Kubel E.L. Dynamics of the Exhibition Activities of the Ethnographic Department of The State Russian Museum in the Second Half of the 1920s (the Case of Exhibitions of the Central Asian Branch)

Elena L. Kubel
The Russian Museum of Ethnography
Saint Petersburg, Russia
E-mail: elenakubel@yandex.ru


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ABSTRACT. The new opening of the Ethnographic Department of the Russian Museum took place in 1923. The first exposition of 1916 was restored in general terms. This exposition was built in accordance with the principles developed by prominent ethnographers of the time which were articulated in the Ethnographic Department Program of the Russian Museum, adopted during the foundation of the Department. In 1919, the Ethnographic Department Council approved the “Formula of the Ethnographic Department Program”, which basically reproduced the earlier “Program”. In the mid-1920s in the USSR the new principles of the national policy were being developed. The Ethnographic Department leadership well understood the need for changes in the expositional activity and saturating it with new meanings, but the means of achieving this goal were not clear. Particularly difficult was the theme of the “reflection of modernity”, working on which the ethnographic museum faced a task that was difficult to fulfill with the usual museum language. The idea of ethnographic modernity, proposed by Russian ethnographers, came into conflict with the ideas of the new government, which governed cultural institutions. In addition, the visitor of the museum changed in many ways (social, educational) and had their own idea of the present and how the museum should display it. Visitors expected to see a beautiful picture of the new bright life that they were promised. The museum needed time to restructure, to find new means of expression and a new language that could be used to talk to a visitor. A new stage of museum construction began in the Ethnographic Department / State Museum of Ethnography in 1932–1935 with the advent of multi-figured “state-of-the-art scenes” with picturesque backdrops.


KEYWORDS: Ethnographic Department of the Russian Museum, Central Asian branch of the Ethnographic Department of the Russian Museum, exposition of Ethnographic Department in 1923, “Ethnographic Department Program Formula” of 1919, А. А. Miller, A. N. Samoylovich, history, exposition


УДК 069.5:39
DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2019-3(5)-59-66



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