Museum of Russian Culture

Museum of Russian culture, San-Francisco, USA

Repositories of cultural monuments and the history of foreign Russia

In 1948, at the Russian Center, in San Francisco, on the initiative of a small group of representatives of the cultural layer of the local Russian colony and the moral support of some prominent Russian scientists, writers and artists in the United States, the Museum-Archive of Russian Culture was founded.

In the history of Russian emigration settled in this country, such an undertaking, both in its goals and in its entire structure, was the first Russian public and cultural institution, since until that time there were no such museums here. He set himself the following tasks:
1. Collection and storage of various cultural and historical materials about our homeland, Russia.
2. On the life and history of Russian emigration in different countries and the work of its outstanding figures in various fields of spiritual and material culture.
3. On the true modern situation of our country and the life of its people.
4. On the outstanding moments of life, culture and history of the United States, as a country where a significant proportion of the Russian emigration found refuge, interesting and important from the point of view of Russian culture and Russian history.

Since Russian people living in different countries take part in the construction of the Museum, I donate all kinds of materials to him and since this sacrifice is the basis of his life and development, for this reason this Museum is the common property of all Russian nationally-minded emigration, and not property or property some kind of group of persons or organizations.
The museum is incorporated as a cultural, non-profit organization, has its own charter and permission from the state authorities.

The governing body is the Board (11 people during the formation of the museum), elected annually by the general meeting of its members. The museum has a Revision body and its own internal charter. Each person can join the Museum, regardless of his nationality and religion, but sincerely sympathizing with the tasks set for preservation and protection of both Russian and other cultural and historical monuments.
An institute of Honorary Patrons has been created at the Museum, to which prominent persons are elected in the field of sciences, arts, literature, technology or church life.
Composition of Honorary Patrons of the Museum:
Academician and Professor O.I.Yadov
Metropolitans Anastasius and Leonty
professors I.A. Ilyin, P.A. Sorokin, N.S. Timashev, I.I. Sikorsky, group A.L. Tolstaya, Prince Beloselsky-Belozersky, A.T. Grechaninov, S.A. Zharov, G.D. Grebenshchikov and others.
In different countries and states the Museum has its Representatives, who perform all kinds of services for its development.
The museum accepts as a gift or for storage a wide variety of objects and materials, starting with a collection of books, newspapers, magazines, art objects, all kinds of historical documents and ending with monetary and postal signs of Russia. In the first 6 years of the Museum’s existence, it received over 1200 parcels from 27 countries where Russian people lived. In total, more than (over 50%) of these parcels were received from different US states.

The museum has the following 7 departments, which receive all the materials received:
1. Department of scientific and applied knowledge
2. Department of Arts
3. Historical department
4. Department of life of the Russian abroad
5. Department of fiction
6. Department of library and archival
7. Newspaper and magazine department

Many moments of the past of our old homeland, such as the rise and fall of state power, the period of revolution, the troubled times of the civil war and the liberation movement, the terrible years of the life of our congregations in Europe and the countries of the Far East during the Second World War, and numerous materials about the USSR, from its terror, concentration camps, famine, persecution of the church, etc. – all this is covered in the Museum and presented in the form of photographs, prints, books, manuscripts, posters and other documents.

This is the oldest public repository of materials in the United States about our past, about the spiritual work of the best people of emigration and about everything that illuminates the private and public life of Russian people scattered in different countries, for all its poverty, under all other adverse conditions, it grows stronger every year, it gains more and more attention and support, and its Board believes that this America’s first Russian public museum is turning into a large, authoritative repository of the spiritual treasures of Russian people who have lost their homeland.

Museum of Russian Culture, San Francisco

Museum of Russian Culture, San Francisco. Photo M. Blinov, 2001

Since the Museum was created in conditions of acute need for such institutions, it was created when the political situation in Europe threatened with the death of Russian museums, archives and book depositories, and they could die in the event of a new war, as the most valuable Russian repositories died during World War II war and post-war work of the special commissions of the NKVD. For this reason, the importance of the Museum and the meaning of its existence are growing even more and, therefore, all efforts, all the attention and support from the cultural layer of emigration must be applied in order to strengthen it as soon as possible and do everything for its normal development.
(based on materials provided by M.N.Ivanitsky)

to be continued…