HISTORY OF MUSEOLOGY IN BELOZERSK:
Belozersk, one of the most ancient towns in Russia, did not have its own museum for a very long time. From 1868 to 1918, old manuscripts, books, crosses and other items from the ancient Belozersk churches are known to be taken out to the Novgorod Museum of Antiquities.
In 1915, some efforts were made to establish a Museum of Antiquities in the county town of Belozersk. However, these plans of the Belozersk Town Council were never implemented. In 1916, the Belozersk District Administration suggested creating a Museum of Agriculture, Veterinary and Local Studies in the town. There were also some other museum ideas but they were not followed out before the revolution.
It is commonly believed that the Belozersk museum was founded in 1918. In April of this year, the former wine warehouse hosted an exhibition of the abundant collection of bronze items which belonged to Duke Semyon Abamelik-Lazarev. One archive document (a record made in the middle of 1920) mentions the Belozersk District Museum as a branch of the Cherepovets Province Museum. It states that the Belozersk museum has the Bronze Department (202 items), Paintings Department and etc. (184 items), Zoological Department (26 items), Numismatics Department (117 items). The museum had 529 items in total in those times. In 1926, the collection of bronze items belonged to Semyon Abamelik-Lazarev was handed over to the Cherepovets Province Museum by order of the Province Executive Committee.
The Belozersk Museum existed from 1918 to 1954. The Local Lore Museum was administrated by the Department of Education up to 1945.
In the hard period 1920-1930 the museum had a high employee turnover. It was often run by a part-time employee from the Political Education Office. While the employees were changing, the museum was closed and its items could be distributed among other museums. So, only two people worked in the museum in 1935: its director and watchman.
Although there were no museum specialists and no systematic collection, research and stock management activities were carried out the Local Lore Museum survived even during the Great Patriotic War. It was housed in the Church of Peter and Paul. The museum exhibited the local nature (samples of tree species, stuffed animals), significant objects of the Soviet industry (items manufactured by the town factories). The museum funds contained 428 items with a unique collection of ancient books among them.
In 1954, the Belozersk Local Lore Museum was closed by the resolution of the Vologda Regional Executive Committee as “non serving its purpose and having no conditions for its further development”. Its most valuable exhibits were handed over to the Kirillo-Belozersky Museum at that time.
The renewal of the Belozersk museum started in the 1960s thanks to history teacher Rimma Novikova (1924-1989) who formed a local history study group in High School No. 2 and shared all her knowledge, love to her subject and history of her small homeland with children. Led by Rimma, students collected information on their townmen who took part in the Great Patriotic War, revolutionary events, first young communists, held correspondence with them, arranged meetings and wrote down their memories. That interest group had a lot of expeditions in the district in order to collect materials on history and development of folk crafts. Students took part in the archeological expedition led by L.A.Golubeva. A collection of more than 4000 items appeared as a result of such fruitful activities.
In 1967, Rimma Novikova organized a public museum based on her local history study group. The museum received its premises in the library building the same year to locate the Local History and Craftsmen exhibitions. First tours were made by the interest group members themselves. The museum continued its existence during 9 years on a voluntary basis. In 1976, a state museum status was assigned to it and the museum was officially opened in the ancient mansion house (Ananin’s house) in 1977.
From 1976, the Belozersk Museum was a branch of the Kirillo-Belozersky Reserve Museum of History, Art and Architecture.
In 1981, the Sergey Orlov House Museum was established as a subdivision of the Belozersk Museum to the memory of the talented poet, front-line soldier and Maksim Gorky State Award winner. This house museum was located at 12, Dzerzhinskogo street, in the building where the poet’s family lived from 1936 to 1942.
In 1987, another subdivision was opened — the Museum of Honorary Citizen of Belozersk Petr Georgievsky where one could get familiar with his life and activities. Petr Georgievsky did a lot for development of Belozersk and its district and creation of living environment there.
In 1993, the museum separated from the Kirillo-Belozersky Reserve Museum of History, Art and Architecture and gained a status of an independent establishment called the Belozersk Museum of History and Art.
In 1994, the Russian Log House (“Izba”) exposition was opened in the recitation room in the Sergey Orlov Museum. Its founder and inspirer was Margarita Druzhinina. The new exposition quickly got attention and became very popular among locals and visitors. It was created to learn and bring up children following the Russian folk traditions. Visiting the museum, children got to know how people lived in the old times, what kind of customs they had, how they met for gatherings and organized folk festivals. In 1997, the exposition moved to the other building on the territory of the Belozersk Kremlin and the Russian Izba Museum was created on its basis.
In 1994, an exhibition hall was opened in the Church of Peter and Paul. From 1998, the Local History Department of the Museum was located there with its interesting exhibitions.
In 2002, the Art Department of the Museum was opened in the old building of the district treasure house. The opening was at the same time when the association of artists was formed and their first joint exhibition called the Belozersk Range of Colors was organized.
In June 2006, the exposition of nature was opened on the territory of the Belozersk Kremlin. Its author and founder was museum employee Andrey Volov.
In July 2008, the Museum was placed under regional control and gained its new status of a state cultural facility and its new name – the Belozersk Regional Museum of Local Lore. Since 2011, the Museum has been a state-financed cultural establishment of the Vologda Region under the authority of the local Department of Culture and Tourism.
In 2012, expositions in new buildings appeared: the History of Belozersk Museum (28, Frunze street) and the White Lake Museum (5, Vikulova street).
In 2019, the Russian Izba Museum was renamed as the Museum of Ethnography.