Back in the times of the national revival in the second half of the 19th century, the intellectual leaders of the Nation realized that the state is being formed not only by the definition of its territory and governmental institutions but also by taking into consideration the cultural, social and political obligations of its citizens. Upon becoming a modern national state, the Republic of Lithuania was impossible to imagine without the respect of its citizens to the history and culture. State festivals and patriotic campaigns also served for the development of respect. By giving priority to certain events and anniversaries of significance to the nation, the representatives of the elite of the State played with these days in the calendar of State festivals like with a deck of card in Solitaire. Philosophers also came to the assistance to the players of political Solitaire by emphasizing that patriotism is closely related with emotions which – as the sensual experience of Homeland and Nation – could be incited by patriotic ethnically-focused education and national festivals. The State had to take care of both elements of the issue.
The modernized and updated exposition introduces the Presidents of the First Republic of Lithuania (1918–1940) in traditional and innovative ways. Three presidents took the presidential oath of office: Antanas Smetona spend the whole 15 years in this office; Aleksandras Stulginskis – 6 years (including 2 years, when as the Chairman of the Constituent Seimas he was an Acting President); and Kazys Grinius had barely 6 months, a short term ended by Coup d’État. The President was elected by Seimas. The State President’s institution underwent many serious changes over two decades of the First Republic of Lithuania – changing from nominal and representative to autocracy. This evolution may be traced in explicit photo galleries, documentary films, and president’s speeches that are available on a touch-screen terminal.
A permanent historical exhibition of representative portraits, pieces of art that originally decorated the interior of the Palace, gifts to the Presidents, surviving authentic furniture, historical pictures recording the Presidents’ foreign and internal activities, public activities, pictures from personal life and many more things that tell the story of the First Republic of Lithuania (1918-1940).