The two buildings of the Kazys Varnelis Museum that face Town Hall Square are special for their long history. The first is the Small Guild (Didžioji g. 26) – a Gothic building that is one of the oldest buildings in the square and a contemporary of the original Gothic Town Hall, and the second is the Massalski House (Didžioji g. 24), which is an example of Vilnius Renaissance architecture.
Vilnius merchants and merchant guild members had shops and warehouses in both buildings, with pubs in the cellars and living quarters upstairs. Vaulted Gothic rooms have been restored in the Small Guild, and the Massalski House features residential quarters of wealthy townspeople from Renaissance times. Architectural details reveal the unique features of construction and household life in those days.
Since 2001, the buildings have been used to display the modern art of 20th-century émigré artist Kazys Varnelis, as well as his collection of ancient art, historical furniture and maps. This is a museum created by one man – Kazys Varnelis himself. Contrast, rhythm and space are the principles of this unconventional exhibit that highlight the old architecture heritage.