Lithuanian Aviation Museum has two branches: Birthplace Museum of Steponas Darius and Birthplace Museum of Stasys Girėnas located in Samogitia region. The branches were rebuilt in 1991 under the efforts of aviator Vytautas Pakarskas. Both sites are representing pilots’ Darius and Girėnas childhood environment as well as their achievements in aviation and famous flight across the Atlantic ocean in 1933.
BIRTHPLACE MUSEUM OF STEPONAS DARIUS
Birthplace Museum of Steponas Darius is located in Darius village (Klaipėda district) | Location on the map
Steponas Darius was born in a wooded and marshy Rubiškės hermitage. Now it is the village of Darius. In 1907 when the pilot’s family left for America, Darius’ mother left the authority to manage the farm to her relatives Idzelevičiai. 1920 after arriving in Lithuania, Steponas Darius visited his father’s house, his relatives, the graves of his grandparents and his father in the Judrėnai cemetery. While living in Kaunas, he visited his hometown several more times, the last time in 1927.
After the death of Steponas Darius, Rubiškė was named the village of Darius. On October 15, 1933, The youth of the Darius Village Spring Organization planted an oak tree in the garden, which they named “Darius and Girėnas Tree”, which is still green today.
On October 15, 1946, ‘thugs’ burned down Dariškė. Over time, the farm buildings of the uninhabited homestead completely collapsed and fell into disrepair. By 1968, as land reclamation approached Dariškė, no buildings remained in the homestead. Only a wooden cross persisted, bearing the date 1928, which is still readable today. According to the land reclamation project, flat fields for a Soviet farm were planned to replace the area where Dariškė once stood.
The explorers, with the help of aviators, decided to save the homestead. Young, patriotic marchers in 1969. On May 9th, in the yard, under the big oak, they poured a barrow and built a huge stone with the inscription “Darius and Girėnas”. In the surviving corner of the stone foundation of the house, a granite commemorative plaque was attached with the inscription “Birthplace of Steponas Darius, winner of the Atlantic (1896-1933)”. After that, the Soviet authorities no longer dared to destroy Dariškė.
After the 50th anniversary of the “Lituanica” flight, a decision was made to restore the parental homes of both pilots. In 1993, the house and granary were rebuilt, the territory was arranged, and a memorial exhibition was installed.
BIRTHPLACE MUSEUM OF STASYS GIRĖNAS
Birthplace Museum of Stasys Girėnas is located in Vytogala village (Šilalė district) | Location on the map
The birthplace-museum of pilot Stasys Girėnas is located 17 km from Šilalė and Skaudvilė, 10 km from Dionizo Poškos Baubliai, 14 km from Kaltinėnai, and 7 km from the new Žemaičiai highway.
In 1969, on the 10th of May, tourists-explorers and aviators from Vilnius University organized the construction of a memorial stone and the maintenance of the birthplace of S. Girėnas. Next to the memorial stone dedicated to S. Girėnas, there is an ornamented two-cross cross commemorating the 10th anniversary of Lithuania’s independence, which was rebuilt in 1990.
In 1988, to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the flight of Darius and Girėnas, the residence of S. Girėnas was rebuilt and furnished. The new house was constructed in a different location because, in 1938-39, Petras Girėnas, the brother of Stasys Girėnas, had already built a barn. An exposition dedicated to Stasis Girėnas and the history of Vytogala village is now housed in the reconstructed home and barn.
Every year in the middle of July, the anniversary of the flight of Darius and Girėnas and their death is commemorated in Vytogala.