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The Costumer's Manifesto is written by Tara Maginnis, and proudly hosted by William Baker.


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Visiting The Costume Collections of St. Petersburg

Note: This article was written in January 1995, for The Lady's Gallery. Although it was accepted, and they did not return my color photros before their demise, it did not appear before the journal folded.  Small portions of this article were edited and altered by my third editor at the St.Petersburg Press, and made into the short article <a href="../../TARA/1pages/ARTICLES.HTM">"The Empress' Old Clothes"</a>. Prices in rubles quoted in the article are now completely out of date, given a yearly inflation rate in Russia of about 100%, but the dollar prices rise a bit more slowly than that, and may only have risen about 30%.  You may print this article out for your convenience for travel planning.

The St. Petersburg area has many museums to interest the visitor to Russia, not the least of which are those museums either partly or wholly devoted to costume. Russian costume museum collections usually differ markedly in style and content from Western collections, and consequently are additionally interesting because of their "unusual" nature.

The Ethnographic Museum:

<a href="../ethnomuseum/museumarial2.jpg"> <img src="../ethnomuseum/museumarial2t.jpg" border="0" width="94" height="144"></a> <a href="../ethnomuseum/gb488.jpg"> <img src="../ethnomuseum/gb488t.jpg" border="0" width="108" height="75"></a>

For example, the most spectacular display of costume in St. Petersburg is at the Russian Ethnographical Museum (formerly the Ethnographic Museum of the Peoples of the USSR). The Ethnographic Museum was originally a part of the Russian Museum (which is next door) built prior to the 1917 Revolution, however in 1934 it became a separate entity as, under Stalin, the study, display and enshrinement of indigenous folk arts of the USSR was used to serve political ends.

<a href="../ethnomuseum/museumdisplay1.jpg"> <img src="../ethnomuseum/museumdisplay1t.jpg" border="0" width="144" height="98"></a>

Unlike English costume museums, which tend to focus on history, or French ones that stick to costume as couture, Russian costume museums under the Soviets primarily collected costume as proletarian artwork. As a result Russia has the best museum collections of "folk" costume worldwide, with the Ethnographic Museum in St. Petersburg considered to be the preeminent one of its kind. The museum displays a whopping total of 250,000 objects of folk art, mostly dated from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A large percentage of these are costumes, jewelry, costume accessories and textiles. The museum also houses rotating exhibits of contemporary folk arts.

<a href="../ethnomuseum/museumdisplay4.jpg"> <img src="../ethnomuseum/museumdisplay4t.jpg" border="0" width="94" height="144"></a>

All the costumes on display are of uniformly high quality. Most particularly notable are the costumes in the hall devoted to ethnic Russian peasant dress. Routinely you can find art and design students in this hall sketching the costumes for class projects or for sale to the main Museum gift shop. Also on display are items from the other Republics which made up the former USSR. A particularly spectacular Chukchi (Eastern Siberian) Shaman's garment is on display on the second floor of the West wing, and should on no account be missed. There is also a constant rotation of small new exhibits (now there is a display of restored antique fans) that help to make up for an equal rotation of small sections of the main collection being closed, presumably for maintenance.

<a href="../ethnomuseum/museumdisplayheadress.jpg"> <img src="../ethnomuseum/museumdisplayheadresst.jpg" border="0" width="93" height="144"></a>

The "Ethno" Museum is one of the best under-visited tourist attractions in the city. Despite being in the very center of St. Petersburg, scarcely a block from the Grand Hotel Europe, it is never crowded even in the height of tourist season or on weekends. As a result, the lady security guards, far from turning into scowling watchdogs (as those stuck in the more overcrowded museums do) are dying to talk and show their treasures. And it is also one of the cheaper museums for the foreign tourist to visit. Solely in the main collection there is enough to interest the costume enthusiast for an entire day. It is helpful to bring along a pocket Russian dictionary, since all museum captions are in Russian (as they are in all the museums), but generally the costumes speak for themselves.

<a href="../ethnomuseum/museumladies.jpg"> <img src="../ethnomuseum/museumladiest.jpg" border="0" width="144" height="99"></a> <a href="../ethnomuseum/museumladyanddisplay.jpg"> <img src="../ethnomuseum/museumladyanddisplayt.jpg" border="0" width="93" height="144"></a> Wonderful museum guide/guards are friendly and helpful.

