Ervin Apinis demonstrating unplying machine, 1997.
Image: Marianna Auliciems
Source: Museum Victoria
Question: What has happened to the Latvian loom that was in the Timeline Gallery at the Immigration Museum?
Answer: The loom that was on display in the Timeline Gallery at the Immigration Museum has been removed to make way for a new immigrant story about a post World War II Italian migrant woman and her knitting machine.
Since the Immigration Museum first opened in 1998, the story of Anna Apinis and the preservation of Latvian weaving traditions through her looms has been a centrepiece of the exhibitions. The first countermarch floor loom was acquired by Anna in the 1970s and had been made from discarded material in a German displaced persons camp. It was donated to Museum Victoria in 1996. In 2006, the Apinis family decided to donate an identical loom that Anna had actually transported with her from a displaced persons camp in Germany – the two stories were remarkably similar. This is the loom that was displayed at the Immigration Museum from 2007 until 2010 and is now safely stored in the Museum’s collection store along with the weavings and other objects relating to the story. The other loom was recently transferred to Latvia where it is now displayed at the Latvians Abroad Museum and Research Centre.
In this way, Museum Victoria has been able to continue its policy of changing its displays and maintaining a diverse representation of cultures and experiences, as well as assisting other countries in the building of their own heritage collections.