Time of fun and games

State Historical Museum Exhibitions

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Event date

11.10.2019 - 16.03.2020

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Venue: Exhibition Complex of State Historical Museum, Revolution Square, 2/3

State Historical Museum presents an exhibition telling about holidays, entertainments and mass celebrations in Russia in the 17th – in the beginning of 20th centuries. The exposition, which is based on folk and city costumes, posters and placards, the collection of carnival sleighs and objects of applied and decorative arts, allows to form a view of ​​various Russian amusements and games on the ground of objects which have never been exhibited before.

About 400 exhibits tell about entertainments - booths, knuckle fighting and downhill sledging, as well as about new ones that appeared with a change of the course of the empire - fireworks, promenades, circuses, cinema.

Located in the exposition the “Archeology of amusement” will allow to see artifacts of the Stone, Bronze age, the time of ancient settlements on the Black sea and the Middle Ages, which give evidence of amusements in antiquity.

One of the main holidays of the year was Maslenitsa. In the days of festivities, downhill sledging and ice-skating were the most favorite activities, as well as horse-drawn sledge ride.

Among the exhibits it will be seen skates, sledge descent of the mountains, as well as elegant sleds, on which residents in the horse-drawn sledge with jingle-bells and sleigh-bells raced along the streets of cities and villages. There were also palace rides. The exhibition will feature the masquerade sledge of Catherine II with the image of Minerva, striking hardships.

Bright clothes gave special brilliance both winter and summer festivities: fur coats, mantles, velvet caftans, stockings, lace umbrellas, hats with flowers, embroidered shawls. Outfits of fashionable men and women of past centuries will be also presented at the exhibition.

Attending major city holidays was an important part of life of the nobility. Since the time of Peter the Great, the new form of such celebrations has become the "enlightenment garden", and "funny" details have become one of the most important elements of any celebration. The exhibition exposes several items created to surprise the public: a pineapple bag, corn snacks made of porcelain, a fig flask and a mug from which a frog jumps out. The "funny lights" or fireworks, which found the special range under Peter I, served both as entertainment and as a mean of propaganda of the imperial reforms. The graphic series, presented at the exhibition with documentary authenticity, shows the composition of the fireworks created in the 18th century.

The popular form of entertainment was not only spectacles and performances, but also were games. Among different segments of the population were spread games such as svaika, goose and dibs. Now some kinds of games are still played in, but some of them are forgotten. What were the rules of tabletop games and how they looked more than 200 years ago the painted board of the 18th century for playing goose will show.

The special space at the exposition is the “Children's Fun” zone, where children can relax, play and also learn funny short poems that were once shouted in squares and streets.

With the help of multimedia programs, visitors will see the reconstruction of the fireworks and get acquainted with the “wine list” of taverns and restaurants.

The exhibition demonstrates not only the most interesting items from the collection of State Historical Museum, related to Russian holidays and entertainment, but also gives visitors the opportunity, thanks to the design and interactive elements, to participate personally in the traditional Russian funs.