Golovnev A. V. New Old Kunstkamera: Towards Reconstruction and Renovation

ANDREI V. GOLOVNEV — Prof., Member of RAS, Director, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Saint Petersburg, Russia) 
E-mail: andrei_golovnev@bk.ru

 

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ABSTRACT.  Three motives intersect in the article: the museum universals from ancient times to the present, recent establishment of the Alliance of Early Universal Museums and the scheduled redisplay of the oldest Russian museum, the Kunstkamera (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences). The sections of the article are titled accordingly: “Universality of Museality”, “Experience of the Kunstkamera”, and “Outline of the Redisplay”. The phenomenon of museality is found in the very origins of human culture and in various ethnic traditions. The idea of the universal museum as theatrum mundi was reproduced in the St. Petersburg Kunstkamera, which has become the cradle of science and the mother of Russian museums. It repeated the main ideas of the ancient mouseion and Renaissance museum, being combined into a composite of museum, library, university, and academy. Today, both the reconstruction of the main features of the universal museum, expressed in terms of the redisplay of the Kunstkamera for the anniversary of Peter the Great in 2022, and the revival of its values have been articulated in the recent agreement on the creation of the Alliance of Early Universal Museums between the St. Petersburg Kunstkamera (MAE RAS), Wunderkammer, Franckesche Stiftungen (Halle, Germany), and Teyler’s Museum (Haarlem, the Netherlands). The Alliance aims to appeal to the ideas of the museum as theatrum mundi (‘theater of the world’) with its universality, encyclopedism and enlightenment. The concept of the universal museum is also incorporated in the three sections of the Kunstkamera redisplay: “The Origin of Man”, “A Journey around the World” and “The Birth of Science” (“Peter’s Kunstkamera, or the Tower of Knowledge”).

 

KEYWORDS: Kunstkamera, universal museum, museality, redisplay, theatrum mundi, Alliance of Early Universal Museums

 

УДК 061.1+069
DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2020-4(10)-20-31

 

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