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MUSEUMS OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, CULTURE IN MOSCOW

The Moscow Archaeological Museum (the Museum, for short) was opened in 1997. It is situated in the city centre, in a pavilion, 7 metres (23 feet) underground, directly at the spot of the large-scale archaeological research performed in Manezhnaya Square in 1993 to 1997. The exposition of the Museum is based on the piers of the 16th 17th century Voskresensky Bridge discovered during the excavation; in the past, the bridge used to connect the two banks of the Neglinnaya River.

 
The excavation (as preservation works) was organized by the Moscow Centre for Archaeological Research (the Centre, for short). In occupation layers (68 metres (1926 feet) deep) toys, stove tiles, copper and silver coins, arms, and various household objects were discovered. The archaeologists managed to lay bare foundations of the stone buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries and to discover cobbled and wooden streets, well chambers, and other structures. This allowed reconstructing designs and buildings of the ancient Zaneglimeniye, a district on the right bank of the Neglinnaya River; to discover traces of the handicraft industry; to reconstruct the life of the people who inhabited this district of Medieval Moscow.

 
Coordinated efforts of archaeologists of the Centre, of architects-restorers of the workshop no. 11 of the Mosproekt-2 Institute, and of employees of the Moscow City Museum led to establishment of the first Russian underground archaeological museum at the spot of the preserved piers of the Voskresensky Bridge.

 
The Voskresensky Bridge across the Neglinnaya River is one of the largest structures discovered by the archaeologists. Originally, there was a wooden ferry there; it used to start the Tverskaya Road leading to the Russian North-West.

 
During the reign of Boris Godunov, a stone bridge across the Neglinnaya River was erected; it was the first stone bridge in Moscow. A depiction of the bridge on the 17th century Moscow maps is still preserved. In 1740, instead of the dilapidated bridge a white-stone bridge was built by the architect P. Geiden. The bridge, above 100 metres (328 feet) long and around 30 metres (100 feet) wide, had five arches; however, only one of them was a flow-through arch the rightmost one, looking at the bridge from the gallery of the Museum. The good state of the structure is explained by the fact that in 18171819, when Moscow was being rebuilt after a fire, the Neglinnaya River was confined to an underground tunnel and the Voskresensky Bridge was buried. The exposition of the Museum features a model of the early 19th century Voskresensky Bridge.

The Museum Moscow House of Photography was founded in 1996. It is the first Russian state museum specializing in the sphere of photographic art. In 2003 the museum Moscow House of photography, working since 1996, was reformed into Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (MAMM). The new museum implements projects with using the most up-to-date art-technologies (media installation, media performance, video art, net-art etc.). One of the key principles of MAMM is to be open for new forms of visual expression and to look for fresh innovative trends in Russian and international photography and contemporary art.

 

The reconstructed museum building on Ostozhenka street has spacious exhibition halls, unique state-of-the-art light system and minimalistic architecture. As soon as you enter MAMM you understand you are in the museum of the new century. Plus to exhibitions the museum constantly realizes special educational and entertaining events such as master classes, workshops, guided tours, lectures, film previews, meetings with artists and curators, parties.

 

MAMM goes on with its traditional annual and biannual festivals and contests: Photobiennale, Fashion and Style in Photography, Silver Camera.

The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics was ceremonially opened on the 10th of April, 1981 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin. The Museum occupies the base of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space, one of the most famous Moscow monuments.  The Museum was conceived by the Russian Chief Space Rocket Systems Designer Sergey Korolyov. Being a designer of rockets and space vehicles, S. Korolyov was well aware of their role in the development of the world science and technology and attended to the task of preserving science and technology inheritance.

 
Visitors may witness the blazing history of the Russian cosmonautics come to life. That history is full of drama and bitter disappointments, triumphant victories and pride for the human mind. Anyone visiting the Museum feels like the Man of the Space Age; this feeling is caused by the unique artistic decorations of the exhibitions and interiors of the Museum made by the author and art director of the project O. Lomako.

 
At a short distance from the Museum, at the beginning of 1st Ostankinskaya Street, the Memorial House of Academician S. Korolyov is situated. The exhibitions of the House are dedicated to the life and work of the Russian ingenious scientist, the founder of the practical cosmonautics who led the humanity into the Space.

 
The Museum possesses rich holdings that amount to over 75.000 items. Among the items, you may find space machinery samples, rare documents, video and photographic materials, works of fine and applied arts, numismatics and philately items. The library of the Museum possesses rare editions on space-related subjects.

