The Russia in the Great War Museum at the Martial Chamber of Tsarskoye Selo is re-open from 3 August 2017 after the expansion of its permanent display, which now occupies two whole floors of total 960 square metres.
The earlier available fourteen sections of the display, two of which have been refurbished, are now added with six more. The new sections are dedicated to the Caucasus Front, the Battle of Galicia, the Defense of the Osowiec Fortress, Petrograd of 1917, and other significant events of the First World War period.
The entrance hall (above), telling about the pre-war years, now showcases the artifacts like Nicholas II’s full dress uniforms of Russian and German cuirassiers and the Royal Scots Greys, as well as a French cuirassier dress uniform and several cuirassier broadswords, one of which belonged to the tsar.
A new gallery on Trench Warfare, with very atmospheric barbed wire along the walls, boasts authentic WWI bayonets, trench clubs, grenades, and ‘pigtails’ (screw pickets) that were used for barbed wire defenses. Visitors can see a battlefield through our interactive binocular telescope and hold in their hands the models of a Russian Mosin (M1891) rifle, a German Mauser rifle, a British Lee-Enfield rifle, and a Nagant revolver.
A new showcase about the Caucasian Native Cavalry Division offers very rare and previously not displayed Nicholas II’s colonel uniform of the 2nd Dagestan Regiment and the Andi burka (sheepskin cloak) of his brother Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich Romanov, the commanding general of the division.
In the revamped Navy section the most noteworthy is the 1900s uniform of the Royal Navy Admiral, a gift to Nicholas II from the British king Edward VIII.
The ‘Petrograd of 1917’ hall (see left and above and below right) has a building façade with smart windows that show the city’s wartime hospitals and their sponsors from cultural celebrities like Feodor Chaliapin, Leonid Sobinov and Tamara Karsavina.
The museum display ends on the first floor in a video room with The Last Year: Russia’s Withdrawal from the Great War, a video program specially made for the Martial Chamber.
Initially open in August 2014 as a large-scale commemoration of the WWI’s outbreak centenary, our Russia in the Great War Museum is the result of creative efforts by Tsarskoye Selo, the ResStroy restoration company, designers and assemblers from the Historical Reconstructions company (artist Ivan Minakov), and multimedia specialists from Mantrastudio.
Financed primarily by Russia’s Ministry of Culture, many exhibits for this project were also purchased by Tsarskoye Selo directly and with help from Russian and foreign corporative and private sponsors, which makes our WWI display truly a people’s museum.
Click pictures above to enlarge them