This department, which has existed under various names since 1941 (most recently the Feudalism Department, 1971-90), has borne the name of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1990. Among the heads of department have been: Professor J. Jonynas, Academician J. Žiugžda, Academician J. Jurginis, Professor M. Jučas, Professor L. Mulevičius, Dr E. Rimša, Dr Z. Kiaupa, Dr E. Meilus. At present Dr Ramunė Šmigelskytė-Stukienė is acting head of department.
The work of members of the department has won wide recognition. In 2001 Dr E. Rimša was awarded the Lithuanian Republic’s prize for academic achievement for his monograph on town seals from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Lietuvos Didžiosios Kunigaikštystės miestų antspaudai, Vilnius 1999) and the following year the prize was won by Dr I. Lukšaitė for her monograph on the Lithuanian Reformation circa 1520-1610 (Reformacija Liietuvos Didžiojoje Kunigaikštystėje ir Mažiojoje Lietuvoje XVI a. trečiasis dešimtmetis-XVII a. pirmas dešimtmetis, Vilnius, 1999). In 2002 Dr J. Kiaupienė won the World Lithuanian Community Prize for her contribution as editor of a source publication, 1385 m. rugpjūčio 14 d. Krėvos aktas (Vilnius, 2002). In 2004 the City of Vilnius awarded a St Christopher Prize to Dr S. C. Rowell.