From 1989-91, during the restoration of Lithuanian independence, many ideologized monuments from the Soviet times were dismantled and, with the absence of any storage procedure, piled in storehouses and backyards, most frequently on the premises of utility companies. Thanks to such “preservation”, many monuments were damaged (some of them “suffered” during dismantling while others caught the eye of metal traders, etc.), and eventually could have been totally destroyed, as happened in the neighbouring republics. There were various opinions and proposals regarding the fate of the dismantled Soviet sculptures. Destroy? Preserve?
Hesonos klubas public agency located in Grūtas near Druskininkai was the winner of the tender called by the Ministry of Culture in 1998 for the establishment of an exposition of dismantled monumental sculptures from the Soviet period. A strong argument for choosing this undertaking was that its manager, Viliumas Malinauskas, was planning to establish the exposition using private funds earned from his family’s mushroom and berry business without asking for financial support from the state. The project submitted for tender also stressed the importance of the new tourist site for the development of this region in Southern Lithuania.
The work of preparing the exposition started in early 1999. Grūtas Park was officially opened on 1 April 2001.