The Museum of Russian Art

On Friday I finally had a chance to visit The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis with an old friend (I am not saying that Susan is old or that I am old either, but that I have known her a long time-about 10 years. I met Susan at library school and her sister Sara too). Anyways, the Museum is housed in a beautiful 1935 Spanish Colonial Revival church (see below) and “is presently the only non-profit museum in North America dedicated solely to the preservation and presentation of educational exhibitions and related events pertaining to Russian art and artifacts from the 19th and 20th centuries.”

There are currently two exhibits: Russian Impressionsim and photographs by Sergei M. Prokudin-Gorskii- “The Lost Empire: Photographs to the Tsar”. Prokudin-Gorskii traveled around the Russian Empire from 1909-1915 taking photographs and then left Russia in 1918 with his photographs. After his death, the photographs were sold to the Library of Congress. I found a copy of one (see below) that was in the exhibit, its of the Emir of Bukhara from 1911. Don’t you just love the colors and notice the detail on the doors behind the Emir.

They also have a great gift shop, which is a bit pricey, but they have some really nice items-like a Fabergé egg for $1000 (its a beautiful blue with diamonds and comes with a tiny elephant- very Mughal looking. So if you are looking for a birthday gift for me you know where to go!), they have religious icons and nesting dolls and tons of books. I bought a book on Muslims in Russia called “For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia.” I always believe that you should buy things from museum gift shops, because its a way for them to make a little extra money. I mean do you really think that your ticket purchase (in this case it was $5.00) is paying for the upkeep of the museum? For museums every little bit helps. I was hoping that they would have had a exhibition catalog or book on Prokudin-Gorskii and his photographs, but they did not (I did find a used one on called “Photographs of the Tsar: the Pioneering Color Photography of Sergei Mikhailovich Produkin-Gorskii Commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II” by Robert Allshouse from 1980 which looks interesting).

Photo of the Museum of Russian Art from their website

Photo of Emir of Bukhara from and originally taken from Library of Congress