Frequently Asked Questions about the Balzekas Museum
General information about the Museum
Street parking is available in front of the
Museum as well as in the rear of the building.
Where is the Museum located, and how do I get there?The Museum is located in the West Lawn neighborhood of Chicago, 1.6 miles southeast of Midway Airport and approximately 20 miles southwest of downtown. It is accessible by public transportation and car. See Directions to the Museum
How can I contact the Museum?
Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture
6500 S. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60629
When was the Museum founded?The Balzekas Museum was founded in Chicago in 1966 to preserve and perpetuate Lithuanian culture in America. The Museum celebrates the notable achievements of Lithuanian Americans, the Lithuanian nation, and Lithuanian communities worldwide. Read more about the Balzekas Museum ...
Can anyone sign books out from the Balzekas Museum library?The library is not open to the general public and does not lend books. If you are interested in accessing the library's resources, please call the Museum to make an appointment with the Librarian.
Can anyone come to the museum to search the obituaries or other genealogical archives?
Museum Genealogy-level members have archive access when accompanied by a genealogical department representative. We suggest calling the Museum to make an appointment to schedule a consultation. Our knowledgeable representatives are eager to help you explore the archive or find what you are looking for. More about the Genealogy Department ...
What exhibits does the Museum have?The Museum's diverse temporary exhibitions complement the extensive permanent collection. The main exhibit, Lithuania through the Ages, presents artifacts from centuries of Lithuanian history. The Women's Guild Room displays Lithuanian folk art, jewelry, and traditional costumes. The War After War exhibition describes the struggle of the Lithuanian Partisans, also known as the "Forest Brothers", who fought the Soviet occupation of Lithuania after the end of World War II. Our newest permanent exhibit, the Chronicle of Violence, features photographs, documents and historical information in English and Lithuanian about the history of Soviet deportations from Lithuania during and after World War II. This exhibit and War after War were prepared by the Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius, Lithuania, and are an excellent resource for educators teaching 20th century European and/or Lithuanian history, World War II, and/or Soviet history. The Children's Museum offers a hands-on opportunity for visitors who are young in age, or young-at-heart, to explore a traditional Lithuanian homestead as well as a Medieval castle.
What does the Museum offer children?The Children's Museum of the Balzekas Museum, offers hands-on exhibits and experiences for children of all ages. The Passport to Lithuania section includes an interactive miniature homestead, including a replica of a Lithuanian thatch-roofed farmhouse, traditional Lithuanian utensils, tools, instruments, and folk art objects. Children are encouraged to handle these items and experience day-to-day life in historic Lithuania. To go further back in time, children can cross a drawbridge to enter Castle Quest, an exploration of medieval pageantry. Here children can design their own coat of arms, dress up for castle life, put together a realistic knight's armor jigsaw puzzle, or pose for a photograph by peeking out from behind a Lithuanian mural. Children enjoy touring the rest of the Museum to see prehistoric artifacts, a decorated Christmas tree featuring traditional straw ornaments, and the medieval armor exhibited in the Lithuania Through the Ages main exhibit, as well as the folk arts, Easter eggs, and dolls in the Women's Guild Room. Each visit begins in the Ed Mankus Audio-Visual Room with a film about Lithuania, which sets the stage for the rest of the tour.
Does the Museum have artifacts dating before 1795? How old are the Museum's artifacts?The Museum’s collections have a wide range of items which span Lithuania's history, including the period before 1795, when the Grand Duchy of Lithuanian was subsumed into the Russian empire. The Museum's main exhibit, Lithuania Through the Ages, houses the Museum's oldest artifacts: prehistoric items used by the first inhabitants of what is today considered Lithuania. The Museum also has a collection of rare, antique Lithuanian books, medieval armor, coins, and maps. The period of Lithuania's indepedence between World War I and World War II is also represented. The Soviet occupation of Lithuania from the end of the Second World War II to 1990, including the War after War, the Lithuanian Partisan movement, and the subsequent rebirth of Lithuanian nation are also featured. An important aspect of the Museum is the history of Lithuanian immigration to the United States and the contributions Lithuanian's have made for themselves here and in other countries around the world.
Is Stanley Balzekas the Museum proprietor?Stanley Balzekas is the Museum's founder and President. The Museum is a registered Illinois non-profit 501(c)(3) organization supported through the generous contributions of its donors and members. Mr. Balzekas, the Museum's staff and the Board of Directors oversee the administration and day-to-day operations of the Museum.
What should I see when I visit Lithuania?The Balzekas Museum Tours to Lithuania visit the most popular cities and landmarks. (See a tour itinerary, for suggested sites.) The capitol of Lithuania, Vilnius, is an important stop on any tour of country. The Museum online Gift Shop sells several good guide books about Vlnius.
Where can I find Lithuanians in Chicago?Chicago is home to the largest Lithuanian population outside of Lithuania. Today, the largest Lithuanian center is in the Chicagoland area is in the southwestern suburb of Lemont, Illinois, the location of the Lithuanian World Center/Pasaulio Lietuvių Centras. However, Lithuanians live all over the Chicago area, including the Beverly Shores region of Northeastern Indiana and the Racine area of Southeastern Wisconsin.
There are still some Lithuanian residents in the Marquette Park area. However, all of the Lithuanian stores and restaurants have closed. The community is still worth a visit, nevertheless. Landmarks such as Nativity Blessed Virgin Mary church, which still holds masses in Lithuanian, and the Sisters of St. Kazimir are located there. Just north, off of Western Avenue, is the Lithuanian Youth Center, which is home to the Jesuit Fathers, the Lithuanian Research and Studies Center, a Lithuanian heritage Saturday school, and an Art Gallery. A visit to the area should include a stop at the Art Deco Darius and Girėnas commemorative monument at the northeast corner of Marquette Park, at S. California Avenue and 67th Street.
Do Lithuanians still live in the Marquette Park neighborhood?
Click here to see information about getting to the Museum, including directions, public transportation, a map, visiting hours, accessibility and parking ...
Lithuanian Landmarks in Chicago:
More about Darius and Girėnas
67th and California
Chicago, IL 60629
5600 S. Claremont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60636
4545 W. 63rd St.
Chicago, IL 60629
5620 S. Claremont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60636
14911 127th St.
Lemont, IL 60439
6812 Washtenaw Ave.
Chicago, IL 60629 (Marquette Park Neighborhood)
2601 W. Marquette Rd.
Chicago, IL 60629
2745 W. 44th St. (Near 44th and California)
Chicago, IL 60632
Lithuanian Restaurants in Chicago
Grand Duke's Restaurant /Kunigaikščių užeiga - Lithuanian Restaurant and Store
6312 S. Harlem Ave.
Summit, IL 60501
Mabenka Restaurant - Polish and Lithuanian Cuisine
7844 S. Cicero Ave.
Burbank, IL 60459
6216 S Archer Ave.
Chicago, IL 60638
2819 83rd St.
Darien, IL 60561
4401 W. 111th St. (East of 111th and Pulaski)
Chicago, IL 60655
Dr. Kazys Grinius,
President of Lithuania, 1926,
is buried at the Lithuanian
Photo from Graveyards.com
8201 S. Kean Ave.
Justice, IL 60458-1720
More Chicago-area Lithuanian landmarks to come. Please check back regularly. If you would like to suggest a Lithuanian destination for this list, please contact us.