The management of the Ethnographic Museum has moved with the times, and is installing high quality new exhibits in the place of some rather tedious politically motivated ones left from it's former Soviet self. To raise capital to pay for improvements the museum maintains three gift buying locations: A main gift shop with modern folk crafts and books, a small hall displaying St. Petersburg style floral beadwork jewelry, and a textile arts demonstration area in the Russian hall that sells the products of demonstrations.

<a href="../ethnomuseum/museumarial.jpg"> <img src="../ethnomuseum/museumarialt.jpg" border="0" width="144" height="97"></a>

If you have extra cash, or all day to see the whole museum, or better still both, in addition to the main exhibit (which is almost endless) there are two "extra" exhibits that cost 5000p ($1.50) each to enter. One is the hard to find "Gold Hall" which houses the highly valuable jewelry and jewel encrusted costume accessories of the collection in a bank vault type space. This exhibit shows many of the magnificent examples of folk jewelry you may have seen in the book Russian Jewelry from the 16th through 20th Centuries. Take a right towards the Russian hall, then, before the entrance take a left into the Ukrainian hall, then turn right. The Gold room is hidden at the far end of the hall, through a small doorway.

[The Ethnographic Museum is sending their "Gold Room" objects out on tour! See them at their new official web site:
<a href="" add_date="872498535" last_visit="872498203" last_modified="872498203">Treasures of St. Petersburg</a> ]

<a href="../ethnomuseum/museumdisplay2.jpg"> <img src="../ethnomuseum/museumdisplay2t.jpg" border="0" width="93" height="144"></a>

You may only tour the Gold room in tiny groups, with a guide. To guarantee a spot, and get your tour in English, book one day in advance. The other extra exhibit is in the central Marble Hall, between the two main galleries. This hall houses rotating exhibits, whose content and quality tend to vary. However, at present, there is a true "blockbuster" exhibit in the space, the "Emperor's Collection," which has all that glitters in the way of costume and jeweled objects. Especially lovely are a group of Tartar robes, with highly ornate embroidery. Also interesting is a group of china figures depicting the costumes of the various ethnic regions of the Russian Empire. This is not the well known late 18th Century set formerly on display at the Hermitage, but a 1908-1913 set with far greater detail. This display too has a rare 19th Century Evenskii Shaman-woman costume, and some spectacular Russian costumes and textiles.

<a href="../ethnomuseum/museumdisplay3.jpg"> <img src="../ethnomuseum/museumdisplay3t.jpg" border="0" width="93" height="144"></a> Click Here to see new color photos of <a href="ETHNOGRA.HTM">The Ethnographic Museum</a> collection.

<a name="The Costume">The Costume</a> Gallery at the Catherine Palace:

The next most impressive permanent costume display in the area is not in St. Petersburg itself, but at the Catherine Palace in the outlying town of Pushkin (formerly Tzarkoe Selo) the nearby summertime residence of the Tsar and his court. The Catherine Palace and Park in Pushkin is the tourist destination which visitors to the city most often rave about. And no wonder, located slightly inland from the swampy riverfront areas all the other attractions lie on, it enjoys cool unpolluted Springs and Summers, golden Falls, and sugar frosting Winters. If the weather is bad in St. Petersburg it will be nice in Pushkin, if the weather in the city is good, the weather in Pushkin will be even better. The town also possesses terrific Pre-Revolutionary architecture, beautiful old tree lined streets, and several good restaurants.

