Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture

  • BALZEKAS MUSEUM OF LITHUANIAN CULTURE

  • 6500 S. PULASKI ROAD
    CHICAGO, IL 60629
  • TEL.: 773.582.6500
  • FAX:773.582.5133
  • info@balzekasmuseum.org
  • Open 10 AM - 4 PM Daily
  • Closed Christmas, Easter &
    New Year's Day
  • Directions

Another Great Year at the Balzekas Museum!

Dear Friends,

2016 has been another great year for the Balzekas Museum and a very important milestone, the Museum's 50th Anniversary. In 2016, and for the past 50 years, we could not have achieved all that we do without your continued support. The widely acclaimed "No Home To Go To" the Baltic Displaced Persons exhibition tour visited the Lithuanian Museum and Archives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; the United Nations in New York; the Science, Business, and Industry Library of the New York Public Library where it is currently on view through the end of 2016. Concurrently, the permanent leg of the exhibition is on view at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture here in Chicago.

With the assistance of the Lithuanian Consulate in NYC and our own Consul General here in Chicago, The Hon. Marijus Gudynas, the Museum board of directors, staff, and I had the distinct honor to meet with Her Excellency Dalia Grybauskaitė, and to present her with the Balzekas Museum 2016 Award of Excellency for her her courageous leadership and dedication to a secure, democratic, and sovereign Lithuania. The President was in New York to attend the United Nations general assembly on refugees. The Lithuania's Consul General in New York, The Hon. and his staff, kindly allowed us to display some of the "No Home To Go To" exhibition banners for President Grybauskaite to view. Exhibition curator Irena Brokas Chamber gave the President a guided tour of this exhibition material.

Our staff continues to work diligently on the various programs and events that help advance our mission of preserving and celebrating Lithuanian culture and the achievements of the Lithuanian nation and people. We are also compiling a very special book that will highlight 50 treasures from the Museum with the intention of showcasing our extensive collections as well as highlighting our 50-year role as a cultural institution in the United States and vis-a-vis Lithuania. Watch for more news about this publication here on the Museum's website and in upcoming Museum Review issues.

Help us make 2017 an even more successful year. If you are not already a member, considering joining the Museum family. If you would like to contribute to a specific project, program, or collection, we are able to tailor unique naming opportunities to your specific area of interest. Chicago area residents are very welcome to join our active volunteer core. However, if you live farther away, but could dedicate some time writing for our website, the Museum Review, or publications, translating from English to Lithuanian or vice versa, we would warmly welcome your assistance. Please contact us to discuss such possibilities.


Growing for the future

The Balzekas Museum's balzekasmuseum.org website launched in 2008. Developing a virtual presence was another exciting phase of growth for the Museum. We have been thrilled to continue our mission on the world wide web. Each day we are visited by people interested not only in the Museum, but in learning about Lithuania, its rich culture and language, and the contributions and activities of Lithuanians and Lithuanian communities around the world. In honor of our 50th year, we are developing a new and updated responsive website that will allow us to further showcase the Museum's collections and activities. We are starting with a new home page, and will update successive pages, as they become available. Come back and visit us again for further updates.

Last year, to complement and supplement the "No Home To Go To" exhibition, we launched a permanent website, displacedpersons.org. Designed and developed by our Board Member Sigita Balzekas, it features highlights of the DP exhibition and is intended to continue to collect the oral and written histories of displaced persons from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Our goal is to create such websites for all of our exhibitions. This is an exciting prospect, one which will further help us fulfill our important educational mission. We look forward to sharing the Museum's extensive collection of cultural artifacts, fine and folk art, maps, textiles, archival materials, armor, numismatics, philately, and numerous publications with those who may not have the opportunity to visit us in person. However, if you find yourselves in Chicago, we warmly welcome you to come in and say "Labas" and to spend some time at the Museum.

Reaching out, through on-line education and programs

Our goals are ambitious. Apart from a basic tour of our departments and regular updates on our programs, we would like to put more of our collection on line to make it accessible for anyone researching Lithuanian topics. Developing more educational outreach materials to deliver materials to teachers and students is another priority. The ability to embed audio and video clips in the web site is also very exciting, as the Museum has collected music, films and footage of many programs and events over the years. On-line interactive children's pages are another must to bring to life the museum's collections and programs for our younger visitors.  A virtual Gift Shop is also being developed to make it easier to purchase amber, books, and other popular Lithuanian items on line. As we continue to grow this site, we turn again to you, our visitors, to let us know what improvements or additions you would like to see here. 

Volunteers, members always welcome!

Any organization is only as great as the individuals who give it their ideas, time and energy. Over the years, the Balzekas Museum has been blessed with many talented volunteers, members and supporters who have helped grow the Museum into what it is today. If you live in the Chicago area and would like to volunteer your time at the Museum, please contact us and let us know. Wherever you are, we hope that you will consider becoming a member today.

Please visit us again soon.

Iki pasimatymo!
Until we see you next time
 
 
 

Stanley Balzekas Jr.

