Local History Museum: second wind of Vitebsk.
It makes sense to start the first meeting with Vitebsk in the Local History Museum, where, as if with threads, a hard historical path of the city has been collected and woven into single linen. Created in the early XX century, it is still the keeper of the history of Vitebsk, amazing visitors with its unique exhibits - by the way, the museum possesses more than 200000 of them.
To learn the history of Vitebsk, it is not enough to wander through the streets, admiring the unusual landscapes and modern urban development. The thing is that every building has its own history, its singularity that not every resident of the city knows. So do not be lazy to look into museums of Vitebsk, where the fleeting breath of the city were captured in rapidly changing eras.
Look, for instance, at the Local History Museum, located in the City Hall. Thanks to ancient and rich collections it became a legendary destination not only of tourist Vitebsk, but the whole Belarus.
Since the opening, the museum held over 700 exhibitions. And there were not only its own collections but also guest expositions that each time rapture the visitors of the museum. By the way, during the time of work the Local History Museum managed to prepare a rich collection of exhibits. There are instruments of labour and living conditions of peasants, items of arts and crafts, as well as numerous objects found during archaeological excavations in the Upper and Lower castles of Vitebsk etc. The Museum Store hides no less interesting artifacts from the time of the Great Patriotic War reflecting the activity of Soviet soldiers, underground fighters and partisans during the war years. The exhibits include documents, photos, military awards, weapons, etc.
However, let's back to history. The Local History Museum was created on November 12, 1918, but it was opened for visitors only in summer 1919. Then it was called the Provincial Museum of Vitebsk and was located in a former seminary. The basis of its funds is composed by exhibits of A.Brodovsky Antiquities and Art Industry Museum which are especially valuable for the culture of Vitebsk. The collection consisted of more than 10000 items, grouped according to 40 thematic expositions. There widely represented archeology, natural history, numismatics, seals, faleristics, watches, icons, religious medals, embroidery, porcelain, etc.
After a while the funds of the Local History Museum were replenished with collections of V.Fedorovich, Church and Archaeology Museum, Archival Scientific Committee of Vitebsk, and Vilna Officers Association evacuated in Vitebsk during the First World War. And in 1924, the museum received archive and personal belongings of historian A.Sapunov.
1924 has a special meaning for the culture of Vitebsk – that year the provincial museum becomes a department of Belarusian State Museum, and in November the same year it was decided to transfer the building of the City Hall to the Local History Museum.
After move to a new building, it was decided to start intensive preparation of a new exhibition, which opened on April 27, 1927. Then the visitors looked the exhibits collected in six fields: history, archeology, ethnography, church and modern industry. A year later, the provincial museum comes out from the structure of Belarusian State Museum and begins its independent existence. In 1929 the name has also changed - now it is Vitebsk Belarusian State of Cultural and Historical Museum.
But in 1932 there was another transformation. To effectively solve the problems of the Soviet power, the museum was renamed into social-historical, and the exposed collections were replaced by propaganda posters, models and photographs. Exposition in the Local History Museum appeared only in 1938. Then the visitors saw three sections – ancient history, medieval, Department of Construction and Stalin Constitution.
As the history of Vitebsk testifies, in the Great Patriotic War the Museum was first hastily evacuated in Kuibyshev, later – in Saratov. Unfortunately, it was impossible to move the entire fund, so more than 31% of artifacts were destroyed or stolen during the Nazi occupation.
After liberation of Vitebsk active restoration of the museum began. Then, in July 1945, "Vitebsk region during the Great Patriotic War" exhibition opened in the City Hall. In 1951 the museum received its present name - Vitebsk Local History Museum.
By the mid 50's the number of open exposures increased: there were departments of nature, pre-Soviet and Soviet periods, as well as the department of postwar socialist construction.
In the late 1970s, restoration of the building of the City Hall began and soon the Local History Museum was closed. Only in 1992 the museum welcomed its first visitors, and tourist Vitebsk added another invaluable landmark.
Today, walking around the city, you should have no problem, what to see in Vitebsk. But if you hesitate, look into the Local History Museum. And while you're acquainted with the exposition dedicated to the unique flora and fauna of Vitebsk region, you will probably wish to leisurely wander in Vitebsk. By the way, the exhibited items include stuffed animals and birds, a rich entomological collection and a collection of shellfish. Herbaria reflected toxic and rare plants that grow in Vitebsk region, and many other items.
After walking in the museum, you can visit other interesting objects that hide the history of Vitebsk. Nearby located the Art Museum and Mark Chagall Art Centre. The bells of the Holy Resurrection Church and the Holy Assumption Cathedral call to one another with crystal ring. For more detailed information about these attractions of Vitebsk please visit city portal VitebskCity.by.
Address of the Local History Museum: 36 Lenin street, Vitebsk.
Phone: +375 212 360587.