Museums in the Vologda Region
Art, ethnography and literature museums, museums of local lore and history, exhibition halls and theatres of the Vologda Oblast represent the national culture, folk trade and history of its inhabitants. The Vologda Oblast has 27 museums that house collections of works of art, collections of architectural monuments, memorial displays and examples of wooden architecture. There are preserved churches, manor houses, country mansions of various architectonic styles. Many museums are situated in the oldest and most significant historical monuments.
The variety of museums in the Vologda Oblast caters for people with a wide range of interests. Visitors tour the oblast's many museums, which together house a large collection of items from Russia's past. Numerous architectural monuments reflect the history of the region, most of them were turned into museums.
The Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery (Museum) with its 11 beautiful churches is the largest monastrery in Russia. The museum was founded in 1924. Many foreign tourists visit it every year. The Monastery was founded in the 14th century and soon became a great cultural and religious centre in Russia's North. It is famous for its rich collection of icons, church books, utensils, weapon and armour.
The museum of Dionisy's Frescoes in Ferapontovo is famous all over the world. It is inscribed in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
The Vologda State Museum-Preserve is the most comprehensive and significant exhibition of Russian art including more than 400,000 artworks from the 13th century to the present.
It was founded in 1885. The museum is situated in the centre of the city on the territory of the Vologda Kremlin. There are several branches of the museum. They are the House of Peter the Great , Batyushkov Memorial Flat, the Memorial estate of A.Mozhaisky (the village of Mozhaiskoe), the Museum of Architecture and Ethnography (the village of Semenkovo), Museum «Literature. Art. XX century», an exhibition called «Exile in Vologda» (devoted to the renowned Russian statesmen, researchers and cultural figures that went against the policies of the leading party and were exiled to Vologda) and a lace museum.
First-ever Russian Lace Museum started its work in Vologda in 2010 in a two-storeyed building situated along the embankment of the Vologda River, right in the heart of Vologda. Put together throughout several years, the museum features needle and bobbin lace from the 17th century onward, of Austrian, French, German, Polish and Belgian origin, costumes and accessories of the same eras, photos and other materials covering the history of lace. It includes more than 700 laceworks. The Lace Museum also provides on-going lace making classes with experienced instructors.
Founded in 1954 the Vologda Picture Gallery is one of the best galleries in the North-West of Russia. In the spacious halls of the Gallery one can see Old-Russian painting, West European painting, Russian painting from the 18-20th centuries, Russian graphic art dating back to the 19-20th centuries and the works of modern Vologda artists. All in all it includes 30,000 exhibits.
One of the largest museums of Russia's North is situated in Cherepovets. It displays about 200,000 exhibits. The artworks of it were exhibited in Japan, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and the Vatican. The Museum has a large collection of church books, manuscripts and icons. The Cherepovets Museum is famous for its great collection of porcelain produced by the imperial porcelain works, and glass items dating back to the epoch of Catherine II and Paul I. The Cherepovets Art Museum has a large collection of paintings of such famous artists as Rokotov, Levitsky, Borovikovsky, Repin, Makovsky, Makarov, Kustodiev, Kandinsky, Vereshchagin, etc. The city boasts a Memorial Museum of Vasili Vereshchagin, the great battle-painter. The Cherepovets Archaeological Museum with its exhibits dating from the mesolite period is also worth visiting.
The town of Veliky Ustyug is a sort of an open-air museum. The city is noted for its architectural monuments and works of art. The unique cathedrals, churches and monasteries of Veliky Ustyug attract many tourists. Veliky Ustyug boasts 26 architectural monuments – the Church of the Assumption (17th-18th centuries), Procopious Cathedral (17th century), Mikhailo-Arkhangelsky Monastery (17th century), Gleden Monastery of the Trinity (18th century), Church of the Ascension (17th century), Church of St. Demetrius of Salonae (18th century) and others.
Veliky Ustyug has always been a centre for handicrafts. Even in the heathen times it achieved renown of a town of skilled craftsmen. No account of the artistic development of the town would be complete without mentioning decorative, applied and fine arts. The northern niello is one of the most unique handicrafts which has gained the world fame. The Veliky Ustyug Museum stands out for its rich collections of niello, decorations, kitchen utensils and hand-made goods made of birch bark.
Belozersk, the oldest city in the Russian North (it was first mentioned in a chronicle of 862), boasts over 50 monuments of history and culture – earthen rampants, churches and a number of dwelling houses.
The architectural ensemble of the Belozersk museum of local lore comprises monuments of Russian church architecture – the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of our Lord (17th century), a wooden church of the Prophet Elijah (17th century), Church of Peter and Paul (18th century), Cathedral of the Saviour, the Kremlin in the form of an earthen rampant (15th century) and a three-span bridge across the Kremlin moat (19th century). The Belozersk museum has natural-science, historical, and art exhibition halls.
Tot'ma museum association was established in 1991 and includes the Museum of Local Lore, Kuskov Memorial Flat, Museum of the Russian Church Antiques, Museum of Russian Seafaring, Open Storage of Funds, Rubtsov Memorial Museum and Museum – Exhibition Center «Na Bolshoy Sadovoy» and Center of interactive programs «Moroshka».
The history of the Vologda Oblast is also the story of many exceptional men and women. Such museums as a museum of poet Nikolai Klyuev (Vytegra), a unique museum ship – B-440 (Vytegra), the Batyushkov and Kuprin Memorial Flat in the Danilovskoye estate (Ustyuzhna District), and a museum devoted to Alexander Yashin, the renowned Russian poet (Nikolsk) are also worth mentioning. On display there are documents, personal belongings and other exhibits of the renowned residents of the region. Numerous visitors flock to these museums from different parts of Russia and abroad.
In January 2010 the Bryanchaninovs' country estate, a place of interest historically and culturally was restored in the village of Pokrovskoye (Gryazovets District). Holy Hierarch St. Ignaty Bryanchaninov was born into the Bryanchaninov family, a family of long-standing nobility on February 5, 1807 in the village of Pokrovskoye. Historical and archival documents, pictures of the settlement of Pokrovskoye and photos of Holy Hierarch St. Ignaty and other representatives of the noble family are on display there. The Bryanchaninovs' country estate attracts the ever-increasing number of Orthodox pilgrims and tourists from all parts of Russia.