President

 

Highlights from the Opening of the Lithuania-Culture and History Exhibition on Vimeo including an interview with Balzekas Museum President Stanley Balzekas, Jr.

The traveling exhibition “Lithuania: Culture and History” visited the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in December, 2009. The exhibition provides a vivid account of the most important events in the history and culture of this country. Having already been shown in Finland, Estonia, the United Kingdom, Brussels, and Paris, and the Czech Republic, this exhibition presents the most important periods in Lithuanian history: the old Lithuanian state (11th – 18th c.), the tsarist Russian occupation (19th c.), the independent Lithuanian Republic (1918–1940), fifty years of occupation (1940–1990), and the restoration of independent Lithuania (since 1990). The exhibition includes images of Lithuania, architectural masterpieces, portraits of important personalities, events, all of which convey Lithuania’s history and culture. The culmination of yearlong international festivities and events commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the first mention of Lithuania's name, this exhibition provides an overview of the historical events and figures that were instrumental to the evolution of the country.

The exhibition is based on the concept of the art historian Dr. Irena Vaišvilaitė. The authors of the exhibition are Romualdas Budrys, Dr. Vydas Dolinskas, and Mindaugas Šapoka. It was a joint project of the Lithuanian Art Museum and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania. The iconography, images, and artefacts have been put together from many Lithuanian and international collections.

The exhibition closed on December 19, 2009


The Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

This project is partially supported by Grants from the Illinois Arts Council, City Arts Program 3 City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the ECPC.

The Star of Lithuania's Millenium

Stanley Balzekas and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas

On March 9, 2009, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, Vygaudas Ušackas conferred "The Star of Lithuania's Millenium" on Stanley Balzekas, Jr., who accepted the honor on behalf of the Balzekas Museum. "I am proud to share this award with the members and volunteers who have made the Museum what it is today," Balzekas stated.

The Lithuanian daily "Draugas" also received the commendation from the Lithuania's Foreign Ministry.

The Foreign Minister, who served as the Ambassador to the United States and Canada, is a long-time friend of the Museum and the recipient of the Balzekas Museum Award of Excellence in 2004.

"The Millenium Odyssey"

Stanley Balzekas greets the Captain of the "Ambersail" crew

Stanley Balzekas, Jr., the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania in Palm Beach, greeted the yacht and crew of "Ambersail" as it arrived in Miami on its commemorative voyage around the world in celebra-tion of the millenium of Lithuania's name. According to the offical web site,"The President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus has entrusted the men of “The Millennium Odyssey” with his flag, to carry it around the globe. The captains were also presented with 24 messages from the President of Lithuania, addressed to each of the Lithuanian commu-nities along the route, encouraging the recipients to take pride in Lithuania and to celebrate her anniversary on the 6th of July next year." Read more about the Odyssey on the Official Web Site >>

Stanley Balzekas, Jr.

Stanley Balzekas Jr. with a suit of armor
Stanley Balzekas Jr. poses next to a suit of armor in the "Lithuania Through the Ages" exhibit at the Balzekas Museum.


Biography

President
  • Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Lithuania in Palm Beach, Florida
  • Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture
  • Balzekas Motor Sales, Inc.
  • Ethnic Cultural Preservation Council
Chairman/Director
  • Chicago Sister Cities International Committee
  • Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art
  • Lithuanian-American Council (Vice Chairman)
  • Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce of America
Member
  • Chicago Literary Club
  • American Legion
  • City of Chicago Public Art Program (Panel Member)
  • City of Chicago Public Art Program, Midway Airport (Advisory)
  • Executive Club of Chicago Eastern Europe International Trade Commission
  • American Association of Museums
  • Honorary Member of the Lithuanian Royal Union of Nobility
Awards
  • Bronze Star, U.S. Army World War II ETO
  • National American Veterans Press Association, 1983-84
  • DePaul Univesity Distinguished Alumni Award for 1991
  • Balzekas Museum Award of Excellence, 1991
  • Captive Nations Eisenhower Proclamation Medal
  • Good Scout Award, Iroquois District, BSA
  • DAR Medal (Daughters of the American Revolution)
  • Wigilia Medal (Polish Genealogical Society of America)
  • 3rd Degree Order, Grand Duke Gediminas (presented by H.E. Algirdas Brazauskas, President of Lithuania)
  • Medal of Žygimantas Augustas, City of Vilnius, 2001
  • The Star of Lithuania's Millenium, 2009, presented by H.E. Vygaudas Ušackas, Lithuanian Foreign Minister and former Ambassador to the U.S. and Mexico, 2001 - 2006.
  • The Order for Merits to Lithuania, Grand Cross, conferred by Her Excellency Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, and presented on her behalf by H.E. Rolandas Kriščiūnas, Lithuanian Ambassador to the U.S. and Mexico and Marijus Gudynas, the Lithuanian Consul General in Chicago at the Balzekas Museum's 50th Anniversary Award Gala on October 29, 2016.

And honors and awards conferred by:

  • American Jewish Committee
  • American Pluralism
  • Illinois Department of Human Rights
  • Illinois Bicentennial Commission
  • Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission