The Russian History Museum is pleased to announce the completion of its first-ever Spring Appeal, and  to express its gratitude to the Museum’s generous supporters. The campaign, running from the beginning of April to June 30, raised funds towards the conservation of historical materials in the Museum’s collection and their preservation and care.

“We are deeply grateful to everyone who made a contribution towards this worthy cause,” said Michael Perekrestov, the Museum’s Executive Director. “Several artifacts have already undergone treatment by professional conservators thanks to the generosity of our donors. The funds have been put to good use immediately.”

Ninety-three donors contributed a total of $21,677. “Conserving objects allows us to put them on display for the appreciation and education of the public,” Perekrestov noted. “Sometimes, the poor condition of these materials prevents them from being exhibited at our Museum or loaned to other museums for special exhibitions.”

In addition to funding conservation treatment of specific artifacts, collections care funds are earmarked for the purchase of archival-quality enclosures, such as acid-free boxes, used to properly house museum and archival materials. Given the special materials required for their production, these supplies are not inexpensive but are necessary for long-term preservation.

Among the artifacts conserved are two 19th century icons with ornate silver, enamel, and gilded rizas (covers) by the Moscow silversmith Semyon Galkin. The first is of the Kazan Mother of God, with the robes of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child crafted of intricate silver filigree.

Before conservation treatment.After conservation treatment.

The second icon is of the Annunciation. The icon had considerable oxidation and discoloration from years of exposure. The firm of BNNS & Co in New York City performed a critical conservation cleaning, which removed all of the organic deposits and discolorations without damaging the intact original gilding. The beauty of this piece lies in the interplay of silver and two kinds of gilding, as well as trompe l’oeil engraving, the layering of clouds, and even the distaff of weaving material by the Virgin’s side.

The next object slated for conservation is a hand-illustrated book created by the graduating class of 1939 of the First Russian Cadet Corps in Bela Crkva, Serbia. The Zveriada is a unique manuscript book, recording the traditions and values of the Cadet Corps, and contains inscriptions by alumni of the school. The book has damage to the binding and some of the pages.

The “Zveriada” is bound in velvet and contains hand-painted illustrations by cadets of the 1st Russian Cadet Corps. The book was gifted to the Russian History Museum in 2016 from the estate of Rev. Peter Burlakov, one of the graduates of the class of 1939 and a lifelong collector. 

 The Russian History Museum is grateful for the support of its kind donors, who make the preservation and sharing of these treasured items possible.