 
The collections of the Museum are extensively hosted by different exhibits in Russia as well as in other countries. The exhibitions of the Museum have been shown in over 40 cities of the world including Melbourne, Tel-Aviv, Mainz, Minneapolis, Lyon, Liverpool, Boston, Seattle, Stockholm, Berlin, etc.

 
The Museum organizes thematic evenings and meetings with space machinery creators and cosmonauts. The Museum is greatly popular; thousands of people are brought here by their interest in cosmic deeds, and it may well be that for some visitors the acquaintance with the Museum will be the first step along the wonderful and challenging road towards the Space.

The Paleontological Museum of the Paleontological Institute is one of the largest specialized museum of paleontology. Its history goes back to the "Kunstkamer" founded by Peter the Great in 1716, to house his collection of mammalian bones and teeth from the Ice age together with some other material on natural history. Modern museum building was build for Paleontological Museum by head of architect Yuri Platonov.

 

One of the interesting peculiarities of the Museum is the combination of the display of natural materials with artisticmonumental decoration, showing the evolution of life on the Earth.

 

The Paleontological Museum includes 6 halls and the expositions area is 4200 sq.m. The exhibits show the developmental history of organic world on the Earth.

 

Most of collections are unique, containing fossil fauna and flora of passed geologocal epochs from many regions of Russia, Mongolia, China and some other countries.

 

One of the most interesting exhibits was the so-called North Dvina Gallery, which showed a series of skeletons on the bank of the River Malaya Severnaya Dvina in Arkhangelsk Province at the beginning of the century.

The Polytechnic Museum, founded in 1872, is a national museum of history of science and technology, one of the world's oldest and largest museums of its kind. Today the Polytechnic Museum goes beyond collecting and preserving the unique achievements of the human mind, embodied in devices and objects; now it contributes to communication of various fields of science-from astronomy to genetics. The principal aim of the Museum's team is to draw the audience's interest to knowledge and achievements of the human mind, inspire the students and support the graduates.

 

Since 2013 the historical building of the Polytechnic Museum is closed for renovation. In April, 2014 the Polytechnic Museum opened the exhibition Rossiya Delaet Sama at the VDNKh Pavilion No. 26, that is dedicated to the progress of Russian science. The new exhibition shall become the key, yet not the only venue of the Museum for the period of the historical building's renovation, that is to last till 2017.

 

The Technopolis Moscow hosts the Museum fonds and the Polytechnic Library, while the Lectorium and the Science Labs for children are open at the ZIL Culture Centre.

State Darwin Museum was founded in October the 7th, 1907 by a young zoologist Coates, and it is still the only museum devoted to the evolution of the living world. A new museum building opened in the year 1995, after almost twenty years of construction.

 

Today Darwin Museum is the largest museum of natural science in Europe. The exhibition tells about the history of development of the theory of evolution, diversity of life on Earth, about climate variability and heredity, natural selection and the struggle for existence in nature. Unique part of the fund are collection of albinos and melanistic, collection of sharks' teeth which are extinct and included in rare books, a collection of animal art. Computers are installed in halls of the museum connected to the Internet which provide detailed information not only about the museum, but also regarding many other major museums of natural science in Russia.

 

Unique "Training guides and guidebooks" give visitors an opportunity to explore any section of the exhibition. There is a light, music and video exhibition "Living Planet" in the media center "Eco-Moscow", which has cinema and 3D-cinema.

Hall of Federal Service of Security of Russia (former name - the Chekist Hall of KGB of the USSR) was opened in the famous Lubyanka building in September.

 

The museum now can be considered to be one of the most attractive places to visit in Moscow equal to such places of interest as Kremlin and Tretyakov Gallery. Until now western tourists could not even imagine the possibility of being present at the KGB headquarters as an honoured guest. Visiting the museum is a great opportunity to learn the mysterious legends, to see the particular items which are related to different periods in history of the Russian Secret Service. The museum finally reveals the true story of many legendary Russian spies. It discloses fascinating data about espionage conducted in the former Soviet Union by western countries and it exhibits intricate pieces of equipment used by the spies.

 

The museum consists of 4 halls with more than 2 thousand exhibits. There you can see documents of the times of Peter the Great, Catherine II, the wars of 1812 and 1914, arms and equipment of the spy groups that were running errands on the territory of the Soviet Union after the World War II., satellite and other radio stations, mini cameras in the form of a lighter, watch, crayons and key tokens, explosive plaster casts in the shape of cans, cigarette packs etc.

The State Museum of Applied and Folk Arts was opened on the 21st of July, 1981. This is the only Russian museum devoted to the history and current state of native decorative applied and folk arts, the large scientific centre that collects, studies and makes arts of the multinational county popular.

