Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 09:24:12
23 September 2018

  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Jan/Feb 2018
Page 46   ( 2 pages)

Summary: In which we tour four museums in four cities and towns in Russia and Ukraine, to see what they tell us about soceity more broadly.


As a species, we are hunter-gatherers. Since at least the beginning of recorded time we have sought and collected talismans and artifacts from previous generations and parallel cultures, in order to connect with other members of the human race across space and time, in order to curate stories about ourselves.

Connections and stories, after all, are what define us, and museums are the places where we gather our visual aids. So when three authors came to Russian Life about the same time last year, wanting to share the story of different museums – two in Russia and two in Ukraine, we decided we would see what happened if we pulled them all together in a single issue. And, not knowing what to expect, we had no way of anticipating where their stories would take us.

To be clear: these are not the big, state-run museums tourists normally visit in the two Russian capitals. In fact, all of them are decidedly small, and singularly-focused. But that does not make them any less significant or important.

There are thousands of such small museums all across Russia and the former USSR. And what many of them share (other than their diminutive size) is that they were started, and are now curated and maintained, by passionate local enthusiasts.

The focus of their passions is wildly diverse, and so the stories they tell take us to unexpected places, from a famous ballet master to a famous dam, from the Thaw to the sea.

To read more, follow the "Purchase Back Issue" link from the full story listing for this issue.