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Žemaitė memorial museum at Bukantė manor house

Bukantė has been known since the 16th century when it belonged to the noble Bukontys family. The name of the location was derived from their surname. In the 18th century, the Counts Plater purchased Šateikiai Manor along with Bukantė Folwark (a large separate homestead within the manor territory), also known as Mažoji Bukantė Manor or Bukantiškė Manor. The noble family of Julijana and Antanas Beniuševičius managed Bukantė Folwark in the 19th century. Their daughter Julija Beniuševičiūtė was born in 1845, who later got married and took her husband’s surname Žymantienė and became famous as the writer Žemaitė. She left the legacy of 354 written works.

The future writer spent the first twelve years of her childhood in Bukantė. Later, she fondly recalled this stage of her life in her Autobiography book, “My mother could not write, only read. Still, she held her noble roots and the Polish language in high regard and made sure that all her children learned to speak Polish and read Polish books. My parents had served for Count Plater for more than ten years. My father was a steward and my mother served as a housekeeper. The serfs worked in the fields and so, only my parents, a maid and a shepherd to manage and feed the herd in winter lived in the manor.”

In 1965, in commemoration of the 120th anniversary of the birth of Žemaitė, her house in Bukantė was fully renovated and a memorial museum was opened as a tribute to the writer. The residential manor house was once again renovated, and the barn and the granary were reconstructed in 2012. The memorial exhibition dedicated to Žemaitė displays several authentic items from the personal belongings of the writer and introduces her story and creative endeavors. The museum also holds the Samogitian culinary heritage workshops.

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