National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus

“Great Presentation of Museum Relics: 79 steps into the depth of history”

  • 02.09.2015

The National History Museum of the Republic of Belarus invites its visitors to see the exhibition project “Great Presentation of Museum Relics: 79 steps into the depth of history”. The exposition dedicated to the release of the illustrated album “National History Museum of the Republic of Belarus” gets the public familiarized with the variety and richness of the collections kept at the main historical museum of our country.

The exhibition “79 steps into the depth of history” features over 2 thousand rarities representing 20 collections. Each collection has its unique thrilling history – this is one of the central ideas of the exhibition. Few of those exhibits were presented to the public before, while the majority of them have never been displayed. Among the rarities demonstrated for the first time are maps of the 18-19th centuries, documents of the early 19th century, including a certificate confirming noble origin of a person, photo-albums illustrating the work of Minsk schools in the early 20th century, Muslim funeral attributes and many more.

These and other valuable monuments of history help the visitors to realize how rich and many-sided the collections of the National History Museum are. Those interested in numismatics will see rare coins dating back to the Antique period and those excavated as parts of hidden treasures in different corners of Belarus. The exhibition also features clock watches, artworks, medals, furniture, metal articles, books, icons and others. For the first time, the whole collection of Slutsk belts, their fragments and analogues is demonstrated. The exhibition is addressed to the wide audience and, first of all, to those appreciating unhasting and thoughtful trips into the depth of history. Curator of the exhibition “Great Presentation of Museum Relics: 79 steps into the depth of history” academic secretary of the National History Museum of the Republic of Belarus Oleg Ladisov told about the exhibition in his interview to Radio “Belarus”.


Mr. Ladisov, the National History Museum brings a display of unique items to public notice. Would you please characterize the exhibits demonstrated at the exhibition?

We titled our exhibition as “79 steps into the depth of history”. Our display is demonstrated on the second floor of our building and one has to go up 79 steps from the entrance to the exposition hall. Actually, there are a lot of children among the visitors of our museum, and we tell them about it – they like curiosities like this very much. Honestly speaking, we discussed several possible titles for this exhibition but still preferred the idea of 79 steps. Thus, out exhibition is titled as “Great Presentation of Museum Relics. 79 steps into the depth of history”. We called it great not because of its extraordinary scale and number of exhibits but because we prepared a project that will last for a long period of time. We hope to open a new exhibition like this every year telling our audience new and new facts about the collections of the National History Museum. It is not a secret that we have many collections and sub-collections that have never been displayed before and we are eager to tell about them and show them to our visitors. Besides, it would be very interesting to organize exhibitions of recent acquisitions, as every year, from 3 to 4 thousand new items replenish our stocks.

You know, talking to historians, archeologists, museum experts I often hear the word “relic”. And today, I heard it from you – it is present in the title of the current exhibition we are talking about. So what is your explanation to the word “relic”?

Museum experts use different words denoting museum items of exceptional value: we often call them rarities, unicates, etc. This time, we use the word “relic”. Pronouncing this word we mean items directly linked with the past of Belarus and properly researched by scientists. For example, in the current exhibition you can see a number of Roman coins. At first glance, one can think that they have nothing in common with the Belarusian history. However, we know that Belarus has always been the place where trading ways crossed and representatives of different countries, cultures, religions met.

By the way, recently, Belarusian archeologists from the National Academy of Sciences told me that they discovered traces of Goths in the Belavezha Forest Reserve and that they knew about the traces of Romans that reached the present Belarusian territory.

Yes, it is so indeed. And returning to the theme of relics, I should add that the word “relic” can have different additional senses depending on the context. Thus, a common postcard can be a relic if it is addressed to a famous person or bears historically important information.

I would like to point out that we didn’t include archeological items into this exhibition. As a matter of fact, we are preparing a new exhibition devoted to the ancient history of Belarus that will feature our archeological collections. The same about photographs. We have a lot of documents like this, the collection of photos is one of the largest, but it is widely represented in other expositions. At the same time, we wanted to present the collections that are seldom demonstrated to the public, such as furniture, personal documents, clocks, graphics and others. In addition, we show some curious exhibits from the collection related to the war time formed in 1950ies predominantly.

Mr. Ladisov, and what would be your recommendations for the visitors about how one should acquaint himself with the exhibition “Great Presentation of Museum Relics. 79 steps into the depth of history”?

First of all, we should take into account that the exhibition is demonstrated in the historical museum but, at the same time, it contains many exhibits related to art. This is why artistic comprehension of history is a key to understanding of this display. It is important to point out that working on this exhibition, we selected the items created in the pre-industrial period – it means, the time when all the things were handmade and unique. All of them are warmed up by the hands and hearts of the people who made them. This is why we can feel the difference between the contemporary world and the time when these items were made and used. It seems to me, then, people appreciated beauty, balance and harmony. Our contemporaries need them too, but today’s people try to travel as often as possible, discover the world, acquaint themselves with different cultures and traditions, and household things they use every day are less important for them. Things should be rather functional than beautiful. And the things we included into our exhibition call us to get to the world of different attitude to the life and things, different dimension and mentality. The exhibition “Great Presentation of Museum Relics. 79 steps into the depth of history” is addressed to the wide audience and I would say that it is better to visit it alone to have time to think, read the comments about the history of exhibits, stay face to face with the things bearing an imprint of history.

© Belteleradiocompany, 2015

Photos submitted by the National History Museum of the Republic of Belarus