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Reborn from the Ashes


The exhibition Subject To Restoration: Palaces of Tsarskoe Selo, Reborn from the Ashes, which was virtually launched by Tsarskoe Selo and St Petersburg’s museum and exhibition centre “Russia, My History” at the latter’s website earlier in May, is now available for visiting offline at 32 Bassaynaya Street till 6 October 2020 (free admission).

The joint project commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-45. It is one in a series of the centre’s projects for preservation of national historical memory during the 2020 Year of Memory and Glory in Russia.

‘Going online with this project was our response to the challenges we all had to face during the pandemic’, says Director Olga V. Taratynova of Tsarskoe Selo. ‘We are glad the online version has been already visited by over ten thousand people. With a more stable situation now, we open the exhibition in a traditional and familiar format. Although helpful and advantageous, the online version can’t bring you the magic of a genuine object. Most importantly, we have a chance to once again remember those who saved and revived the priceless palace and parks of Tsarskoe Selo.”

The exhibition consists of several sections tracing the milestones of the Museum’s history from the prewar time to the present day. The heroic evacuation of the artifacts in 1941 and the unprecedented postwar restoration are specially accentuated. Documents, photographs, wartime newsreel frames, Autochromes, paintings and pieces of decorative and applied art, as well as explications and extended annotations, help illustrate the dramatic narrative.

Visitors will see the objects that are usually stored in the reserve collection and never put on our permanent displays.

The exhibits include a chair from the Chinese Hall of the Catherine Palace, one of a lacquered set of 47 export-designed chairs made in Guangzhou in the 1770s. Only ten pieces were saved by evacuation and one was found among the ruins of Koenigberg’s Royal Castle in 1946.

Also notable is the journal of Senior Efreitor Kurt Büttner, presented to the Museum by his son Reinhold in 2000. Kurt participated in the Leningrad offence and the Pushkin town occupation in 1941.

Particularly noteworthy are the surviving fragments of the original Amber Room, the authentic pieces of carved amber from its middle- and lower-tier panels.