powered traction tools, which refer to the 1st part of the 20th century and are used in Daugavpils County’s territory, which are connected with agriculture and farming, can be viewed in it.

At the turn of the 19th and the 20th century in Latgale, small households were dominating. Many farmers produced in their farms almost all products necessary for their family maintenance and made a considerable part of tools, including the simplest vehicles (sleighs, work carts – dray carts etc.). While the driving carts, droshky, sledges and other more complex vehicles and their parts (bent slides, wheels, wheel arcs etc.) were made by craftsmen.

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The photo story about the unique Zeile family.  2 talented artists – Valentine and Gertrude Zeile was brought up and educated in the ordinary peasant family. Exhibition visitors address photos of the beginning of the 20th century that show the two sisters father Anthonijs Zeile with his mother Magdalene Zeile at the native home at the “Mazie Lachi” in Izvalta. From other photos of the 1930s look at as Valentina’s and Gertrude`s mother Anele Kokina. In many pictures appears small Valentina with sister Gertrude, parents Antonijs and Anele Zeile in the native village in Vilushi. In rare scenes immortalized grandfather Adams Kokins and grandfather’s wife’s sister Victoria Surmacha.  Sculptress  Valentina Zeile called Victoria „my grandmother”  and devoted her one of the first work of arts with the same name “Grandmother”.




The thematic Valentina Zeile sculpture exhibition from museum collection store “THE CONVERSATION” displaying sculpture cycle “A TRIBUTE TO THE LIFE OF CHRIST”. The cycle consists of 8 sculpture dedicated to the religious theme. 6 of them are represented in the exhibition, but 2 works of art – „Adam” and „Ieva” are located in sculptress collection. The first sculpture of the cycle “The Message” was created as a thank to Our Lady for the opportunity to move to Paris and to all who so generously have been given to the sculptress, particularly for her ability to express themselves in art.

“Since 1971, when I the first time landed in Paris – a city whose symbol is the Cathedral of Our Lady – all subsequent ten painful nostalgia opulent years until I moved to France, I desperately praying Her:” Take me to your city!” And later, when it had happened, I wrote a letter of thanks to Our Lady and undertook to create her image – when I will be ready – and donate it to Paris.”/ Valentina Zeile /

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