On August 22 (September 3), 1875 on the Red Square in Moscow in the presence of Alexander II and a large crowd of people in ceremonial atmosphere there was laid the foundation stone of Historical museum – the largest national historical museum of Russia. Its collection reflects the history and the culture of Russia from ancient times to our days.
The museum was founded by initiative of the public in 1872. The first displays were from historical and Sevastopol departments of Polytechnic exhibition of 1872. According to “General regulations of the museum” established in 1873 its main goal was “to serve as visual history”. Thus the museum started to acquire “all the monuments of significant events of the Russian state history”.
In April 1874 the Moscow state Duma assigned a ground for the museum construction on the Red square where once was situated the first Moscow University. As a result of the competition the project of the architect V. Sherwood and engineer A. Semenov was approved. The construction lasted six years.
From the very beginning the museum was granted with generous gifts and donations from state and social organizations as well as from people of different rank and estate. The Moscow state Duma presented it with Golitsyn and Chertkovsky libraries rich of numerous unique manuscripts. The nobles such as Golitsyny, Bobrinskye, Kropotkiny, Obolenskye, Masalskye, Shcherbatovy, Uvarovy also made a significant contribution as well as merchants-sponsors Bakhrushiny, Buryliny, Grachovy, Postnikovy, Sapozhnikovy. Several hundreds of antique pieces were presented by a famous collector P. Shchukin. Another source of collections was expeditionary finds and acquisitions. In the Soviet age the collections of the State museum fund and closed down museums such as “Old Moscow”, Rumyantsev museum, Military-Historical museum, etc. were handed over to this museum.
By subject exposition of the museum is divided into six sections: History of the primitive community in the territory of Russia, History of the peoples of Russia from the year 1000 BC to 10th century AD.; Kievan state and the period of feudal fragmentation; Muscovy in 16th-17th centuries.; reforms of Peter I and the education of the Russian Empire, Russian Empire in the period of 1725-1762.
State Historical Museum has 7 branches. Each of them is a monument of ancient architecture and an independent museum of the age to which it belongs. Moscow Branches of the State History Museum are: St. Basil's Cathedral, the Museum of Boyar way of life in 17th century; Trinity Cathedral in Nikitniki; Novodevichy Monastery; royal manor of 16th-17th centuries in the village of Kolomna.
Outside Moscow: Alexander Sloboda (in Alexandrov, the Ivanovo region) and the Genoese fortress in of 14th century in Sudak, on the southern coast of Crimea.
© Russkiy Mir. 03 September, 2012