New Romanov Museum for Tobolsk
by Paul Gilbert

The Museum of the Romanovs will be established in the former Governors Mansion, in Tobolsk to mark the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 2013

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The Tobolsk District Administration has announced plans to establish a new museum dedicated to the last Russian emperor and his family. It will become the only museum dedicated to the Romanov dynasty found east of the Ural Mountains in Siberia.

According to Ivan Olenberg, Chief of Staff of the local administration, the Museum of the Romanovs is scheduled to open in 2013 when Russia marks the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.

Tsar Nicholas II and his children sitting on the roof of the former Governors
Mansion in Tobolsk were held in captivity from August 1917 to April 1918

The museum will be established in the former Governorís Mansion, the same building where Nicholas II and his family were held in captivity from August 1917 to April 1918. Originally, the Imperial family were lodged on the second floor, while the dining room, and rooms for servants were situated on the first floor. Others that followed the tsar and his family into exile were lodged in a house across the street. In the beginning, members of the Romanov family were only permitted to leave the house to attend services in a nearby church. Later, they were forbidden to leave the house, their life in Tobolsk became isolated, but remained quite calm for the most part. They spent their days walking in the yard, where the tsar would also chop and cut firewood, and play games with his children. During the evenings they played various games, staged small plays, and read books which they had brought with them. After the October Revolution the life of the royal family became much harder.

At present, only one small memorial room is open to the public; the rest of the building is comprised of the offices of the district administration. Olenberg said that their offices will be relocated and the building will be handed over to the museum planning commission.

The Tobolsk Tourism Committee said that they have already held discussions with descendants of the Romanov family, who have agreed to assist the museum with the planning of both permanent and temporary exhibitions.

The design for the proposed memorial pavilion in the Alexander Garden
which was rejected by the local planning commission

Plans to build a memorial pavilion to Nicholas II in the nearby Alexander Garden, however, were unanimously rejected as the commission felt that the modern-style of the pavilion did not correspond with the surrounding historical buildings which date back to the 19th century. Despite this, planners have agreed to revise the design and resubmit them to the commission at a later date.

by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia
21 January, 2011


The Tobolsk Diary of Nicholas II
A 3-part documentary in Russian