Central Naval Museum

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Central Naval Museum

Central Naval Museum (Russian: Центральный военно-морской музей) is a naval museum in St Petersburg, Russia. It is one of the first museums in Russia and one of the world’s largest naval museums, with a large collection of artefacts, models and paintings reflecting the development of Russian naval traditions and the history of the Russian Navy. The museum’s permanent display includes such relics as the Botik of Peter the Great, Catherine II’s marine throne, trophies captured in sea battles, and the personal belongings of prominent Russian and Soviet naval commanders. The collection includes paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky, Alexey Bogolyubov, Lev Lagorio and other marine artists, ship sculpture, navigational instruments, naval equipment and machinery from the 17th to 20th centuries and numerous models of ships. The main exposition consists of nineteen halls. There is a complex of six museum halls for exhibitions.


Imperial era[edit]

The museum originates from the St. Petersburg Model Chamber, used to store models and drawings related to shipbuilding. The Model Chamber was first mentioned in records on 24 January 1709, the date now used as the birthday of the museum. Peter I, who at the time was with his army in the Ukraine, sent instructions to Alexander Kikin, reading : “Take the Model Chamber out of my house and place it by the shipyard, wherever a proper place is available …”. The Model Chamber was located in the Main Admiralty, where ships of the Baltic Fleet were built.

Dzhevetskiy submarine

The Model Chamber's collection became the basis for a "Maritime Museum", which was created in 1805. By the end of the nineteenth century the Maritime Museum had become a significant Russian cultural and scientific centre, known throughout the world.

The museum was renamed after its founder, Peter the Great, in 1908, before the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the museum. It was renamed several times in the following years, becoming the Central Naval Museum in 1924.

Soviet era[edit]

In August 1939 the Central Naval Museum was relocated to the Stock Exchange building. It opened in its new location in February 1941, but its work was interrupted four months later by the German invasion of the Soviet Union and the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. The museum's most valuable exhibits were evacuated to Ulyanovsk. In July 1946 the museum returned to its home in Leningrad and reopened to visitors.

After the war work began on creating a modern network of branches of the Central Naval Museum. In 1956 a branch was opened using the cruiser Aurora, the first museum ship in Russia. In 1972 a second branch was opened in the village of Osinovets, on the shore of Lake Ladoga, dedicated to the "Road of Life". A third branch was opened in the Kronstadt Naval Cathedral in 1980, detailing the history of the fortress of Kronstadt. In 1994 the submarine Narodovolets was opened as a new branch of the museum, and the first submarine museum ship in Russia.

I-16 fighter of Twice-Hero of the Soviet Union Lt. Col. Boris Safonov

The museum today[edit]

The museum supports business relationships and organizes joint exhibitions with dozens of Russian and foreign museums.

During the three centuries of its existence, the museum has collected more than 700,000 objects that reflect the most important events in the history of the fleet. There are over 13,000 items of naval equipment, 11,000 weapons and firearms, 62,000 works of art, 56,000 uniforms, awards and decorations, flags and banners, and 44,000 documents and manuscripts, together with around 300,000 photographs and negatives, and sheets of drawings.

The museum has one of the world's richest collections of model ships (about 2,000 models), covering the history of Russian and foreign military shipbuilding.

In 2012 the Museum of the Baltic Fleet, in Baltiysk, and the retired Sverdlov-class cruiser Mikhail Kutuzov, in Novorossiysk, became branches of the Central Naval Museum.

In 2013, the collection was moved from the Stock Exchange to a new building in the renovated complex “Kryukov (Marine) barracks”, at Ploshchad Truda in the Admiralteysky District of the city.


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Coordinates: 59°56′37″N 30°18′16″E / 59.9435194444°N 30.3045027778°E / 59.9435194444; 30.3045027778