National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus


The collection of documentary materials is a significant part of the collection of the National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus. It presents the sources of Belarusian history from the beginning of the 16th century to the present day. The collection includes more than 35 thousand items. These are different types and kinds of documents in the Belarusian, Old Belarusian, Russian, Polish, Latin, French, German languages.

Systematic scientific acquisition of the collection began in the 1950s in connection with the 1957 decision on the establishment of a steering team of the museum. A significant part of the documents was collected during expeditions, obtained from individuals, transferred from the Belarusian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War History, Hrodna Historical and Archaeological Museum, the Central State Historical Archive in Mahilioŭ. A separate group of documents is a part of the holdings of the prerevolutionary Minsk Church History and Archaeology Museum, the pre-war Belarusian State Museum and the Belarusian Museum named after Ivan Lutskevich.

The first documents got into the collection in 1957 were materials of Vladimir Nartysh-Bluk, participant of the 1905 Revolution and the Civil War.

The earliest document in the collection dates back to 1507, it is a prince Konstanty Ostrogski’s fundusz of the Smaliavičy church. Sources over a period of feudalism are presented by such documents as royal charters, gift certificates, deeds of sale of land, receipts on debts, will, extracts from major Minsk tribunal books, lease contracts, mortgages. A separate group of documents is a part of the Radziwill Niasviž archive.

The unique items of the collection are presented by the parchment charters of the 16th-17th centuries: Confirmation of the village of Bieražnoje by Queen Bona to boyar Aliesza Pietrowicz (1524), Grant of the Manor of Chojniki by Princess Lubecka to her husband Szczęsny Charlęski (1568), Grant of the land in Minsk by Princess Drucka-Horska to Minsk Peter and Paul monastery (1613), Privilege of the lands by King Sigismund I to Princess Anastasia of Sluck’s boyar (1508).

The archive of Sluck Trinity Monastery has a great value. The collection has 2 volumes of the archive of great importance for the history of the Orthodox Church in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. This part of the archive contains more than one thousand documents of the 16th-18th centuries, devoted to the history of Orthodox churches and monasteries. The archive contains the royal charters, rescripts of clergy, notarial documents.

Among the interesting materials on genealogy there is a collection of the family trees of the gentry of Viciebsk province "Genealogiczne Linije" from 1808 to 1820. In some documents one can find information about the representatives of such famous Belarusian families as the Sapiehas or Radziwills. Among the latest acquisitions, there are documents of the noble Terlecki-Lenkiewicz family, the Vladomirsky family, Minsk residents Murashko, Gundilovich, genealogical tables of the Bulhak, Piotrowski, Pawlowski, Babicki families.

Documents on the history of Catholic, Orthodox and Uniate churches in Belarus characterize their property status, the monastic estates and religious practice. In this collection one can find documents from the archives of the Kuciejna convent, fragment of the Hrozava St. Nicholas Church archive, the vestry book in the provincial Lutheran parish (1886), the individual decisions of Minsk spiritual consistory and Vilna Roman Catholic Consistory, church audit certificates, monastery inventories, and extracts from church parish registers.

Economic development of Belarus in the mid-19th - early 20th century is presented by acts of purchase and sale of land, demarcation of land, payment books, insurance policies, lease contracts, etc. The collection includes a number of decisions relating to municipal services: Minsk city council announcements about the electric tram in Minsk (1901), mandatory resolution of the Minsk City Duma on the content of commercial and industrial institutions, health measures while the sale of food (late 19th century).

Interesting sources on the history of Education and Culture are preserved: documents on the construction of Minsk City Theatre (1880s), documents of the Natural History, Ethnography, and Archaeology Society of Minsk and the Minsk City Museum in 1912-1915, the teacher F. Pavlovich note about the development of education in the town of Klimavičy, theatre programs, diplomas, certificates, proxime accessits of gymnasium, copybooks, information about the number of schools, libraries, etc. There are also documents on the activities of the first Belarusian newspaper "Nasza Niva".

Telegrams, reports to Minsk governor about the plight in different districts, refugees’ documents, inventories of personal and real estate and soldiers’ letters from the front indicate the situation in Belarus during the First World War.

Holdings of the museum contain documents on the history of Western Belarus (1921-1939): deeds of land purchase, payment books, documents of Siarhei Prytytski, the revolutionary activist in Western Belarus.

The collection of documents from the period of the Great Patriotic War reflects the events on the fronts, the activity of partisan groups, life in the occupied territories. Orders, certificates, diplomas, order books, certificates of participants of the war, notes of thanks are stored in the collection. Among such documents one can find the documents of Marshal Stepan Krasovsky, one of the organizers of the L.Popkov partisan movement, documents of Heroes of the Soviet Union Aliaksey Kliashchou, Petr Saenko, Kiryl Arlouski, et al.

Materials on the participation of the Belarusians in the development of virgin lands and the construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway are of great interest and value.

The collection of cultural figures’ documents include materials of A.Avramenko, Vasil' Bykaw, Zair Azgur, Oscar Mariks, Piatro Hlebka, Aliaksey Dudarau, Vasily Zolotarev, Larysa Aliaksandrouskaya, Tamara Nizhnikova, Kandrat Krapiva, Ryhor Pukst, Zdzislau Stoma, Stefaniya Stanyuta, etc.