Welcome to the Children's Rooms
of the Alexander Palace

by Paul Gilbert

Photo © Тарас Ясинко. Pushkin.ru

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Photo © Тарас Ясинко. Pushkin.ru

International Children's Day was celebrated at the Alexander Palace on 1 June with the opening of a unique exhibition dedicated to the Imperial children during the reigns of Emperor Nicholas I to the last emperor, Nicholas II. For the first time in over 80 years, visitors have an opportunity to get acquainted with the rooms where the children of Nicholas II, lived up until 1917.

In the Children's Rooms of the Alexander Palace includes items from the collections of the Tsarskoe Selo State-Museum Preserve, the Art and Pedagoical Toy Museum (Sergiev Posad), the Obraztsov Puppet Theatre and the Ostankino Museum-Estate (Moscow).

The exhibition at the former residence of the Russian Imperial family at Tsarskoe Selo, which focuses on the life of the Imperial children from the 19th to the early 20th centuries, makes it possible to feel the atmosphere that surrounded the most August offspring. Since the entire Alexander Palace is now in the hands of the Tsarskoye Selo Palace-Museum Preserve, organizers felt that that best place to host this unique exhibition would be the former private room’s of the children of Nicholas II, which are located on the second floor of the palace.

On display are more than 200 items, including paintings and graphic portraits, various articles of clothing (including dresses of the grand duchesses and uniforms of the young grand dukes and tsarevich), books, porcelain, toys, photographs and furniture that belonged to the children of the imperial family.

The exhibition consists of several sections. The first of them, The Alexander Palace - the Romanov Family Nest, focuses on places in and around Tsarskoye Selo, as well as St. Petersburg associated with the childhood of the young grand dukes and duchesses. This include buildings and pavilions in the Alexander Park and the interiors of the Alexander Palace. You can also see portraits of family members of Nicholas I, uniforms and dresses of his children, toys, a set of furniture from the rooms of Grand Duke and Tsarevich Alexander Nikolayevich (future Alexander II), his brothers and sisters - all of which come from the collections of the Ostankino Museum-Estate in Moscow.

The next section, The August Family of Nicholas II is dedicated to the children of the last Russian emperor and their lives in the Alexander Palace. Included are portraits of the imperial family, the Tsarevich Alexei, and the grand duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. Other items include the vestments, ceremonial dress and the patronage of the grand duchesses, uniforms of the tsarevich, and a blanket, which was a gift from the French government for the birth of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna.

The next section introduces rare views of the children's rooms in the Alexander Palace as they looked in the early 20th century, including unique watercolours painted by N. Yar-Kravchenko and Yu Neprintsev, as well as photographs of the rooms with all their original furnishings. This particular display was originally established in 1930, shortly before the rooms on the second floor of the Alexander Palace were permanently closed to the public.

Exhibition organizers have managed to bring together many unique items, that for one reason or another were scattered across Russia after the Second World War, and to this day, remain in the possession of other museums and archives. For instance, many of the original toys once belonging to the children of Nicholas II, are now part of the collections of the Pedagoical Toy Museum of Sergiev Posad, and the family puppet theater, from the Obraztsov Puppet Theatre in Moscow.

Particular emphasis is placed on the story of the upbringing and education of the imperial children, which included classes and walks in the surrounding park. Items on display in this part of the exhibition include books, music, school supplies, photos, strollers, sleds and even a harness for a donkey that once belonged to the Tsarevich Alexei.

The final part of the exhibition is devoted to the final years of the imperial family at Tsarskoe Selo. Here, visitors learn about the final years in the life of the imperial children during World War I, as well as after the abdication of the emperor from the throne and during their house arrest in the Alexander Palace. The exhibition tells about the dedication of the empress and her eldest daughters as the Sisters of Charity in a military hospital, which was located in the Fedorovskoye town, nearby. This part of the exhibition exemplifies the courage of the family members, who maintained their faith and love for one another, both of which would sustain them as they endured the harsh living conditions at the time of captivity in their private residence.

At the end of the exhibition, young visitors are invited to sit, relax and draw their thoughts and impressions of the exhibition and their former Imperial residents with brushes, paints and paper supplied by the museum.

One other interesting part of the exhibition is a small room, turned into a mini-cinema, where the heavy, thick black curtains hiding the projector, transmit a series of documentaries showing moments in the life of the family of Nicholas II during happier times.

The main objective of the exhibition is to draw attention to one of the most important aspects in the history of the Alexander Palace as a residence of the Imperial children at Tsarskoe Selo, a story about their childhood years, the upbringing and education of the royal personages who loved Tsarskoe Selo. However, the exhibitions' aims are not only educational, but also quite practical purposes, in the first step toward "returning to life" the unique historical and artistic complex of rooms of the children's half of the Alexander Palace.

The exhibition opened to the general public on June 2, and will run until September 11, 2011.

Photo © Тарас Ясинко. Pushkin.ru

Photo © Тарас Ясинко. Pushkin.ru

Photo © Тарас Ясинко. Pushkin.ru

Photo © Тарас Ясинко. Pushkin.ru

Source: Pushkin.ru, Конкретно.ru, Игрушки.Сегмент.Ру
Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia
9 June, 2011


Exhibition Opens In the Children's Rooms of the Alexander Palace + VIDEO
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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.