“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:


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 school ICOMOS 2019

22.07.2019 — 27.07.2019

The purpose: public awareness to preserve the cultural heritage and popularization of the volunteer movement in Russia.

Location: Alexander Nevsky Lavra and Shuvalovsky park

The program includes:

  • Visiting of the architectural monuments
  • Walking tour of the Monastery 
  • Visiting of the icon painting workshops 
  • Visiting the museum of the Monastery
  • Walking tour around the landscapes and architectural structures 
  • Construction technologies workshop
  • Washing and cleaning gravestones workshop 
  • Clearing the territory of the Nikolaev cemetery and photographing gravestones
  • The conference of the ICOMOS School and the UNESCO camp
  • Lecture-concert
  • Team assignments

How to participate?

The experienced volunteers and activists can participate. To do that you need to registrate here.

The event is held by: The National Committee of ICOMOS of Russia, the Union of Restorers of St. Petersburg, the Committee on State Control, Use and Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments.

The 19th Computer Graphics and Animation Competition: «Hermitage: Preserving the Heritage of a Nation»

«Immortality consists of working on something eternal».
– Joseph Ernest Renan,
French philosopher and writer.

«Culture is the memory of mankind about itself».
– Aleksei Tegin, Composer.

The Hermitage is a unique cultural institution – being located in Russia, it preserves the art of different times and different nations. The Hermitage is home to the second largest collection of Dutch art in the world after the Netherlands, and the largest collection of French art outside of France. Scholars from all over the world come to the Hermitage in order to find monuments of the art of their country, preserved by the Hermitage. And so it is not surprising that in 2018, which was named the European Year of Cultural Heritage, the Hermitage is running events linked to the material and non-material heritage of Europe, and the history and issues of its preservation. We invite you to take part in a competition and to ponder cultural heritage and its future.

1. Why do we preserve monuments of cultural heritage?

It seems to us, that it is important that everyone becomes acquainted with the achievements of their ancestors, that everyone sees or hears great works that form the pinnacle of human thought and inspiration. It is important to us to look at the architectural monuments that adorn our cities and give them a unique identity, it is important for us to hear the sounds of music that delighted our ancestors, it is important for us to read works of literature make one better, more moral, more beautiful, and inspire the realization of one’s creative ideas.

What do you think — why is it still necessary to preserve cultural heritage and pass it on to future generations? We invite you to express your opinion in the form of a multi-media presentation.

2. Attitudes to cultural heritage during different periods of history.

Throughout human history, attitudes to cultural monuments have been ambiguous, changing in accordance with the political and religious life of peoples and states, and the revision of aesthetic ideals. Choose a period of history and find out how people approached works of art from previous eras, from different religious canons, and from warring states. The Romans ravaged Ancient Greece, taking away the best achievements of sculptors as trophies. Gradually, they fell under the influence of great Greek art, leaving us a multitude of copies of Ancient Greek statues, which can be seen in visiting the halls of ancient art in the Hermitage.

Find examples of different attitudes to art from previous eras, different religions, or warring states. Present your story in a multimedia format and accompany it with your opinion.

3. Cultural heritage preservation enthusiasts.

Thanks to enthusiasts who bravely stood up for the preservation of cultural heritage, a huge number of architectural and natural monuments, folk songs, fairy tales, traditions, crafts have been preserved. Who does not know the great English poet, William Shakespeare? Now it seems unbelievable that in the 19th century in England, very few people remembered him. Charles Dickens, the English writer, considered it his duty to restore the memory of his compatriot. He himself organised performances of Shakespeare’s forgotten plays, designing the decorations and even acting in them himself, thus attracting the attention of the public to the legacy of the great poet and playwright. And it was he who forbade the sale of the house in which Shakespeare was born to an American entrepreneur, who planned to move it to America.

These kinds of practitioner-enthusiasts who influenced the preservation of cultural heritage are found in the history of every country. Tell us something about them in a multimedia format and tell us what you think.

