16th May 2016. Hermitage Volunteers take part in the festival «Intermuseum», in Moscow.

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Hermitage Volunteers take part in the festival «Intermuseum»

From 13th to 16th May 2016 the State Museum took part in the 16th international festival «Intermuseum» in the Central exhibition hall «Manage» in Moscow. This year, more than 300 Russian and foreign museums took part in the festival.

The theme of «Intermuseum 2016» is «Museums without borders». The main aim of the festival this year is to bring attention to museums as important instruments as spaces for intercultural dialogues, their social mission. In the «Museum town» state and private, big and small museums joined together. For the first time, amongst the Russian museums, Chinese and Iranian museums took part in the festival. Former Soviet Union countries Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Belarus had museums stands.

Over the four days of the festival, around 35 000 people visited.

The State Hermitage’s Stand

The theme of the State Hermitage’s stand in the 2016 festival was «The Museum at the Crossroads of Culture; between the past and future», linking two important themes for the Hermitage. Firstly, the museum as a centre of cultural life: part of the hermitage’s programme at the festival was dedicated to the General Staff Building, the modern museum complex, its expositions, exhibition halls and also the project «Hermitage 20/21». Other parts of the programme talked about the Hermitage as a curator of the cultural treasure of the past – Yemen and Palmyra. «It is the case that the Ark of the General Staff Building is exactly as the ark in Palmyra was, joining together two different cardinal directions… St Petersburg is not only called the “Northern Palmyra” but we also have an architectural similarity», says Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage.

In the «Palmyran» zone, people could play an interactive computer game «Palmyran market», which was created from the foundation text from the famous Palmyran customs tariff, preserved by the Hermitage. The game gives a representation of things that were traded in Palmyra and allows the user an immersion in antiquity.

Here also you could see a holographic representation of Palmyran monuments. The following historical objects were restored with help from 3D modelling: a sculpture of the lion goddess Al-Lat (beginning of the 1st Century CE), the Temple of Baalshamin (131 CE), the Temple of Bel (32 CE), the tower-tomb of Yambliha (end of 1st Century BCE) and the Triumphal Arc of the emperor (end of 1st Century CE).

Moreover, every day the stand «reconstructed» the Temple of Bel; a near exact copy of the main temple of Palmyra was created at a scale of 1:100.

The most popular game was «Be first in the General Staff Building». Children and adults happily researched the Hermitage’s new space.

The special glasses to watch 360 degree videos enjoyed great success. Specialists from ITMO, according to the initiative by Yuri Molodkovits, prepared a panoramic video with works from the Palmyran hall in 360 degree. This new technology allows us to change the point of view of the video, in this case, to see the Pavilion hall from floor to ceiling, and also showing the inside of the «Peacock clock» display case.

On the first 3 days of the festival there was an online broadcast from the General Staff Building. On the first day they showed the interactive trip on the theme «The General Staff Building for the public: exhibitions and permanent expositions in the General Staff Building». The second day was linked with work from the Youth centre of the State Hermitage, which works with students on different educational projects. The third day discussed the history, architecture and restoration of the General Staff Building.

Business Programme

Besides working on the stand, employees from the Hermitage took part in the festival’s business programme.

The main event of the first day was a round table – «Museums are defends of cultural legacies and historical memories», organized by the State Hermitage. The theme for discussion became part of the Russian museum community for the revival of Syrian monuments.

On the 14th May, Irina Dyubanova, manager of the «School Centre», talked about her experiences working with special guests at the Hermitage- special projects for people with autism spectrum disorders.

The next day, Anna Terenteva, deputy head of the «Restoration and Storage Centre Staraya Derevnya», shared her experience working with the blind and visually impaired on the project «The Past at your Fingertips».

Mikhail Kozhuhovsky, head of the Volunteer Service, talked about the projects of the Hermitage’s Volunteer Service on 16th May.

Children’s Programme

For children, the Hermitage prepared different activities in the Masterclass zone and in the Children’s square of the «Intermuseum 2016» festival. Visitors could make models of the sculpture of the lion Al-Lat, destroyed in Palmyra, and paint them. There was also the game «Make a Palmyra» – everyone who wished to could build a paper model of the Temple of Bel and take it as a souvenir.

Participants in the masterclass «A Monogram of Catherine II» created their own monograms for fancy suits. The masterclass for young children was dedicated to the history of craft art, in particular jewellery making.

Another masterclass was dedicated to French courtly art, lessons which were inspired by State Hermitage museum collections of the ceramics of Bernar Palissi. Participants could decorate small plates, using different artistic techniques.

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