 
The Museum is situated in the most beautiful building complex of the old city estate in the Moscow centre that is a landmark and historical site of the 18th to 20th centuries. In August 1999, the Government of the Russian Federation decreed to give the Museum all art, library and archive resources of the Scientific and Research Institute of Art Knowledge. These resources became a base to establish the Museum of Folk Arts named after Sergey Morozov in Leontiyevsky Lane. Morozov was a famous Russian manufacturer, art patron of the end of the 19th century, and founder of the Handicraft Museum situated there before.

 
Since the second quarter of the 17th century, the countrys mansion was owned by the Streshnevs, the boyar family. Count Ivan Andreyevich Osterman inherited the estate in 1783. In the end of the 18th century, the main estate building was reconstructed upon a project of a nameless architect, who evidently was an associate of M. F. Kazakov, and took the form close to the modern one. In 1796, Brothers Ivan Andreyevich and Fyodor Andreyevich Ostermans conferred their title and surname to their grandnephew Alexander Ivanovich Tolstoy, a hero of the Patriotic War of 1812 and foreign campaigns of the Russian Army. The estate of A. I. Osterman-Tolstoy was burned in the fire of 1812 and had not been reconstructed for a long time. It was then sold to the Most Holy Synod in 1834 to establish Moscow School of Theology there. In early 1840s, the building was reconstructed and enlarged upon a project of A. F. Shchedrin. And in 1885, architect P. E. Bayeva added a two-storied building to the right gallery.

 
In 1918, the estate was nationalized and given under control of All-Russian Central Executive Committee. After the Great Patriotic War, the Presidium of Supreme Soviet and Council of Ministers of the RSFSR was placed in the mansion. In early 1950s, a new three-storied building upon a project of V. G. Helffreich and Kabanov was added to the school hostel.

 
In 1981, the estate was given to the All-Russian Museum of Applied and Folk Arts opened for public on the 21st of July.

The museum houses a unique collection including rare Buddhist sculpture, jewellery and textiles, wood and bone carvings and antique weaponry.

 

Although the collection is small and somewhat amateurish in comparison with equivalents in London and Paris, the museum covers the cultures of the whole of Asia, displaying paintings, sculpture and handicrafts form all across the continent, including the Middle and Far East, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the indigenous tribes of Siberia and Eastern Russia.

 

A special section of the museum is devoted to the life and works of the renowned thinker, poet and artist Nikolai Rerich (1874-1947) and his son Sviatoslav. Rerich, who left his native land in 1917 already well-established as a talented painter drawing heavily on the religious and cultural traditions of old Russia and the East, traveled the world with his wife and family, particularly Asia, promoting his own fascinatingly crazy mixture of pantheism, Eastern mysticism and European high culture, which to this day has thousands of followers in Russia and throughout the world. He spent the last decade of his life in a remote village in the Indian Himalayas, and many of the impressive landscapes on display here date from that period. His vibrant and mysterious paintings alone are well worth the admission price.

Although it's a little out of the way in the north of the city, Moscow's Museum of the Armed Forces is perennially popular with war buffs for its vast collection of military memorabilia, with pride of place going, unsurprisingly, to exhaustive displays about the Soviet Union's part in the Second World War. It also has plenty to appeal to children, particularly the clutter of military hardware parked around the outside of the building, including tanks, MIGs and ballistic missiles.

 

The museum, which was established soon after the Revolution, and moved to its current location in the sixties, focuses on the 20th Century, and there is still some residual ideologizing from the days when the museum acted as little more than a propaganda machine for Soviet might. However, efforts have been made to give a revised version of the history, including a sympathetic display about the White Army that concentrates on the hardships rather than the triumphs of the Civil War. As can only be expected, the more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Chechnya are treated with somewhat less objectivity.

 

Pride of place in the collection goes to the victory banner raised over the Berlin Reichstag in 1945, which is kept here alongside the swathes of captured Nazi standards that were trampled on Red Square during victory celebrations. Other displays of note include the remains of US pilot Gary Powers' U-2 spy plane, brought down over the Urals in 1960, and a section of tattooed skin taken from a prisoner in the Maidenjak concentration camp. There are also vast quantities of Soviet propaganda material, the personal effects of a number of famous revolutionaries, and extensive photographic archives covering all the conflicts of the 20th Century.

 

By turns stirring and harrowing, the museum is a little schizophrenic in its attitude to war, but the displays have been created with imagination and skill, and there is plenty to see here not just for military historians or blood-thirsty kids.

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