Exhibition Opens In the Children's Rooms
of the Alexander Palace

Source: Телекомпания НТВ. Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 51 seconds

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Photo © Государственный музей-заповедник Царское Cело

Nearly one hundred years have passed since the children of the last Russian Tsar left the Alexander Palace for the last time in 1917. Today, however, their memory is kept alive through a unique exhibition: In the Children's Rooms of the Alexander Palace.

The exhibition, which opened on June 2, 2011 is set out in the former rooms of the last tsar’s children on the second floor of the Alexander Palace. This exhibition tells about the life of the children of Russian emperors who lived at Tsarskoye Selo, from the reigns of Nicholas I to Nicholas II.

On display are over 200 items, including toys, dolls, puppets, and other personal items, many of them unique and displayed for the first time. Of particular interest are the authentic toys of the last tsar’s children, including the grand duchesses’ favourite French porcelain doll and the Heir Tsesarevich Alexei’s “American Indian” wigwam and canoe.

The Alexander Palace was a beloved home for several generations of Russian imperial families. Although the New (later Alexander) Palace was constructed on the orders of Catherine II for her grandson, Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich, the future Emperor Alexander I preferred to live at the nearby Catherine Palace. From the late 1810s, the Alexander Palace was owned by Alexander’s brother, Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich (later Emperor Nicholas I), whose family stayed here during the summer months and whose grandchildren and great grandchildren resided here later.

Laid down by Catherine II, the principles of upbringing, education and recreation for imperial children remained unchanged until the early 1900s. Catherine relied on the ideas of 18th-century Enlightenment philosophers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The children would have meals only at certain hours and they would never be muffled up, their rooms always being full of light and fresh air. Several generations of the imperial children did garden work and learned different handicrafts. Carefully selected tutors and teachers brought them up as the future emperors, military statesmen and fiancées for European royal and ducal houses. They had to learn court etiquette from early childhood, for their whole life, from the first day to the last, followed the strict traditions of the imperial court. Everything was of state importance: births, christenings, birthdays, name days, church and state events in which children took part. From their earliest years, the grand dukes were trained for military service.

Starting from Paul I, Russian imperial families had many children. Paul I and Maria Fiodorovna had ten, Nicholas I and Alexandra Fiodorovna seven, Alexander II and Maria Alexandrovna eight, Alexander III and Maria Fiodorovna six, while the family of the last Russian tsar had five children. The only exception were Alexander I and Elizabeth Fiodorovna, who lost their two daughters at infancy.

According to their contemporaries, the families of Russian emperors were large and close, with a simple and open-hearted atmosphere where love and care for children and respect for parents ruled. Away from state affairs, cheerful and good-natured next to their wives and kids, the emperors would gladly join their children in study and play.

The exhibition In the Children’s Rooms of the Alexander Palace tells about the life of imperial children at the Tsarskoye Selo summer residence in the 19th to the early 20th centuries.

On display are the objects from the collections of the Tsarskoye Selo State-Museum Preserve, the Art and Pedagogical Toy Museum (Sergiyev Posad), the Ostankino Museum-Estate and the Obraztsov Puppet Theater Museum (Moscow).

The exhibition is set out in the rooms where the children of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra lived between 1895–1917. This is the first time that visitors to the Alexander Palace will have access not only to the former children's rooms, but also to the second floor of the palace.

The exhibition runs from June 2 to September 11, 2011 at the Alexander Palace (2nd floor), 10.00-17.00 daily except Tuesdays and the last Wednesday of each month. An exhibition catalogue (in Russian) is available.

Photo © Государственный музей-заповедник Царское Cело

Photo © Государственный музей-заповедник Царское Cело

Photo © Государственный музей-заповедник Царское Cело

Photo © Государственный музей-заповедник Царское Cело

Source and Copyright: Государственный музей-заповедник Царское Cело
Edited by Paul Gilbert
3 June, 2011


Welcome to the Children's Rooms of the Alexander Palace
An article, video and photos of the exhbition in the children's rooms of the Alexander Palace.

Exhibition in the Children's Rooms of the Alexander Palace
An article on our blog annoucing the exhbition in the children's rooms of the Alexander Palace.