The Riga Art Nouveau Museum was established on 23 April 2009 and is located at Alberta iela 12, in a building that was designed by the architect Konstantēkšēns (1859-1928). In fact, the exhibition space is housed in a flat that the architect once lived in from 1903 to 1908.
The aim of the museum is to popularise Riga's unique Art Nouveau architecture, as well as the use of Art Nouveau in Riga and the rest of Latvia in the fields of art, design, applied arts, crafts, literature and the design of household objects. It is also the only centre of its kind to be found in the Baltic States.
Riga's Alberta street features the greatest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in the city and the museum structure is no exception, being powerful in scope and expressive in silhouette. It also has outstanding ornamental reliefs displaying motifs from the worlds of flora and fauna, such as pine needles, pine cones and squirrels.
There is an ornate stairwell inside with decorative ceiling murals that may have been designed by the famous Latvian painter Janis Rozentāls. This is one of the most expressive stairwells not just in Riga, but in all of Latvia
The flat in which the exhibition is housed is one of the few residences in Riga in which an Art Nouveau interior so exclusively typical of the Latvian capital has been preserved and restored. Visitors will see a textbook Riga flat from the early part of the 20th century, comprising the living room, fireplace room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, lavatory and servants' room. The 1903 interior has been restored in full and the objects that can be viewed were used or manufactured during the Art Nouveau period of the early 20th century in Riga, including furniture, art and other household effects.
Visitors to the museum will be greeted by a guide dressed in Art Nouveau apparel and can try on Art Nouveau hats and have their picture taken while so adorned. There is also an Art Nouveau library and information centre in the exhibition complex.