Pushkin Museum – Personal Review

Pushkin Museum in Moscow –

http://www.moscow.info/museums/state-pushkin-museum-of-visual-art.aspx

‘While the museum lacks some of the contemporary gloss of its Western counterparts – there is no guide book at present, even in Russian, many of the exhibits appear never to have been cleaned, and the lighting and decor are old-fashioned to say the least – there is more than enough substance in the huge collection to make up for any superficial inadequacies. Underfunding and resistance to change also mean that, while a little shabby, the Pushkin is a considerably more peaceful place to contemplate great art than many of the more hyped and hectic big galleries in the West.”

It’s interesting to me that this is called a “Visual Arts” museum. I don’t remember it being ALL art. There were historical documents and artifacts also included, but it’s been 11 years since I’ve been there so maybe I just wasn’t aware or something was lost in translation because, let’s face it, Russian is hard ya’ll.

It was a small museum but honestly I liked it more than The Hermitage which you can see my post on that here. It didn’t incase EVERYTHING and even though you weren’t supposed to touch the artifacts it was at least close enough to you that you could experience some of them a little more. And I felt like the museum had wonderful lighting – natural and not.

They also have an Ancient Egyptian exhibit on permanent display there. (Psst – here’s a little secret about me – I almost did my undergrad at Brown University in Egyptology. [sigh] If I believed in reincarnation, I think I would have been an Egyptian in one of my former lives.) The exhibit is not big but was set up very well and instead of the usual white walls and bright lights it was black walls and bright lights. I liked it! It was VERY dramatic which is a common adjective that I would use for Ancient Egypt.

I also enjoyed the many statues they had in their collection. They were very accesible and you could stand close enough to see their magnitude of height and width. Also the white marble statues were almost all displayed with natural lighting streaming in from skylights which just added more ambiance and drama to the exhibits.

 

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Museum Experience

In 2003 I went to The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is one of the largest Hermitagemuseums in the world and formerly was used as a palace. St. Petersburg sits on the Western coast of Russia and by far is the most “westernized” city that I visited.

This museum has wonderful online resources. Almost all the artifacts are shown through a visual exhibit medium. To me this was almost more beneficial than when I actually went. Besides getting to experience the sheer grandeur of the museum it is simply impossible to view the whole museum in a few hours or even a day probably. I The Hermitageonly visited the “Winter Palace” section, which I think was only one side and blue-ish in color. And seriously I felt like I was in The Louvre scene from National Lampoon’s European Vacation. There was soooo much to look at and even if you weren’t interested in some of the rooms it still took awhile to walk through them to get to the rooms/exhibits you wanted to see.

Here’s a few that made an impression on me enough to remember:

The Winter Palace Grand Staircase….um I mean WOW! Give me a ballgown right now!

Winter Palace Grand Staircase

And here is a few of the grand carriages used by some of the Tsars of Russia.

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One thing I would like to point out that they could improve on in the future is their photography. The understand that the artifacts do not do well with flash photography, but I feel that with a little sunlight, most of these museum features could be better represented in a “new light”. When I was there it was summer, no doubt their busiest time of year I’m sure, but it was wonderful to see these exhibits with more lighting. They didn’t look so drab and dirty. I think it would bump up the virtual experience just that much more if the photography was a little better and, if possible, taken at a better time of day.

They do have a mobile app for The Hermitage in the Google Play store and on iTunes and it seems very user-friendly. It’s very organized. It has an interactive floor plan for the museum as well as special collections and bios about the artifacts. You can also bookmark special exhibits, save the images, share them in an e-card or upload them to twitter. In their store you can also get free downloads or buy more content for the app like virtual tours, educational courses, or thematic excursions.

Museum Phone App 1

The Hermitage Museum App Shots

The Hermitage also has an exhaustive collection of Virtual Archives on their website. You can look at previous travelling exhibits back into the 1990’s and also see artifacts that have been digitized. The website also has a very good search function.

Check out how old and seemingly fragile this bronze sculpture is!

Bronze Sculpture  — Current Exhibit displaying Edgar Degas art.

There is so much at this museum ( somewhere around 3 million items) that I can’t possibly touch on all of it in this one post. Make sure and check out their website and explore the courtyards, theater, Winter Palace, the Virtual Academy, and much much more!

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The Arch of the General Staff Building