The Ethnography Department collection holds around 84 000 items. This is the largest and most valuable collection of Latvian ethnographic and applied arts. Collections of tools, domestic items, ceramics, fabrics, pieces of folk costume, jewellery, traditional musical instruments and documentary material characterise the Latvian lifestyle from the 18th–20th centuries. Of particular value are implements manufactured and used during 17–18th centuries which reflect traditions that can be linked directly to much earlier times. Many of these items were obtained from the Riga Latvian Society collecting expeditions undertaken in the late 19th century. Source materials of such antiquity are rare within Latvian museums. The breadth of the applied arts collection reflects the handing down of traditions and the continuation of creativity in applied arts to the present day. Documents from the Monuments Board ethnographic expeditions 1920–40 are a very important ethnographic source material, as they describe phenomena and objects of the 18th–20th centuries. Many of the objects documented are now part of the Museum collection, and thus are reliably provenanced.