4. Commonwealth of Arts in the preservation of heritage.

The Hermitage is home to a unique service, «Green Frog Service». On the service’s 700 pieces, over 1200 English landscapes are painted. Several of the landscapes have been preserved for us thanks specifically to the service, for example Widdrington Castle, Lamphey Palace, Beaudesert House, and many others.

Are you familiar with the suite, «Pictures at an Exhibition» by Modest Mussorgsky? Which pictures the composer saw at the exhibition, who they were painted by? Even though not one of the paintings from the exhibition was preserved, but they remain in our memory only thanks to music. There are many examples throughout history of works of art that have only been preserved through their depiction in other art forma. Find examples of such artworks, and present them in a multimedia format.

5. Intangible Cultural Heritage.

When talking about cultural heritage, we more often than not imagine monuments, palaces, or works of art. This is material cultural heritage, but there is also intangible cultural heritage: oral traditions and forms of expression, including language, performing arts, including acting, playing music, singing, dancing, customs, ceremonies, holidays; knowledge and skills linked to handicraft, and national cuisine. On the list of material culture protected by UNESCO, you can find curiosities such as such as falconry, the Spanish riding school in Vienna, horse-breeding shrimp in Oostduinkerke (Belgium), carnivals and processions, and even World Bee Day.

Take a look and see whether there is anything on this list that attracts your attention and makes you want to learn a little bit more about it. Tell us something about what you choose, and present it in a multimedia format.

  • Cracklingen and Tonnecensbrand, a festival of bread and fire, celebrated at the end of winter in Gerardsbergen, Belgium.
  • Procession of giant dolls in Belgium and France.
  • Momogeri — New Year celebration in eight villages of the Kozani region in Western Macedonia, Greece.
  • The art of marble processing in Tinos, Greece.
  • Whistling language of La Gomera (Canary Islands, Spain).
  • The art of Neopolitan pizza making, Italy.
  • Lefkara or Lefkaritika lace, Cyprus.
  • Water milling and windmills, Netherlands.
  • Perfumery in Grasse, France.
  • Wooden toy making in Croatia in Hrvatsko zagorje.
  • The Sinjska alka, an equestrian competition held in Croatia.
  • The dancing procession of Echternach in Luxebourg.
  • And many others.

6. What would you choose to «preserve forever»?

On UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage there are 17 items, whereas on the Russian list of national heritage there are only two: the cultural space and oral culture of the Family Communities — groups of «Old Believers» evicted in Transbaikalia (representatives of the religious movement that arose in the XVII century as a result split from the Russian Orthodox Church) and the Yakut heroic epic «Olonkho».

7. Portraits of countries formed from cultural association.

When we hear «Paris», we imagine the Eiffel tower, the best artists and fashionably dress people. When we hear «Belgium», Belgian chocolate springs to mind. With Vienna we imagine Viennese Truffles, Spain — Piccasso and Flamengo, Italy — Raphael, Ferrari, Pizza…

Choose your favourite country and using computer graphics depict everything you associate it with. What do you think, can residents of this country be proud of these things as their country’s legacy?

8. Heritage in the future.

Pictures of Rembrandt were neither understood nor purchased by people in the present day. He didn’t leave an inheritance but he left a legacy of which the Dutch today are very proud.

Out of today’s modern art, what has the potential to become a future legacy? Talk about something which interests you about the phenomenon of modern art and imagine how people will react to it in 100 years’ time. Or try to create a poster for an exhibition in the year 3018 about art in 2018 in digital form.

9. Heritage and you.

Heritage is not just storing masterpieces in the Hermitage. Heritage is photographs of your relatives, your Grandmother’s favourite records, your favourite recipes and your family traditions.

You don’t have to be a restorer, a keeper or a guard in the Hermitage to preserve this heritage. Think about the enthusiasts that we spoke about and take a look at yourself. Have a think and say what you will do to preserve cultural heritage.

Terms and Conditions of the Competition

Deadlines: 22nd September – 16th November 2018.

Age of participants: 7-18 years of age.

