Almost every collection of the Museum of Literature and Music (MLM) – of which there are approximately 3,600 in total – also contains audio or video material. Currently, these amount to nearly 9,000 holdings. The majority of this collection consists of historical and contemporary shellac and vinyl records (which make up approximately half of the total), as well as reel-to-reel audiotapes, audiocassettes, videotapes, CDs and DVDs.
The audiovisual material spans the whole period from the earliest recordings on shellac records in Latvia (which could be played on gramophones) up to the present day (such as interactive multimedia disc by Imants Ziedonis). The collection of sound recordings also includes voice recordings of well-known people who have worked in culture (such as the memoirs of Aspazija recorded in 1937, opera arias sung by Ādolfs Kaktiņš in the 1930s, and conversations with Eduards Smiļģis from the 1960s on the subject of theatre, recorded on reel-to-reel audio tapes), countless recordings of museum events, and musical records by Latvian and foreign authors, covering a wide variety of musical genres and recorded on different mediums.
The collection of video recordings includes portraits of people working in the field of culture, and stage plays, as well as events organised by the museum captured on video and DVD. A separate section of the collection is dedicated to material related to the cultural history of Latvians in exile. This collection was compiled by Margarita and Ēriks Biezaitis in Australia over a period of 35 years. This collection includes records, and audio and video tapes of more than 500 authors of Latvian music. After the restoration of the Republic of Latvia, the audio-visual collection was supplemented with unique material related to Latvian diaspora writers and poets (such as Anšlavs Eglītis’s videotapes). The museum is also proud to have a rare collection of 226 sound recordings, made using a type of technology popular in the early 20th century: perforated paper rolls that could be played back on player-pianos (mechanical pianos). The MLM’s audio-video collection is not only carefully stored and continuously added to but also digitised, making it more accessible to modern users. By using the museum’s resources, it is possible to professionally digitise nearly all existing audio-video formats.
Curator of the collection of audio/video material