The museum of special purpose. 1919-2019

22 Jun 2019–17 Feb 2021All exhibitions
The exhibition, opened in the year of the centenary of the Museum of Political History of Russia, represents amazing and difficult fate of the museum, which has experienced repressions, wars, periods of thaw, stagnation and restructuring, finding new look in the modern era. Three rooms represent more than 500 exhibits, including legendary items related to the main events of the history of our country over the last hundred years. Visitors will see how the Museum from the “laboratory of revolutionary thought” and the rostrum of the promotion of the ideas of socialism transformed into a modern museum.

Idea of foundation of the museum appeared in the times of the first Russian revolution in 1905-1907. Returning to St. Petersburg from prison and exile political prisoners decided to keep their relics as exhibits for the future Museum of the revolution. The first thing that the visitor will see is a bottle with a 500-ruble banknote which was extracted by the Bolsheviks as a result of the famous “Tiflis expropriation”. The Museum collection begins from this object, preserved as an exhibit in 1907.

The State museum of revolution, first historical-revolutionary museum of our country, was founded on the 9th of 1919 by decision of the Petrograd Soviet of workers and red army deputies. At the origins of the museum were Commissar of education Anatoly Lunacharsky, writer Maxim Gorky, chairman of the Petrograd Soviet Grigory Zinoviev, member of narodnik movement Vera Figner and others. The aim of the Museum was “to cover the course and development of revolution on a global scale”, so its collection included exhibits, which were connected with the history of the French revolution, the Paris Commune, the international social democratic and Communist movement.

Many of the exhibits were brought to the Museum by the revolutionaries. Important relics were received in the 1920s-1930s from the former prisoners of Shlisselburg - the most terrible of the prisons of the Russian Empire. relics were received in the 1920s-1930s from the former prisoners of Shlisselburg - the most terrible of the prisons of the Russian Empire. They are herbarium, collected by Vera Figner, wonderful globe made by Michael Novorussky, the key of the Shlisselburg prison and other authentic items.

A solemn meeting dedicated to the opening of the Museum of the Revolution was held in the Winter Palace on January 11, 1920. At that time the Museum received exhibits connected with the history of the Decembrist movement. It formed the basis of the collection associated with the uprising at the Senate square and the role of masons in secret political organizations. At the exhibition you can see part of this collection, including a Masonic apron that belonged to Kondraty Ryleev. In 1954 almost the entire Masonic collection was brought to the Hermitage.

The Museum staff actively collected exhibits. Visitors will see leaflets, posters, banners and weapons collected by Museum expeditions in different regions of the country. From the grove near Jamburg a pine branch on which in 1919 Yudenich's troops hanged Communists was taken. There is a record of memories of the American anarchist Emma Goldman, who participated in the extraordinary expedition of the Museum, organized in 1920.

Collections of the Museum reflected the revolutionary movements of the XIX - beginning of the XX century, presenting the story of many different parties, from the social revolutionaries to reactionaries. But in the 1930s, this approach became contradiction to the current political situation. The reason of the repressions, even among the museum workers, was the murder in 1934 of Sergei Kirov (you can see his death mask at the exhibition). The Museum was devastatingly critisized. It was the first time, when documents, presented to the public, testified the closure of the Museum for six months. The reason was the alteration, which aim was to turn the museum into a “real center of propaganda of the history of Bolshevism”, about the fate of the repressed employees who became victims of Great terror.

With the beginning of The Great Patriotic War, The State Museum of Political History of Russia was closed for visitors. During the siege, a small team of the museum colleсted evidences of the feat of Leningrad citizens. Visitors will see the stove, which was made during the siege, a baking mold for bread, a mug made from a tin can, and other exhibits of 1941–1943.

The postwar years were the most dramatic in the history of the museum. In 1945, the Leningrad Executive Committee adopted a fateful decision - all the premises of the museum in the Winter Palace were given to the State Hermitage Museum. In February 1946, a group of soldiers packed and urgently removed most of the collection. For ten years the exhibits of The State Museum of Political History of Russia were kept in the Peter and Paul Fortress and in the attics of the Marble Palace. In that period, there was a large-scale cleaning of the collection, which was reminded back by documents with retouched and carved names of political figures declared “enemies of the people”. The museum in those years lost more than one hundred ten thousand exhibits.

Only the Khrushchev thaw caused the conditions for the revival of the museum. In 1955, it received two buildings in the Petrograd district - mansions of Matilda Kshesinskaya and Vasiliy Brant, architectural monuments in the Art Nouveau style. The photographs depicted the construction of the connecting building between the mansions and a solemn meeting in November 1957, dedicated to the opening of the State Museum of the Great October Socialist Revolution - that was the name of the museum. In those years, the museum received unique exhibits as a gift from relatives of state men, representatives of science and culture. The exhibition presents personal items of Felix Dzerzhinsky, Alexandra Kollontai, Marshals of the Soviet Union Rokossovsky and Govorov, Academician Igor Kurchatov, the revolver of Semen Budyonny, beret that was gifted to Yuri Gagarin by Fidel Castro and other legendary items. The art object in the center of the hall is a the metaphor of planetary importance of the museum in the context of his multilateral communications with communist and working parties in countries of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

In 1987 new grand exhibition equipped with the latest technology, which, however, in the conditions of perestroika quickly lost its relevance was opened. The Museum faced the task of finding new way of development. On the 14th of August, 1991, few days before the August putsch, the Museum of Great October Socialistic Revolution was renamed into the Museum of Political History of Russia. The first exhibition after the renaming of the museum was called “Democracy or dictatorship? Political parties and power in Russia from autocracy to perestroika”. According to the names of the exhibitions of those years – “I choose freedom...”, “Stalinism in the fates of people”, “Difficult ways of democracy”, “Hot summer of Kuzbass”, “Who killed Nicholas II?” you can study the history of public discussions of those years. Therefore, the modern Museum was born.

During these years, the beginning the collection of exhibits, which were connected with new before prohibited topics was initiated. “Gulag” and “dissident” collections, a collection of contemporary political parties and civil movements were formed. Slogans of the August putsch of 1991, a bowler hat and a gas mask of the White house defenders and other items came to the Museum directly from the putsch.

Today the Museum, as hundred years ago, collects, stores, studies and exhibits items reflecting the most important events of the social life of the country. It is an educational centre where the concept of the modern view of the past through the prism of the present is formed and translated.

The exhibition was created with the participation of the State Hermitage Museum, the Central State Historical Archive of St. Petersburg, the Central State Archive of Literature and Art of St. Petersburg.

Публикация от: 20.02.2019 13:19:28