“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


Dear Friends!
Our work on the projects continues and, using the established communication format, we are contacting you, our dear volunteers!
– Many events and anniversaries lie ahead. We had planned to saturate you with interactive events with an essential educational component. In this new format, all our ideas require rethinking and the search for new solutions.
– In April, a significant day awaits us: Cultural Heritage Day on April 18th, and the preparation of the Competition for the 300th anniversary of Baron Munchausen, whose jubilee will be celebrated on May 11th 2020, and International Museum Day on May 18th (and Museum Night on May 16th) is just around the corner.

We appeal to you to actively join the work in anticipation of these important dates and look forward to your proposals for conducting and searching for new formats in our discussions and groups on projects and events.
Please find attached a schedule of events, and we remind you of the common theme of all our projects for 2020.
We look forward to your suggestions by mail or in messenger!

The II All-Russian Volunteer Forum. “Cultural volunteering”.

The II All-Russian Volunteer Forum took place in Moscow on the 3rd and 4th of November, 2015.

At the forum of active citizens “Community,” more than 3,500 representatives of non-profit organizations, civic activists, volunteers, and representatives of businesses and government agencies from all over Russia gathered in Moscow. Never in the modern history of Russia has the subject of volunteering, and the civil activism associated with it, been given attention at such a high level.

On the third of November, honorary guests, representatives of federal authorities, and regional leaders visited different work sites relating to eight areas of volunteering: social, medical, event-focused, cultural, corporate, inclusive, Victory volunteering, and emergency volunteering. All of the participants were able to learn the stories of successfully completed projects in the fields of volunteering and patriotic education, projects by the largest NGO’s, and were also able to participate in dozens of workshops and discussions on interactive platforms.

Since 2003, the State Hermitage Museum has actively participated in the development of the volunteer movement. Because of this, the organization and supervision of “Cultural Volunteering” was entrusted to volunteer director M. Y. Kozhukhovsky.

Mikhail Kozhukhovsky moderated a discussion on the “Role of Volunteering in Culture and Educational Activities”, which several distinguished guests attended. The guests included the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, Advisor of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Tolstoy, Director of Museum of Contemporary History of Russia Irina Velikanova, and representatives from museums, artistic associations, and volunteer organizations. While speaking about the role of volunteer groups, the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Medinsky, stated that the Agency intends to help volunteers in organizing cultural activities throughout the country. During this event, representatives of the state participated in lively and heated discussions. The Presidential Cultural Advisor, Vladimir Ilych Tolstoy, expressed concern over the dangerous precedent set by the arrest of a library director in Moscow and expressed his hope that professionals will not suffer because of their professional activities.

As a result of the productive discussions at this site, as well as the work of the different groups there, proposals for development and volunteering in cultural and educational activities were collected and a draft was then prepared by those present to be sent to the federal authorities and presented to the President.

On the 4th of November a ceremony took place to award prizes in several categories to the best volunteers in the country: “Promotion” – for contribution to the development of event volunteering; “Mercy” – for contribution to the development of medical volunteering; “Enlightenment” – for contribution to the development of cultural volunteering in emergencies; and the special nomination “Victory-70” – for the contribution to preserving the historical memory of the country.

To recognize the importance of volunteer work, and active citizens, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, arrived on the 4th of November, National Unity Day.

“It’s very important for any country and any people, and especially for a country as diverse as Russia, with its multiethnic and multi-religious composition, to remember what triumphs and tragedies occurred and when. If we look at the history of our country, we see that when we were united, we always achieved brilliant victories. Therefore, it is important to be aware of ourselves as one people, despite the diversity of our country”, – said Putin, congratulating all the participants on the holiday. In his speech, the President spoke about the need to support public organizations, noting “they better understand the people and more effectively handle the needs and requirements of them than government organizations.” Addressing the representatives of the non-governmental organizations, volunteer movements, as well as youth and student associations of the country, Vladimir Putin expressed his gratitude for their work, which made an impact “in his heart”.