Works are accepted in the following forms:

  • Digital paintings/pictures and graphic design.
  • Multimedia forms (PowerPoint etc.).
  • Flash and Gif-animations.
  • Video.

Requirements for the work:

  • Digital works are accepted in the following formats: jpg, gif, bmp. The volume of the file should be no bigger than 2.5MB.
  • Multimedia entries should contain no more than 10 slides.
  • The duration of an animation or video shouldn’t exceed 1 minute.
  • The source must be in the format of psd, fla, ppt, pdn, etc.). Every entry is provided in electronic view in a separate folder (archive rar or zip). The name of your folder should read ____ «Your Surname and Name». In the folder of work in the text file there should be the annotation.txt: you must include your school, class, your email, telephone, the name and surname of your teacher, the number of the group in УЦВТ. In the name of the file you should include your name, surname and age of author, the number of your academic group and the title of your piece of work. E.g.: Ivanov Peter — 12 year’s old — KO112 — hermitage.bmp. At the end of your piece of work you must write the name and surname of the author.

Submission deadline: 16 November 2018.

We will accept submissions via the following email: and also at the study centres of the Academy (telephone: +7(812) 612-11-22) and at the Volunteer’s office (тел. +7 (812)710-98-76).

Summary of the competition:

The jury will decide the winners of the competition. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in St. Petersburg, the time and location of which will be told to participants.

The best works will be displayed in the halls of the State Hermitage Museum.

The contest organizers:

1. The Volunteer Service at the State Hermitage Museum (
2. The Academic Centre of Technology Academy (
3. The Scientific and Methodological Department of the State Hermitage School Centre.


IV International Festival, «Discover Your Europe at the Hermitage»

St.Petersburg, 22.09.2018: in the General Staff Building of the State Hermitage Museum, the fourth international festival «Discover Your Europe at the Hermitage» took place. This yearly event is carried out as a joint initiative of the State Hermitage Museum and the Delegation of the European Union to Russia, in cooperation with the consulates and cultural institutes of EU member states. The festival was organised to coincide with the European Day of Languages, which is celebrated on the 26th of September. The European Union declared 2018 the year of European Cultural Heritage, and as a result this was the main theme of the festival.

The main, most exciting part of the programme was the culture fair. On one Saturday, 18 countries invited guests to take part in a variety of creative activities — thirteen master classes, eleven lectures, seven screenings, general knowledge quizzes, and musical performances.

The interactive zone, «Hermitage: Preserving the Heritage of a Nation», prepared by the volunteer sector of the State Hermitage, emphasised the importance of cultural traditions, and uncovered some «European secrets» – from elements of medieval dance, to culinary art. Lectures, classes, poetry duels, and the traditional hermitage computer graphics and animation competition, also centred around the theme of preserving national cultural heritage.

The festival was closed by a large musical concert, the main part of which was a performance of symphonic music from the St Petersburg youth symphony orchestra, «CreatoProject» which was presented by the The European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC).

Please see photos here.

The festival was held under the auspices of the VII St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum.

Computer Graphics And Animation Competition: Тhe Hermitage in a Critical Age

The revolutionary upheaval that broke out exactly a hundred years ago has pervaded the life of the Winter Palace and the Hermitage in a most cardinal fashion. The Revolution, the storming of the Palace and its seizure… What really happened here in those days?

Taking part in our competition will give you the opportunity to conduct your very own research.

Themes of the contest:

1. On the threshold of the revolution.

  • The year 1913 in facts and numbers.

Russia in 1913, just before the beginning of the First World War, found herself at a peak of economical development. Why then after a few years did such a strong change of regime happen? Find the statistics and the facts regarding the economical life of Russia until and after the burst of the Revolution.

  • The year 1917 in the Winter Palace*.

