We enumerated all the museums we could go to in Riga. My cousin wanted to see a merchant’s house. It turned out that that house – called Mentzendorff house – is the only museum that showed the lifestyle of wealthy Rigans in the 17th-18th century.
It’s named after its last owner, who ran a delicatessen on the ground floor and sold the best coffee in town.
It was constructed in 1695 as the premises for a glass cutter.
The people working there were old women. (In fact, many old women worked in Riga, I observed.) One of the women in the museum sternly told aunt and me to keep off a huge chest. My cousin was taking a photo of aunt so aunt leaned a little too close to the chest. Meanwhile, I looked suspicious since I stood by the chest taking a detail photo of the box.
Cousin envisioned how it may have worked in the house in the old days. She was mumbling something like: “This was where the wares were brought in, and here was the table where they were counting coins…” I was silently enjoying her vision.
Besides being a museum, it is also home to a Glass Art and Study Centre – which explains the glass exhibit showcasing work of art students in the cellar.
In the attic was an exhibit of old working clothes, but exhibits there change monthly.
Here’s the official link to the house: “Mencendorfa nams”