Kretinga Manor was built in the 15th - early 16th century. Count Tyszkiewicz bought it from Mikalojus Zubovas in 1875 and it became the family's residence. He beautified the buildings futher by adding a glassed conservatory a faux cliff and cascading waterfall, the walls were decorated with corals. It was the most famous winter garden in Lithuania.
In 1992, the restored buildings became home to the Kretinga Museum which has archeological, numismatic, and old Lithuanian folk art and ethnographical expositions. There is regular rotation of contemporary art also. Regional tourist information is also available. The buildings host various events and may be rented for conferences and seminars. The winter garden has a cafe.
The manor's location had always provided sheltet from maritime wind in the areas. Its moders history is said to have begun when the bishop of Vilnius, Ignacy Massalski, planted fruit trees there in the late 18th century. In 1874 the land was purchased in an auction by Count Tyszkiewicz. In the course of creating a family manor, he converted the existing residence into a palace, built the orangery, now known as the Winter Garden, and re-landscaped the grounds. The landscaping included cascading ponds, a waterfall, arbors, fountains, sculptures, and parterres.
The idea of turning the manor into a museum is credited to Juozas Žilvitis: thr Kretinga Museum Committee was established in 1935. The garden was completely destroyed during World War II. In 1940 the museum became a branch of the Kaunas State Museum (now the Vytautas the Great War Museum). In 1987 the greenhouse was rebuilt, since 1998 the Kretinga Estate Park Friends Club has been a co-sponsors.
Exibits and expositions
The exibits portraying the life of the Tyszkiewicz family occupy seven halls, and contain family portraits, furniture, photographs, household objects, and paintings. The folk art exibits contain textile art and works of kryždarbiai, the traditional Lithuanian art of fashioning crosses. Household articles include tools and furnitureused during various eras.
Recent exhibitions have featured jewelry, ceramics, printed matter of historic interest, and folk costumes. The gardens and the orangery, which contains a cafe, are frequently updated. The museum sponsors concerts, scientific and research projects, holiday special a "Tree Feast", and folk dance presentations.