In 1917, the Winter Palace had already ceased to be the Residence of the Romanovs. The Imperial family had definitively moved to Tsarskoe Selo, amidst security concerns during the Revolution of 1905. World War I profoundly changed the life of the Palace. From 1915, here the largest field hospital in the country was created, named after the heir to the Throne, Tsarevich Aleksei. Part of the collection of the Imperial Hermitage and other treasures belonging to the family were evacuated to Moscow. On May 5th 1917, a new Provisional Government was formed, and on June 8th A.F.Kerenskij became in charge of it, after entering into the Winter Palace, along with his own collaborators and guards. The halls of the Palace were occupied by cadets, who ruthlessly looted the furnishings and the objects of the interiors. By October 24th, towards the capital was directed the First Women’s Battalion of Petrograd for the protection of the Provisional Government. Research the happenings of 1917 in the Winter Palace and discuss them in your work.

2. One day from history.

The storming of the Winter Palace is one of the diffused myths regarding the history of the Revolution. Such myth was created not only by the revolutionary propaganda, but also through the works of cinematographers, poets, writers, sculptors and artists, in order to protect the ideas of the Revolution.

  • Myths regarding the «storming» of the Winter Palace.

The Palace in the movies about the Revolution. The cinematographical interpretation (by choosing and presenting episodes from the motion pictures). The taking of the Winter Palace in painting. Find paintings, which portray the conquest of the Palace and discuss them by distinguishing what belongs to the reality of the facts and what seems to be part of the myth.

  • History of the OCTOBER STAIRCASE.

The stairs leading to Her Imperial Highness were the witness of the «storming» of the Palace. Discuss why the staircase received the title of «October» and conserved such name until today.

  • The hour has struck.

The clocks of the Romanov family in the White dining hall were stopped at 2 hours and 10 minutes, when during the night betwen the 7th and the 8th November (according to the new calendar) 1917, the Provisional Government was arrested. Discuss about the history of those hours.

3. Public activity of the Museum.
The Hermitage after the Revolution*.

Go through these historical materials* and discuss what happened at the Hermitage in the period succeeding the Revolution:

  • First State free exhibition (1919).
  • Stroganovskij Palace (1918-1929) and the Museum of Baron Stieglitz (1923-1945) in the structure of the Hermitage.
  • The Department for the Orient and I.A.Orbeli (1920).
  • The “Travel” of the knight around the Hermitage.
  • The selling of the treasures of the Hermitage between 1928 and 1930.
  • The Marxist Theory in the develoment of exhibitions at the Hermitage (starting from 1930).
  • Conversion of the Palace into museum. Architector A.V.Sivkov.
  • Educational programmes (watch the movie «Рожденные революцией»).

4. The WINTER PALACE after the Revolution*.

It is known, that the Winter Palace was not immediately included in the complex of the Hermitage. This was a long and difficult process. The premises of the Palace acquired new functions. You may analyse the materials and discuss about the Winter Palace, which in the following years was used for different purposes:

  • Labour colony for minors, evacuation point for children (1917).
  • Palace of the Arts (1917-1919).
  • Museum of the Revolution (1920-1941).
  • Museum of the  «Historical Rooms» (1922-1926).
  • Chivalry School of the Osoaviakhim (1932-1935).

You may also find photographic and figurative materials in order to show the state of the rooms of the Winter Palace until and after the revolutionary upheaval.

5. Banners.

«Peace to the huts, war to the palaces!», «Art is for the people!», «Proletaries of the whole world reunite!», «He who does not work, does not eat», «Who is not with us, is against us». Try to create a collection of banners characterising the first decade after the Revolution. For this purpose, it is possible to use several sources: not only photographs and films, but also paintings and the ceramics of those years.

6. Propaganda ceramics.

Propaganda ceramics became one of the first carriers of new ideas, illustrating the principles of the new life and the new Soviet state. Therefore on plates appeared illustrations and portraits of leaders, workers, soldiers of the Red Army flying the banners. Kazimir Malevich and his disciples Nikolai Suetin and Ilya Chashnik, rowing against the tradition, became reformers in the field of ceramics. How did the propaganda ceramics perform in relation to their prefixed scope? Visit the museum of the Imperial Ceramics Factory or go through books on Soviet ceramics, in order to prepare an interesting recollection, reflecting your own opinion.

