The Museum of Russian Art
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The Museum of Russian Art from the northeast
The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA) is a museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, that houses a collection of Russian art from the 20th century, especially Soviet art. Additionally, it often hosts temporary exhibitions of art and artifacts with more general connections to Russian-speaking world.
The museum was incorporated as a 501(c)-3 non-profit corporation in 2001. It commenced exhibition activities open to the public in 2002, initially in loaned space in a corporate office park located in Bloomington, Minnesota. The organization initially showcased Russian Realist-style paintings from the late 19th century as well as from the Soviet era (1917–1991). The museum received initial funding from Minnesota residents Raymond and Susan Johnson, who had established an extensive personal collection of Russian art and artifacts. It was initially managed by Bradford Shinkle from its founding in 2001 until his retirement in 2008. Both Johnson and Shinkle have multiple connections to Russian culture. Johnson was appointed an Honorary Consul for the Russian Federation in 2003, and in recognition of their respective contributions "to international cultural diversity and education" both Johnson (2005) and Shinkle (2009) were awarded Russia's Order of Friendship Medal, the highest civilian honor accorded to non-Russian citizens.
In 2005, TMORA acquired and thoroughly remodeled the former Mayflower Church in south Minneapolis, a 75-year-old building that previously served as a Congregational church and funeral home. The building received special recognition for adaptive reuse from the Minnesota Heritage Preservation Commission. TMORA now operates a state-of-the-art exhibition facility that includes 18,000 square feet (1,700 m2) of display galleries and administrative offices. Under Bradford Shinkle's leadership the range of exhibition subjects was substantially expanded to include the categories of iconography, photography, folk art and toys as well as lacquer objects.
Among the highlights of TMORA's extensive schedule of exhibitions is Masterpieces of Russian Lacquer Art, featuring over a hundred lacquered miniatures from Fedoskino, Palekh, Kholuy and Mstera on loan from the Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City, the State Tretyakov Gallery of Moscow and the Museum of Decorative, Applied and Folk Arts of Moscow, as well as from the personal collection of Lucy Maxym, one of the foremost authorities on lacquer artwork.
Following Mr. Shinkle's retirement in 2008, TMORA's directorship was assumed by Judith Dutcher, a former Minnesota state auditor and president of the Minnesota Community Foundation. Dutcher led the Museum through a period of staff expansion and engagement with leading community based corporate and foundation financial supporters. She was instrumental in continuing the evolution of TMORA's exhibition activities and initiated events that included the categories of textiles, porcelain, and matryoshka dolls. She left the museum in November, 2010 and Shinkle resumed his prior role as president and director.
TMORA has established international lending relationships with numerous Russian national and regional museums including the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), State Museum of Yaroslaval (Yaroslaval); TMORA regularly hosts delegations of visiting Russian museum professionals from throughout Russia who are attracted by its status as the only museum in North America dedicated solely to the exhibition of diversified subjects of Russian artistry.
In addition to year-round changing exhibitions, TMORA offers lecture series, seminars, social functions and other special events.