The Lithuanian Institute of History is a state-funded research institution and the country’s main historical research centre, concentrating largely on the history of Lithuania and its historic neighbours.
- At the end of 2009 the Institute employed 115 full-time staff, of whom 74 held doctorates.
- The Institute has seven research departments, a library, manuscript room and apress. The manuscript room contains a collection of archaeological, ethnographic and historical material, from which it publishes original sources. The Library holds more than 154,000 volumes dating from the seventeenth century to the present day.
- The Lithuanian Institute of History is expanding the study of archaeology, ethnology (and social anthropology), heraldry, sigillography, numismatics, palaeography and genealogy.
The areas adopted for study by the Institute were confirmed by Lithuanian Republic Government Decree 1102, dated July 10 2002.
Basic research aims
- To trace the development of the Lithuanian nation and state up to the present day (using the techniques of history, auxiliary historical disciplines, archaeology and so forth). A twelve-volume history of Lithuania is to be published by 2011 to provide an historically consecutive and all-round account of the social, political and cultural development of the Lithuanian nation and state within its general European context from the first human settlement of what is now Lithuania until the present day.
- Lithuanian archaeology and pre-history: to reconstruct the material and spiritual culture of the people who lived on the territory of what is now Lithuania, and show how people adapted to changing conditions in the area during the Stone and Bronze Ages; to use the latest research from reconstructions and excavations and thereby carry out full interdisciplinary research (osteolgy, geology, dendrochronology, macro-botany and so forth) to form a model of social, economic and cultural development in pre-historic Lithuania.
- Ethnology: cultural, social and territorial identity: to analyse the dynamics of the various levels of cultural processes affecting those living in Lithuania in the Baltic and Central European context, taking account of social, economic, political, ideological, moral and applied aspects of the topic.
Aims in the area of applied research
- Research and publication of the Lithuanian Metrica and other historical sources pertaining to Lithuania: to bring the Lithuanian Metrica into wider scholarly use. The Metrica represent one of the largest, well-preserved collections of archival material relevant to the history of Lithuania and east-central Europe as a whole. The main priority at this stage is to publish material from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, which deals with the political history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, its treasury, finances, foreign policy, borders, justice and so on. Publication of and research into sources for the history of towns in Lithuania, which were governed by Magdeburg Law, will continue.
- The formation, development and significance of Lithuanian towns: research is being carried out into urban buildings and infrastructure.
The Institute is implementing 14 state-funded research programmes.
Working for Lithuanian Needs
The Institute researches and publishes solid groups of historical resources: the Lithuanian Metrica, Lietuvos miestų istorijos šaltiniai [Sources for the History of Lithuanian Towns].
On average the Institute publishes 20 books annually along with periodical publications, which contain articles that have significance for the awarding of degrees:Lietuvos istorijos metraštis [Year-Book of Lithuanian History], Lietuvos archeologija[Lithuanian Archaeology], Lietuvos etnologija [Lithuanian Ethnology], collections of articles in foreign languages: Lithuanian Historical Studies; Archaeologia Baltica [Baltic Archaeology].
Research into Lithuanian pre-history and mediaeval archaeology cover such essential areas as settlement in what is now Lithuania, the origin and development of the Balts, the formation of the Lithuanian and other Baltic tribes.
The Institute researches the origins of the ancient Lithuanian state, its formation, basic stages in its development, the development of its social culture and its place within Europe as a whole. Research and publication of the sources of the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania are essential for Lithuania, especially the publication of the Lithuanian Metrica. This source is essential to the development of various areas of research (history, historical geography, language, law) not only in the Baltic Region but also worldwide. Research into and the publication of sources relevant to the history of the Grand Duchy require careful labour and competence in various fields (language, history, auxiliary historical sciences and so on). During the past decade the Institute has established an in-house group of specialists, the Palaeography Department.
The Institute researches the development of Lithuanian society at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to reveal the heritage and continuity of the traditions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a model of how the social elite behaved, the influence of changes in mentality, the rise in the level of state- and civil consciousness and its confirmation within society at large. The heritage left by the Republic of Lithuania between 1918 and 1940 formed a strong base of ideas for the Lithuanian State, which was revived after the declaration of March 11 1990 and forms a school of experience for today’s state and public institutions. The multi-level conception of historical-cultural heritage and the formation of an image of the past in present-day society perform an objective function to create a civil society and fosters tolerant outlooks.
The published results of ethno-cultural research among people living in Lithuania form a significant base for producing text-books devoted to ethnic Lithuanian culture, and material useful for teachers in schools and higher education. Research results have significance for the further development of studies, the preservation of the uniqueness of Lithuanian culture and the presentation of the same to a worldwide audience.
The Institute carries out specialist assessments commissioned by state institutions with regard to issues of monument preservation, archaeological research and law and offers consultations on various issues of policy. Members of the Institute take part in the work of ad-hoc and long-term state commissions.