7. Symbols of the Soviet Age.

Many symbols of the Soviet times have been preserved and still exist today:

  • Soviet banknotes and coins.
  • Traditional symbols: the red flag, the five-pointed star, the sickle and the hammer, et al.
  • Soviet orders. The Lenin Order. The Order of the Revolution.
  • The red scarf, the October badge.
  • Monuments to Lenin.
  • The Cruiser «Aurora».

Study the history of the creation and the fate of one of the symbols of the Soviet Age and discuss it..

8. Poetry of the Revolution. Songs and poems of the revolutionary years.

The revolutionary years gave a push for the development of new tendencies in Russian poetry: Futurists (Vladimir Khlebnikov, Vladimir Mayakovskiy, Igor’ Severyanin, Boris Pasternak), Acmeists and «Tsekhoviki» (Nikolay Gumilev, Osip Mandelshtam, Anna Akhmatova), Imaginists (Sergey Esenin), Symbolists (Dmitriy Merezhkovskiy, Fyodor Cologub, Konstantin Bal’mont, Aleksandr Blok, Andrey Beliy). Choose one of the writers or poets and discuss with regards to the revolutionary pages of their corpus. Which of these works bears significance even today? What in them can attract the contemporary audience?

9. Fashion of the Revolution.

The Revolution, with its stark refusal of classism, also took the form of a new style in fashion. The working people of the young nation of the Soviets had to look like it befitted to the creator of a new society. On the streets started to appear men and women in leather commissioner jackets, forage caps and soldier’s blouses. Satined skirts came into fashion, to be worn under city jackets. Soldier’s blouses, originally for men, after entering the women’s wardrobes, stressed the equality between the Soviet man and the Soviet woman. Collect figurative materials in order to discuss the fashion of the years 1917-1930.

10. Celebrations in Palace Square*.

The Palace Square has preserved its role as the main location for the commemoration of the most important festivities in Saint Petersburg. How and which recurrences were celebrated before the Revolution? Which name did the Square have during that time? It is possible to discover many interesting facts regarding those bright pages of history by looking at the works of the painters B.M.Kustodiev, V.V.Kuptsov, or by consultuing the books of A.V.Konivets* and A.V.Nemiro**.

11. According to the «new style». The reform of the calendar. The reform of orthography.

The revolutionary turmoils pervaded almost all the spheres of the new government. For example, the orthographic reform of the language had been prepared long before (since 1904), but it was possible to enact it only after the Revolution took place. As a result of this, a few letters disappeared from the Russian alphabet. Also the transition to the Gregorian calendar, in use across Europe, happened after the separation of the state from the church in 1918. Discover what was the benefit of those reforms in Russia, what we lost and what we gained.


We ask you to complete your submission with an answer to one of the following questions:

• What was a discovery for you or what captured your attention the most, while you worked on the chosen theme?

• According to your opinion, what is more desirable for the historical process: the regular and stable progress of the country or abrupt revolutionary changes?

• How does the current generation perceive the happenings of 1917?

Recommended literature:

* «Palais d’Hiver. De la résidence impériale à l’Osoaviakhim Kavshkola», Konivets A.V., 2014. / «Зимний дворец. От императорской резиденции до кавшколы Осоавиахима», Конивец А.В., 2014.

**«Ville festive. L’art de décorer les vacances. Histoire et modernité», Nemiro O.V., 1987. / «Праздничный город. Искусство оформления праздников. История и современность», Немиро О. В., 1987.

Exhibitions at the Hermitage:

  • «Winter Palace and the Hermitage in 1917». Main museum complex. Nikolaevskiy room, Malakhitoviy room, the White dining room. Opening on 26.10.2017 and lasting until 04.02.2018.

Conditions of the contest


The «School Centre» of Scientific and Methodological Department and the Sector for the Work with Volunteers of the State Hermitage, the Educational Centre for Computer Programming of the Academy for Professional Training (УЦВТ).

