There are lots of things in common between all the countries in the world, and one of them is the energy they willing to spend to maintain and save the history, culture, treasures, and origin of their country, especially countries with a rich history, or with a lot of ups and downs. Those countries don’t want to witness parts of their culture and history disappear throughout time because of the changes that happened throughout their history. Russia is not an exception in these situations, they’ve maintained their culture and history, even during the dark days of their time.
There’s only one thing you can do to save your history and culture, and that’s education. If you don’t educate your people about their past and history, they would forget it in no time. Besides the books, one of the other effective things that governments can do to educate their people about their past and history is to establish as many historical museums as possible. One of the most famous historical museums in Russia is the State Historical Museum in Moscow. This museum is the oldest museum founded in Moscow and locates at the heart of the city in Red Square. If you enter Red Square from the Resurrection Gate, the museum would be at your right side.
The building that house the State Historical Museum today was built on the former Moscow’s central medicine store which was established by Peter the Great himself. This store had several rooms and because of that, it housed the Moscow University which was organized by Mikhail Lomonosov in 1755 as well.
Peter the Great was fascinated by the Western culture, and after he got the crown, he mixed some of the western cultures with their own. Though, from the beginning of this blending, there were some intellectual movements formed against it, such as Slavophilia. The high levels of the Slavophilia movement including Uvarov and Zabelin had opposed the blending, they were afraid that people of Russia forget their origin and because of those reasons, they were huge supporters of establishing the Imperial Historical Museum in Moscow.
The museum's administrators held a competition to choose the designer of the museum which Vladimir Sherwood won that, and started the construction in 1875. Though Sherwood was Russian, his surname came from his father who was an Englishman. He designed the new building following the Neu-Russian architecture both on the exterior and interior of the museum.
The National Historical Museum started its work in 1881. Alexander III visited the museum on his coronation day and from that day, the museum name changed to Alexander III’s Imperial Historical Museum. Following the Revolution in 1917, the museum name changed once again to the State National Historical Museum. During the Soviet era, managers didn’t maintain the museum very well, and most of its interior damaged severely. Those damages were renovated during a period of grave restorations from 1986 to 1997.
The museum which got amazing support from high-class, nobles, imperial family, businessmen, artists, military, industry, and common people always added more items and exhibits to its collections throughout time. Beside the permanent exhibitions and the museum's collection, there were loads of temporary exhibits sent to this museum from all over Russia.
This museum has one of the most completed collections of Russian history thanks to the excellent support from its patrons. The museum collection includes the funds from the ancient sites, woods and furniture, valuable metals, Russian old paintings, visual arts, ceramics art, glasses art, metal, weapons, coins, rare books, handwriting, manuscripts, fabrics, costumes, and Vladimir Lenin museum's funds.
There are many striking exhibits in the museum’s collection such as one boat unearthed from the Volga River, parchments of Novgorod, Scythians’ golds, Russian folklore ceramics artworks, some manuscripts from the sixth century, and a collection of 1.7 million coins.
The two-story museum’s halls separated by the different eras which help visitors to witness the development and history of old and modern Russia in the right order. Several permanent and temporary exhibitions held in the museum including the Aristocratic portraits, which is about the portraits of Russia Imperial family and their close relatives. There’s also the Catherine the Great, Road to the Crown exhibition, which includes the valuables and belongings of Catherine II before and after she became the Empress of Russia. One of the favorites exhibitions of the museum is the Gold gallery which includes the golds, medals, coins, and jewelry from different eras of Russian history.
The museum is one of the main attraction of Red Square alongside the Kremlin, St. Basil Cathedral, and the Gum Store which all together or individually bring loads of tourists to Red Square every day. Since the square locates at the heart of Moscow, and several Moscow’s most attractive places are in this location, it includes in almost each Russia tour and Travels to Moscow programs. However, if you want to go inside each one of these attractions and discover the history behind each one of them, you might need to fix the program with your Moscow tour administration beforehand. So if you want to check these places out individually in your travel to Russia, put aside some time and energy for Red Square alone, since there are quite lots of places to visit while you are there.