Hermitage prepares gifts for visitors

Uploaded by VestnikKavkaza on 08.06.2011

Our conference today is headlined "Russian museums: cultural treasures or non-core asset?"
The theme of the conference coincides with the topic of a session of the Public Chamber, which has just ended.
Mikhail Borisovich has come to tell us about the results of the session.
The session is included in a series of events devoted to a great date,
the 10th anniversary of the Russian Museums Union.
Mikhail Piatrovsky, the head of the Russian Museums Union, director of the Hermitage National Museum:
We held a very important session devoted to the problems of museums.
Cultural treasures or non-core asset? The competition is acute.
We compare two points of view on museums.
The first is that museums are depositories of our cultural inheritance,
which provide us with memories in the future.
The second is that museums are stores of unnecessary things.
We discussed this issue.
All reforms connected with the federal budget presuppose that the country will get rid of a cultural burden,
i.e. state support for museums.
We summed up some results of museum life.
In Russia there are 1977 museums.
90% of them function under the ministry of culture.
However, there are many museums which belong to the defense ministry,
universities, science academies and so on.
It is a problem, as we have an too clear system of financing.
For example, there is no support for museums which belong to science academies,
as they are financed within the framework of support for science.
There are about 82 million items in our museums.
Museums are the most democratic public places in Russia, probably only libraries are more democratic.
Annually, 77 million people visit museums Russian museums.
23 million of whom are children and teenagers.
70 thousand employees are involved in this sphere.
The average salary is ridiculous, about 7,000 rubles.
Most museums are situated in historic buildings, which are beautiful, but they usually need reconstruction.
Moreover, museums are evicted from historic buildings.
So we discuss such things and inform people who are interested in it
and people who are maybe not interested in it about them,
I mean representatives of the official authorities.
We also spoke about the future.
Museums have always played a big role in the development of society and the preservation of culture.
In the future museums have great prospects.
Today we are experiencing many global reforms,
which do not take into consideration some important aspects and leave gaps, which museums can fill.
For example, education reform.
People who want obtain knowledge above the average can do it in museums.
Military reform is based on economic changes, armaments will be great,
but the military bearing, an officers honour,
the tradition of patriotic upbringing of the Russian army are shown in military museums.
There are a lot of other things which are connected with mental upbringing in our country
and of high importance.
Museums care about monuments and prove that there are things more important than money.
Some call it ideology. It is not ideology, it is a new social role for museums.
That's what we were talking about today.
We discussed our problems and what can we do to solve them, and if not us, then who should do it.
We have several projects.
We plan to finish them this year and present them to an audience.
First of all, we are going to establish a lively forum in the centre of St. Petersburg.
We will open new entries through the Hermitage from the Palace Square to the museum.
We are going to establish a Guards Museum.
The square will be a kind of monument to the war of 1812.
So we are to rearrange the heart of St. Petersburg and make it livelier.
That is our function.
Secondly, by 2014 we will open in the east wing the Museum of the XIX, XX and XXI Centuries.
It is a good use for an old disused building, without changing it.
There is a grand staircase, you can see it at the festival.
We plan to move the impressionists and post-impressionists there.
There will be a lot of items of arts and crafts and modern art.
At the moment our items are presented at exhibitions in Venice and also in interactive e-exhibitions.
We will have a separate room of Prigovs works.
However, in general the wing will be the Museum of the XIX, XX and XXI Centuries.
Furthermore, we will open exhibit halls in the Small Hermitage.
We had depositories there and will open exhibition halls.
A separate programme will be presented there.
We are going to establish a Guards Museum with the air of the patriotic upbringing of the Russian army.
We will probably do this in cooperation with the Defense Museum.
We will reconstruct several halls of the Hermitage.
And the most important thing, we will build the third line of the depository fund of the Hermitage.
The depository fund sounds prosaic, and it is always very difficult to get money for it,
as it is supported by the state.
However, the depository fund is one of our significant innovations.
It is an answer to the question on what percentage of items is shown in the museum.
We have to explain that we exhibit 5-10%
and the rest is in the museums stores.
There is a problem of availability.
This is solved by the open depository fund,
where collections are presented in another regime and style.
One hall is functioning.
All the furniture, carriages and so on are there. People come to see it.
By the way, it is not situated in the centre of the city.
That's how museums encourage development of the citys cultural life.
We will finish the second hall next year and the third hall by 2014.
These are programmes which we present to the government and hope to get their financial support.
During the year we will show them to people.
Moreover, in the Hermitage centers all around the world exhibits about the Hermitage will take place,
in Amsterdam, Italy, London.
In Russia there will also be exhibitions.
Annually we carry out 5-6 exhibitions in various cities of Russia.
There is a legend that the Hermitage is a museum of Western European art.
I have to say that the Hermitage is a museum of world art, and Russian art takes a significant place in it.
The Hermitage is a museum of Russian statehood, Russian Empire began and ended in its building.
We will present several new exhibitions,
for example, an exhibition of possessions purchased in the last 20 years,
an exhibition of archeology of the Hermitage in the last 20 years,
an exhibition of restorers of the Hermitage, as restorers always create miracles.
We will publish books on the Hermitage.
So these are gifts we are preparing for you.