Aims of the contest:

  • Giving exposure and supporting the creativity of gifted children.
  • Creating interest among the youngsters towards the history and the artistic heritage of different epochs.
  • Fostering in our children a caring relationship with our history, architectural monuments and culture.
  • Enabling them to develop research skills in their work.

Timeline for the contest:

From October 22nd to December 1st 2017.

Works can be accepted in the following formats:

  • Computer-aided pictorial art and graphics.
  • Multimedial presentation (PowerPoint and others).
  • Flash- and Gif-animations.
  • Video.

Requirements for the submissions:

  • Computer-aided graphics in the formats: jpg, gif, bmp. Maximum size 2.5MB.
  • Multimedia presentation containing not more than 10 slides.
  • Duration of animation or video not more than 1 minute.
  • It is mandatory to add the original file (*.psd, .fla, .ppt, .pptx, .pdn, etc.).
  • Every project must be put in folder (.rar, .zip). Name of the folder must contain name and surname.
  • Folder must contain a text file (.txt) with information about participant (School number, grade, e-mail, phone number, name and surname of tutor, group number in УЦВТ).
  • Name of project must contain name, surname, age, grade number of participant, name of project (Example: Kotov Ivan – 13 years old – KO115 – Hermitage.bmp).
  • It is vital that the name and the surname of the participant are written at the bottom of the project.

Participants of the contest:

  • Eligible participants for the competition include those studying in educational establishments, clubs, sections and schools. Those who have successfully submitted their entries to the УЦВТ in accordance with the rules of the contest are also qualified to apply.
  • Participants are required to have between 7 and 18 years of age.

Deadline for the reception of the submissions:

Until December 1st 2017.

The submission of the entries can be done electronically at the following address: or at the educational facilities of the УЦВТ, tel. +7 (812) 612-11-22.

Selection of the finalists:

The winners will be declared by a jury by the 8th of December 2017. The best works will be on display in the rooms of the State Hermitage.


22.10.2017: The announcement of the children’s computer graphics and animation competition «The Hermitage in a watershed era»

22.10.2017, Saint-Petersburg: in the State Hermitage, within the framework of events dedicated to the centennial of the Russian revolution, an announcement was made about a new children’s competition of computer graphics and animation, «The Hermitage in a watershed era», which children of all ages will be able to take part in. The event was established and organised by the voluntary sector with the collaboration of the scientific and methodological department «The school center».

For over ten years, the voluntary sector along with the school center has been organizing and conducting computer graphics and animation competitions for school pupils. In 2017 the topics of the competition are related to two important milestones in the history of Russia — the great European journey of Peter 1st and the revolutionary events of 1917.

The 2017 autumn competition is dedicated to the centennial of the Russian revolution and aims to draw the school pupils’ attention to the dramatic events of 1917, which revolved around the Winter Palace.

During the special event which aimed to announce the competition «The Hermitage in a watershed era», children and IT teachers saw the halls in which the events of 1917 unfolded. In the school center a lecture took place, which informed the visitors about the history of the Winter Palace in 1917. Then, the tasks were presented to the children in detail and informational materials were offered to them, including information about the Hermitage exhibitions «The Winter Palace and Hermitage. 1917. History was made here», «The evacuation of the palace and museum valuables in autumn 1917» and other events to do with the project «The Storming of the Winter Palace».


23.09.2017: III International Festival «Discover Your Europe in the Hermitage»

23.09.2017, Saint-Petersburg: this annual event is a joint initiative of the State Hermitage and the Delegation of the European Union in the Russian Federation, which was realised in close cooperation with the general consulates and cultural institutions of the EU member states. The festival was timed with the European Language Day, the Year of Ecology in Russia and the 300th anniversary of Peter I’s Second Great European Journey in 1716-1717.

The festival allowed visitors to plunge into the diverse world of national customs of European countries and their history, without leaving the boundaries of St. Petersburg. 18 participating countries prepared a lot of fascinating creative classes for the guests: more than 10 master classes, lectures and meetings, 14 language lessons, 11 exhibitions, 7 film screenings, musical performances, quizzes with prizes and even a «green» subbotnik.

