The collection of negatives holds more than 53,000 units, covering all branches of the museum’s collections – literature, theatre, cinema, music, and art history – as well as being connected to all other collections. The collection includes portraits of well-known people working in the field of culture; historical events, photographs of domestic life and different locations; and photographs from play productions, concerts and events; as well as mementoes. The images are fixed on glass plates, black-and-white films and colour films, as well as on slides.
The collection includes the works of well-known photosalons and photographers from the late 19th century up to the present day, including Kārlis Hēbenspergers, Leonhards Viržikovskis, Emanuels Egerts, Mārtiņš Lapiņš, Jānis Rieksts, Vilis Rīdzenieks (KLIO), Aleksandrs Hļebnovs, Jānis Ozols, Voldemārs Avotiņš, Jānis Lerhs, Gunārs Janaitis and Leons Balodis, among others.
Vilis Rīdzenieks photographed many well-known people working in the field of culture of his time, as well as historical events, including the return of Rainis and Aspazija to Latvia in 1920. Photographer Jānis Ozols captured the life of the opera and ballet theatre between 1945 and 1960; this collection includes 1,199 units with 27,362 photo stills and negatives on glass plates – scenes from opera and ballet productions of that time, as well as portraits of actors, stage designers, composers and conductors.
Despite the reorganisation of the Museum of Literature, Theatre and Music in 2009, the collections of the Association of Memorial Museums and the Eduards Smiļģis Theatre Museum of the Latvian Academy of Culture continue to be held in the MLM’s collection. The Eduards Smiļģis Theatre Museum of the Latvian Academy of Culture has contributed photograph negatives of different theatre productions, including photographs taken by photographer Jānis Lerhs of plays held at the Dailes Theatre between 1947 and 1961.
The museum’s photographer Gunārs Krauze has photographed many events in his time, including the Grand Music Award of 2003 at the Latvian National Opera. The collection of negatives also includes cultural history material connected to Latvians in exile. The slide collection related to Vilma Goldmane is a significant addition to the museum’s collection, including photographs of artwork by Latvian artists who live abroad. The collection related to her amounts to more than 2,500 holdings. The collection of Latvian music related to the Biezaitises includes slides of song festivals that took place in exile, as well as photographs of many other events.
Curator of the collection of negatives and motion pictures