The building on Antonijas iela 1 in Riga that houses the Museum was originally built in 1879 as a luxurious family home. However, by the eve of World War II, the owner Rodrigo Wilhelm Elsen had leased it to the embassies of Lithuania and Belgium.
After the war, the Soviet government nationalised the building, which would house the Central Committee of the Latvian League of Communist Youth. Vilis Krūmiņš — a Latvian rifleman and prominent Soviet Latvian functionary (who would later serve as the director of the Museum of Natural History) made sure the building was transferred to the Museum, and since then, its four storeys and basement have been home to the Museum’s collection.
Built in the 19th-century Eclecticism style to a design by famed architect Heinrich Carl Scheel, it is one of more than 40 buildings Scheel designed in and around the historical centre of Riga.
Pharmacy Museum Building
The Pharmacy Museum on Riharda Vāgnera iela 13 in Old Riga also occupies a former residential building constructed in the mid-18th century and designated a monument of national architectural heritage. In the 19th century, a waggonwright that lived here decorated the building with a Rococo-style portal and set of doors. The villa was divided into communal flats during Soviet rule, but starting in the 1980s, an alchemist’s lab, a natural healer’s house, and a chimneyless sauna emerged here, with a garden of medicinal herbs in the interior yard.