A 300-year-old journey was made possible by the interactive zone «Europe through the eyes of Peter the Great» prepared by the State Hermitage Volunteer Service. Visitors took part in numerous games, quizzes, competitions, master classes, theatrical performances and court dances of the 18th century. In a special photo zone the guests could photograph themselves with a model of the Great Coronation Carriage of Peter I.

The Norwegian film-disaster «Wave» about the confrontation of a man and a tsunami opened the film screening. The Swedish documentary «Bicycles against cars» continued the environmental theme, telling about the amazing changes that can bring a bicycle to our life. In addition, the program of the film sessions included animated shorts from the Visegrad Four, family films for everyone and a film about the zoo of Prague and about hip-hop.

The guests of the festival participated in master classes of Cypriot vases, Finnish lacework and coloring of Latvian national patterns, they mastered the basics of Estonian crafts, visited the German online university, got acquainted with Swedish and Dutch literature, played Maliban (Pall Mall) and showed their imagination in the LEGO master class.

The musical program of the festival consisted of old and modern music, folk and classical works. The aria from the opera «Hypermnestra» of Charles-Hubert Gervais, which was presented to Peter I in the Palais Royal, was performed by the ensemble of ancient music «Soloists of Catherine the Great» under the guidance of Andrei Reshetin.

The festival was held under the auspices of the VI St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum.

9-10.06.2017: Hermitage Volunteers take part in the 10th International Petrovsky Congress

9—10.06.2017, Saint-Petersburg: the 10th International Petrovsky Congress took place in St. Petersburg on the 9th and 10th June 2017. This year’s congress was dedicated to the 300 year anniversary of Peter I’s visit to France. A special feature of this anniversary congress was the participation of volunteers from the State Hermitage, who are researching the Second Great Journey of Peter I.

Senior members of the Institute of Peter the Great, who traditionally organize this congress, along with academic staff from the State Hermitage, who specialize in the Petrine era, reviewed with interest the educational projects of the volunteers which had been prepared under the program «Tour de France 1717 — The Grand Travels of Peter the Great» and remarked upon the importance of the involvement of young people in educational outreach activities.

At this year’s congress a special session for volunteers was organised by Mikhail Yurevich Kozhukhovsky, Head of the State Hermitage Volunteer Program, and by Adrien Vol, Lecturer in History of Art at Paris University I (Pantheon-Sorbonne University). Student-volunteers from many different countries, including Great Britain, the Netherlands, German, Georgia, Italy, France, were invited to take part in the congress, with presentations dedicated to the influence of different aspects of early XVIII century French culture on Russian society of the Petrine Era.

The session began with a presentation by M.Y.Kozhukhovsky about the volunteer project «Tour de France 1717 — The Grand Travels of Peter the Great». He talked about the relevance of the study of the Petrine Era in Russia and in other European countries, sharing his experience of the study of this topic at the Volunteer Service. Additionally the Head of the Volunteer Service explained to members of the congress the techniques used to create educational masterclasses and games, the aim of which is to help modern-day people better understand the Petrine Era and to help them examine the different aspects of the Petrine reforms. Games and masterclasses have successfully been tested at three events organised by the State Hermitage in 2017 — the Awards Ceremony for participants of a computer graphics and animation competition; Night at the Museums at the Hermitage; and the «Intermuseums» Festivals in Moscow.

After this, the foreign volunteers presented the results of their research. Kai Vollenhoven (Netherlands) spoke about the economic and political situation of the Regency Period in France and the changes in culture and art that arose during the financial crisis at the start of the XVIII century. Nicole Krist (Germany) spoke about the correspondence of the mother of Princess Elisabeth Charlotte, in which she gave a detailed description of the visit of Peter I to France, along with details about the daily life of the Royal Court. Hendrikje Kelenbek (Germany) told congress about the history of a set of Indian tapestries, given to Peter I at the Gobelins Manufactory in Paris in 1717. Georgii Cheminava (Georgia) and Anna Bishop (Italy) spoke about the fashion of the Regency Period and the difficulties in researching this topic. It is important to note that for the majority of the foreign students, this was the first time in their lives that they had presented research work in Russian and not all of them speak Russian fluently.

