Moscow State History Museum
The decree on the creation of the state museum-educational center was signed on February 9, 1872 by Emperor Alexander II. The museum’s collection was based on the Crimean War exhibition of 1853-1856 of the Sevastopol Department of the great Polytechnic Exhibition of all Russia dedicated to the bicentenary of the birth of Peter the Great.
The first stone in the foundation of the State Museum of History in Moscow was laid by Alexander II c. The presence of the Duke of Edinburgh in August 1875, but the emperor was not destined to live to see the opening. On May 27, 1883, the successor Alexander III and his wife Maria Fedorovna observed the ceremony that presented a new cultural monument to the world.
The museum’s collections were quickly replenished with the help of philanthropists, among which were the representative of the nobility of Nizhny Novgorod A. A. Catuar de Bioncourt, the widow of Dostoevsky, the Chertkov family, the Burylin, Obolensky, Sapozhnikovs and many others.
P.I. Schukin, who deservedly remained in the history of the country as the Grand Patron of Russia, in 1905 transferred to the museum his unique collection of a collector-connoisseur. The exhibitions of Schukin formed the basis of the exhibitions of the State Museum of History: its participation is approximately 15% of all the modern funds of the museum. Thanks to him and similar benefactors who selflessly sacrificed their valuable collections for the good of the country, the State Museum has become what it is now: one of the largest and most famous historical museums in the world.
In its history, as well as in the life of the Russian people, for whose glory it was created, there were joyful and tragic moments. The museum witnessed changes in the regime and power, a silent participant in the revolutions and an involuntary spectator of military parades in 1941 and 1945. In Soviet times, they even thought of demolishing it to open a wide avenue from the northern part of the Red Square and have more space for parades, but, fortunately, these plans were never implemented. From 1986 to 2002, large-scale restoration work was carried out in the building. Today it is working again, it has the status of the largest museum in Russia and has several branches: the Patriotic War Museum of 1812, the Chambers of the Boyars in Zaryadye and the Pokrovsky Cathedral.
The building of the historical museum in Moscow
In the XV-XVI centuries, there was a postal yard, then a satisfactory return court, and then the Zemsky order, the central authority. In 1699, a separate building was erected for him: a beautiful two-story mansion in the Baroque style of Naryshkin, flaunting a turret and platforms. Part of its facilities was subsequently delivered to the Main Pharmacy. From 1755 to 1793, the University of Moscow was located here, and after that, offices of the city authorities. In 1874, this territory was assigned for the construction of the Historical Museum building.
According to initial plans, the old Zemsky order was to be kept in the courtyard of the new complex, but in 1875 the house was demolished. The GIM building, built according to the architectural design of A. A. Semenov and V. O. Sherwood, is made in the pseudo-Russian style in the appearance and likeness of the tower: it reflects the historical past of great Russia.
The two main towers are crowned with two-headed imperial eagles, the smaller side tents are decorated with lions and unicorns, and the facades are amazed by the abundance of small and skillful decorations: kokoshniks, widths, arches, weights, Kyoto, cornices drawn and platforms. Unfortunately, the full implementation of the project was never implemented: facing a huge structure was too expensive. Inside the building there are also pseudo-Russian motifs, but each of the many rooms has its own “enthusiasm”. The most famous of the teachers, V. M., was involved in its design.
In 1889, the museum building was expanded with a transversal building between 500 small and large courtyards. In 1914, an archive, library and manuscript department was created on the site of the disassembled conference room. The project was directed by I. E. Bondarenko.
The State Historical Museum building is protected by UNESCO as an integral part of the Red Square complex.
The exhibition of the Moscow Historical Museum.
The museum’s exhibition area is 4,000 square meters, is distributed over two floors and is divided into 39 exhibition halls. Collections available to the public include more than 22,000 exhibits covering all stages of Russia’s development.
This allows visitors to learn more about the life, culture and history of the country in different periods of its existence. The museum’s funds store more than 15 million rare written sources from the history of Russia from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The most important are considered to be one of the oldest manuscript books in ancient Rus: “Izbornik” by Svyatoslav, the Moscow II Code and the Khludov Psalter, one of the three surviving psalteries of the ninth century.
The principle of the formation of the exhibitions is the same as at the time of the opening of the museum in 1873. To “serve as a visual story”, it is necessary to compile in a strict chronological order “all the monuments of significant events” of the Russian state history. According to museum rangers, the MIM mentality is different from that of Western European museums. Its goal is enlightenment, not surprise, and the method is not fun, but a serious study, designed to provide a foothold in the past and create a correct future.
In museum exhibits, sometimes you will find true treasures: for example, a monumental wrought iron lattice from the gates of the Novodvinsk fortress of the Petrine era, the hair line of Ivan the Terrible, the masked sled of The Russian Empress, decorated with carved golden eagles and the mysterious treasure of Galich, a unique find full of mysterious objects of worship. Collections continue to grow. Most of the museum’s replacement consists of the results of the archaeologists’ work, the smallest part is special purchases and gifts from customers.
Exhibitions and excursions.
Even if you have visited the Moscow State History Museum more than once, there will be something new waiting for you every time you visit it. In addition to the permanent main exhibition, thematic exhibitions dedicated to the history of the royal family, traditional Russian crafts, photography, painting or icon creation are regularly opened. For a lively immersion in the past, museum employees organize “Historical Saturdays”, opening unknown pages of Russian history, “Secrets of Moscow”, telling about the detective mysteries of the capital, conducting informative conferences, organizing film screenings and festive performances For the most curious, the museum houses theatrical tours and unusual missions. The exact calendar of exhibitions and events can be found on the official website of the Moscow Historical Museum.