The first steps towards the establishment of museum
The history of the Hugo Scheu museum in Šilutė begins in the end of XIX century, when from Klaipėda originated landowner Hugo Scheu bought the old Šilokarčema manor in 1889. He was one of the best-known people, revealed itself in the East Prussian economic and crafts. Seeing how quickly of the XIX century industrial revolution disappears the traditions and cultural heritage, Hugo Sheu in two rooms of his manor house started to collect the Klaipėda region ethnographic material and folklore. At the manor museum were collected ethnographic furniture, clothes and documents, prints and maps collections. Particularly many old Lithuanian clothes and textile samples were collected. That was the first museum in the Klaipėda region. The museum was accessible to the intelligentsia and scientists.
During World War II, son and father Sheu formatted collections, grandson Verneris left unprotected. The manor and museum suffered a lot of damage from here settled Red Army unit. The evidence of that was submitted in the notes of Memelander Martynas Toleikis who was appointed to manage the manor estate in 1945 19 February: „Most of the exhibits have been dropped on the floor and mixed with trash…“. The same summer M. Toleikis was appointed Šilutės ethnographic museum chief keeper and museum become property of Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
The museum raised the second life
On the 1948 manor buildings was given gardening and beekeeping school, before this school was former in Kretinga. The manor museum collection moved into a house of the Šilutė city center, Lietuvininkų street 36. On 1949 the museum got a new name – Šilutės ethnographic museum. The museum director appointed teacher M. Jonaitis. At that time, the museum has 718 exhibits. In the 1956–1961 year, museum director worked archaeologist J. Kvilonaitė, she focused on archaeological monuments and renovation. Many affect of museum’s collection made director D. Lukoševičiūtė-Narbutienės activities in 1961–1987. At a time was actively organized expeditions, during expeditions time accumulated valuable household, fishing tools, agricultural implements and a collection of prints. In 1965 ministry of culture, ordered Šilutės ethnographic museum become Klaipėda regional museum branch. The reorganization did not benefit for the museum. The museum situation was worsened when in 1972, Klaipėda ethnography museum moved in to subordination of Klaipėda executive committee. After the 8-year main Šilutė museum exposure was closed.
After the restoration of Lithuanian independence, museum Renaissance
When in 1990 year Lithuania declared its independence, museum establisher became Šilutės county municipality. The Museum has got another name – Šilutė museum. The cardinal changes took place inside the museum – prepared a new exposure, most valuable collections of Hugo Sheu exhibit begin to public display. The museum Establish a branch in to Bitėnai, Švėkšna, Žemaičių Naumiestis and Macikai village.
In this way it was created county museum network reflecting the historical development of the region. Its name Šilutės museum passed more than two decades, only in 2015 on 9 April, the museum get Šilutės Hugo Sheu museum name.
One of the most memorable days in modern museum history, is – 2015 30 May. That day during Šilutė town festival was ceremoniously cut off manor opening rope, and renovated museum keys hand over museum staff. Many decades cherished museum vision finally came true. Even the Hugo Sheu once it said that museum without manor house it is unthinkable, his vision is fulfilled.
In these days in to manor building complex is are museum and restoration and education center, there are working textile, wood and paper restorers, also is open education class.
The manor house also has renovated frescoes hall, the exposition palaces public hall. In the first floor of the palace are two exhibition halls. At this time on display is Hugo Sheu ethnographic collection, also prepared new expositions, in to the first floor of the mansion will be open, the manor kitchen and dining area, history of the city. In to the will be ready for exposition manors and its owners, in this exposition and will be exhibited H. Sheu accumulated archeological and ethnographic collection, will be herbarium, it will be possible to see landlords from others countries bring back souvenirs, read their memory.
At this time museum and its branches collected 60 150 exhibits.