Adrien Vol thanked the volunteers for their interesting and informative presentations and commented on the speeches of the young researchers. The session concluded with Adrien Vol speaking about his experiments in recreating the atmosphere of the Regency era, for example, of French theatre at the start of the XVIII century. He also highlighted the necessity of a complex approach to comprehensive research of literary and musical works of this time.

Irina Valerevna Dyubanova, Head of the educational program «School Centre», particularly noted in her presentation that in the development of these educational projects, volunteers often consulted academic staff members from different departments of the museum with a wide range of questions: «By being at the Hermitage, volunteers from different countries can get to know works of art from the period of Peter I and Philippe I. It has been very interesting for us to talk with the volunteers, who have proposed interesting ideas for educational programs for both children and adults alike».

At the closing of the congress M.Y.Kozhukhovsky and A.Vol were granted the honour of presenting in front of all of the participants of the congress. They spoke about the project «Tour de France — The Grand Travels of Peter the Great», launched thanks to the efforts of the State Hermitage Volunteer Service, and they spoke about their first experience of working with young volunteers at the Petrovsky Congress. M.Y.Kozhukhovsky stated: «The volunteers can be proud of the fact that their work is highly sought-after and serves our main goal – education». A.Vol proposed to meet again next year, at the next Petrovsky Congress, with the aim of sharing new experiences in the study of the culture of the era and in the creation of specialist educational interactive programs.

The performance of the volunteers in the youth section of the congress resonated strongly with the other members of the congress, who offered their warm support for the volunteers. Historians who specialize in the Petrine Epoch have expressed their hope for future close co-operation with the young researchers from the State Hermitage Volunteer Service.

22.06.2017: Volunteers’ Excursion to the «Petrovskaya Akvatoria» museum

22.06.2017, Saint-Petersburg: the members of the State Hermitage Volunteer Service were given the wonderful opportunity to visit the model-museum «Petrovskaya Akvatoria», which is home to a unique 500 square metre interactive panorama of 18th Century St.Petersburg.

At the start of the visit, the group thought they were not in a museum, but rather a doll’s house, one that would only be of interest to children. However their first impression was mistaken, the Petrovskaya Akvatoria is designed for visitors of all ages, especially for those who love St.Petersburg and are interested in its history. The intricate detail of each piece of the model allows visitors to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the 18th century, and helps them discover new and intriguing facts about the history of the building of St.Petersburg. For example, the volunteers saw what the site, on which the State Hermitage stands today, looked like during this time. In the windows of the house of the Companions of the Tsar and of the famous Ship Builder Feodosy Sklyaev, which was located next to the Winter Palace of Peter I, our young researchers were able to catch sight of a small figure of Peter I, who stands inspecting models of future sailboats.

The excursion was led by Laura Pavlovna Budai – Head of the museum’s Education Department. She told many surprising stories about St.Petersburg in the era of Peter I. For example, once an elephant from Persia was brought to the banks of the Neva, but no one knew how to care for it in such a cold climate! So, when Peter I was offered another elephant as a present, the Russian tsar was forced to decline.

In addition, our volunteers were fortunate enough to see behind the scenes of the museum where the model’s creators showed their workspace and explained the technology used to create the unique atmosphere of Petrine Petersburg.

The State Hermitage Volunteer Service would like to express their sincere thanks to the Petrovskaya Akvatoria for providing them with the opportunity to see this model of early 18th Century St.Petersburg and for helping them deepen their knowledge of the Petrine epoch. The visiting group’s newly acquired knowledge will certainly be useful for the preparation of a wide range of masterclasses being organised for the project «Tour de France 1717 — The Grand Travels of Peter the Great».