The role of museums of contemporary art in the re-telling of historical accounts in Lithuania and Latvia

Museums of History and Art provide accounts of the past and the transition of nations into their current situation. They follow a certain line of interpretation of past events which reflect the dominant belief system in a nation. These narratives told in this process leave room for interpretation. Which particular string of the available narratives is followed while neglecting the others, and is influenced by the current self-understanding of a nation and its political considerations. Latvia and Lithuania, two Baltic Nations, were planning to set up museums of contemporary art in 2009 and in 2011, respectively. Due to the financial crisis at this time, however, both projects have been put on hold. Based on interviews with key personnel and experts, the paper shows how the museums in both countries interpret their Soviet past and align it with the new European master narratives.