The Lithuanian cultural institutions system comprises 4 kinds of institutions: national, state, municipal and private, i.e. established by private persons or their organisations. These kinds of institutions are present in all main areas of culture: museums, theatres, libraries, cultural centres, etc.
Almost all national and state cultural institutions have the legal status of budgetary institutions that is defined in the Law on Budgetary Institutions (1995). According to the Law, the budgetary institution is a public legal entity with limited civil liability, which performs state or municipal functions and is maintained from the appropriations of the state or municipal budgets, as well as from the budgets of the State Social Insurance Fund, Compulsory Health Insurance Fund and other state monetary funds. Authorities exercising the rights and obligations of the owner approve the statutes of a budgetary institution, appoint and dismiss the head of the budgetary institution; decide on the reorganisation or liquidation of the budgetary institution; take a decision regarding the establishment of a branch of a budgetary institution and the termination of its activities; etc.
In 2019, there were 10 national institutions in Lithuania: 3 theatres (the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, and National Kaunas Drama Theatre), 4 museums (National Museum of Lithuania, Lithuanian Arts Museum, Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art), 1 library (Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania), 1 concert organisation (Lithuanian national Philharmonic Society), and 1 broadcasting company (Lithuanian National Radio and Television). National institutions are financed directly by the Government, i.e. their appropriations are allocated by the Law on the Approval of Financial Indicators of the State Budget and Municipal Budgets that is adopted by the Seimas each year.
State cultural institutions are financed through the Ministry of Culture, i.e. the Ministry allocates their appropriations according to its budget plan of the respective years. In 2019, there were 39 state cultural institutions: 12 museums, 10 theatres, 6 libraries, 6 concert organisations, 1 arts centre, 1 cultural centre, 1 park and 2 cultural reserves. Most of them are concentrated in the three largest cities of Lithuania.
Local authorities are responsible for the financing and maintenance of local cultural institutions and cultural heritage. They have the right to establish or abolish cultural institutions of local importance and finance them through appropriations of local budget. Most local cultural organisations have a legal form of budget or public institutions and their owner is the municipality. According to the data on municipalities of the Ministry of Culture, in 2018 there were 1236 municipal public libraries, 56 museums, 10 theatres, and 6 concert organisations.
Data on private cultural institutions are not officially registered. The Lithuanian Ministry of culture provides data only on museums and theatres. According to the data, there were 8 private museums and 37 private theatres in Lithuania in 2018. However, this data is not exact, since private (non-state owned) cultural institutions are not obliged to provide reports to the Ministry about their activity, thus their number is likely to be higher. For example, the private museum of modern art Mo museum (established in 2018) is not displayed in the statistics of the Ministry of 2018. Data about private institutions in other areas of culture can be gathered only from the registers of companies, but it is also approximate and cannot be filtered by the form of ownership.
In general, the infrastructure of national and state cultural institutions changed very little over the last years. In 2009, a new national cultural institution was established: National Museum Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. In 2012, the state Kaunas Drama Theatre became the national theatre. Some national institutions renovated their buildings and opened new stable expositions, such as Vytautas Kasiulis Art museum.