The museum collection includes numerous pieces of furniture which were mostly made in Latvia. At the turn of the 20th century, Riga was one of the largest woodworking centres in the territory of Tsarist Russia. A trade of a joiner could be learnt at Riga School of German Craftsmen Society (founded in 1872). In 1912, it became Riga School of Craftsmen. There were many joiners’ shops in Riga founded by craftsmen among which the most well-known were Roberts Beķeris, Hermanis Būmanis, Pēteris Caune, Ēvalds Jansons, woodcarvers Karlis Ādamsons and Jēkabs Siliņš, and an upholsterer Jānis Stepermanis. An important role in the development of Art Nouveau played the exhibition to mark Riga’s 700th anniversary, attended by the most famous furniture makers of the time, i.e. Mārtiņš Pagasts, Ādams Tidriķis, Vilhelms Briedis and Antons Millers who received gold medals for the furniture exhibited. Architects and artists of the time like Rihards Zariņš and Jūlijs Madernieks turned to furniture design. The museum holdings include several sets of furniture made by local craftsmen, as well as separate pieces of furniture, e.g. cupboards, tables, chairs, beds and wardrobes. They are well-proportioned and modestly decorated with wood-carved floral and plant décors. Particularly ornate were the cupboards that adorned dining rooms. They were decorated not only with carvings, but also with multicoloured stained glass. Such a cupboard stands in the museum’s dining room and its doors are made of ornate stained glass panels displaying an ornament resembling a whiplash motif that was very popular in Italy. Geometric decorative shapes that prevail in the design of several furniture sets and separate items bring a touch of elegance. No room in the Art Nouveau period was compete without flower stands. They are also designed in the same manner with an emphasis on their vertical proportions. Several items in the museum holdings, e.g. a bench-chest and a chess table have expressive plant décors made in the wood burning technique that was popular at the time. The piano produced by Joseph Tresselt’s company – one of leading piano manufacturers of the time – is a prized possession of the museum. This piano had won a medal at the Riga’s 700th Anniversary Exhibition. Its design may have been created by architect Max Scherwinsky. In the utility rooms there are shelves, tables and hangers with Art Nouveau décors. Typologically interesting is the museum’s fridge decorated with a modest Art Nouveau ornament.
The Art Nouveau furniture collected by the museum illustrates the joinery traditions of the early 20th century.