“Baron Münchausen: from Peter to Catherine the Great”

In Saint Petersburg, a Round Table on the 300th anniversary of the legendary Baron Munchausen’s birthday took place

18 December 2020, in Saint Petersburg as part of the “Peter the Great’s European Journeys” project, a Round Table entitled “Baron Münchausen: from Peter to Catherine the Great” in connection with what would be Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Freiherr von Münchhausen’s (1720-1797) 300th birthday, a man famous for his literary adventures, took place.

The event was organised by the Peter the Great Institute, and was possible thanks to the initiative of the State Hermitage’s Volunteer Service, working in collaboration with the museum’s staff and custodians. This year, they have devised a whole range of educational projects whose principal hero has been the legendary Baron Münchausen.

The strenuous situation which has endured this year has demanded new formats for the museum’s educational projects. The image of the resourceful and unyielding baron, finding his way out of the most difficult situations, turned out to be more relevant this year than ever. Baron Münchausen’s optimism, and a love for him of many generations of readers has inspired many online museum events. These projects reflected events from the life of a real historical character, Hieronymus von Münchhausen, the Age of Enlightenment, the culture of the 18th century, the history of the construction of the Winter Palace and great historical figures from Peter I to Catherine II.

Among the speakers at the online Round Table were writers, historians, art historians, literature enthusiasts, and admirers of the adventures of Baron Münchhausen.

At the opening of the Round Table, the Director of the Peter the Great Institute, Inna Sviderskaya, underscored her appeal to the phenomenon of Baron Münchhausen, both as a literary hero and as a historical figure, whose fate turned out to be surprisingly connected with a whole string of Russian rulers, and who made it possible to look at this riveting era in Russian history from a new angle and lay the foundation for new research and museum projects. Thus, the State Hermitage’s future project dedicated to Münchhausen, will enable this period, often called the “era of female rule” or the “Russian Enlightenment”, rich in historical events and scientific discoveries to be exhibited in a new way.

Participants at the Round Table received a branded souvenir from Baron Münchausen: a peculiar reminder of the event and an irreplaceable accessory for the outgoing year, masks decorated with Münchhausen’s own autograph, and the silhouette of a literary hero created especially for the event by Mikhail Kozhukhovsky, Head of the State Hermitage Volunteer’s Service.

The full video of the Round Table can be found on the Peter the Great Institute’s website: https://instpeter.ru/chronicle/4412.html