MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The Russian History Museum loaned over 160 objects, including books, documents, and museum artifacts, to the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, MN for the exhibition The Romanovs: Legacy of an Empire Lost.

The exhibition is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. It provides an overview of three centuries of Romanov rule, focusing on the tragic end of the dynasty in 1917-1918, and the dispersal of the remaining family members and their treasures after the Bolshevik revolution. The events that led to the collapse of imperial rule in Russia are well known, but what happened to their scattered property after the Bolsheviks seized power is a story still being unearthed.
The vast majority of the displayed pieces, many of them exhibited for the first time, are from the collections of the Russian History Museum.

Among them are personal effects of Tsar Nicholas II and his family that were recovered during the investigation of their murder in 1918. These include Tsesarevich Alexei’s military jacket, Grand Duchess Anastasia’s petticoat, and an icon of Christ gifted by Nicholas II to Anastasia on her birthday.

Tsesarevich Alexe’s military jacket. Found during the investigation of the Imperial Family’s murder in Yekaterinburg.

Other branches of the Romanov family are also represented by objects loaned by the Russian History Museum. On display are the shoulder boards of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (grandson of Nicholas I), a portrait of the Grand Duke in his study in Strelna, books from his personal library, and an exquisite presentation frame commissioned by him from court jeweler Fabergé. The Dukes of Oldenburg are represented by a marble-covered album by the firm of Sazikov, presented in 1860 by graduates of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence to Duke Peter Georgievich of Oldenburg, a grandson of Emperor Paul I and founder of the prestigious School.

Presented by the alumni of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in St. Petersburg to the School’s founder, Duke Peter of Oldenburg. The album was presented to the Duke on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the School’s founding.

Books loaned for the exhibition range from an early 17th century Book of Gospels written by hand, to a lavish volume of photographs depicting participants of the 1903 Costume Ball at the Winter Palace, where guests wore costumes in style of the 17th Russian court of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich.

1903 Costume Ball Album. This page shows Nicholas II’s brother, Grand Duke Michael, attired as a 17th-century tsarevich.

The exhibition is on view from November 16 to March 23, 2013.

Exhibition Images