<a href="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/catherinepalace.jpg"> <img border="2" src="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/catherinepalace_small.jpg" alt="catherinepalace.jpg (76179 bytes)" width="177" height="125"></a> <a href="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/catherineslake.jpg"> <img border="2" src="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/catherineslake_small.jpg" alt="catherineslake.jpg (72199 bytes)" width="172" height="125"></a> <a href="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/catherineswell.jpg"> <img border="2" src="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/catherineswell_small.jpg" alt="catherineswell.jpg (85264 bytes)" width="125" height="172"></a>

The central attraction in Pushkin is the Catherine Park, a large, lovely, and well maintained 18th Century royal playground. In the Park is the Catherine Palace, the most aesthetic and comfortable of the royal palaces in the area. To one side of the main Palace is the Cameron Gallery, built for Catherine II, and now housing the <a href="../../HISTORY/100pages/camerongallery.htm">Costume Gallery</a> also known as the "Everyday Life Costumes and Articles of Russia from the End of the 18th to the Beginning of the 20th Centuries, Court Costumes, Civil Costumes, Court Servant's Costumes and the Costumes of the [military] Schools" Exhibit. While the display techniques of this exhibit are antiquated, and the Gallery ill-suited to the purpose, the costumes themselves are wonderful.

The exhibit contains a great deal of royal costume including the military dress of the Tzars beginning with Catherine II <a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron13.JPG"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron13_small.JPG" alt="cameron13.JPG (13595 bytes)" border="2" width="99" height="145"></a> and ending with Nicholas II, Alexander I's wedding costume <a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron21.JPG"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron21_small.JPG" alt="cameron21.JPG (32040 bytes)" border="2" width="99" height="145"></a> , pretty pink & silver court dress uniforms <a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron10.JPG"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron10_small.JPG" alt="cameron10.JPG (16051 bytes)" border="2" width="55" height="145"></a> for the daughters of Nicholas II, and a whole wardrobe of the Tzarevitch Alexi <a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron5.jpg"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron5_small.jpg" alt="cameron5.jpg (68726 bytes)" border="2" width="145" height="70"></a> , showing a tiny procession of ornate military uniforms. There are also some really lovely full court dress uniforms for both women <a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron2.jpg"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron2_small.jpg" alt="cameron2.jpg (26068 bytes)" border="2" width="96" height="145"></a> and men  <a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron20.JPG"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron20_small.JPG" alt="cameron20.JPG (20333 bytes)" border="2" width="76" height="145"></a>, which are almost entirely covered in metal embroidery<a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron25.JPG"><img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron25_small.JPG" alt="cameron25.JPG (69819 bytes)" border="2" width="121" height="145"></a>. For those interested in obscure bits of African American historical trivia, the exhibit also shows the servant's livery of the African American boxer-turned-body-guard <a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron14.JPG"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron14_small.JPG" alt="cameron14.JPG (18199 bytes)" border="2" width="84" height="145"></a> who was a member of Nicholas II's personal staff.

In the "Everyday Life" section is a quantity of beautiful upper class men's and women's clothing <a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron24.JPG"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron24_small.JPG" alt="cameron24.JPG (32567 bytes)" border="2" width="89" height="145"></a>, with some splendid 1780's embroidered court suits <a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron29.JPG"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron29_small.JPG" alt="cameron29.JPG (62640 bytes)" border="2" width="145" height="131"></a>, Turn-of-the-Century wedding gowns <a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron26.JPG"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron26_small.JPG" alt="cameron26.JPG (33208 bytes)" border="2" width="97" height="145"></a>, and Russian revival costumes <a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron32.JPG"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron32_small.JPG" alt="cameron32.JPG (13281 bytes)" border="2" width="64" height="145"></a>. As with all "historical" costume collections in Russia, history abruptly ends in 1917. The history of costume since 1917 in Russia has not yet been written or collected for museum display, and is only just beginning (in books like Soviet Textiles 1918-1939, or Revolutionary Costume) to be unearthed.

Interestingly, except for those costumes worn by the Tsar and his family, the explanatory captions in the Costume Gallery again focus on the costumes as the "work of Russian craftsmen" rather than who wore them. Even this overwhelmingly royalist, aristocratic display, has in it a bow to the old Soviet political agenda.

While you are there also take time to tour the interior of the Palace and the grounds of the Park. The Catherine Palace, is a beautifully restored and furnished example of 18th Century Russian Baroque style. The Palace, in addition to many spectacular rooms, houses both a royal portrait gallery and a special exhibit gallery. The special exhibit gallery periodically shows items of a costume nature, such as Faberge jewelry, or this year, The "Tsarkoe Selo in the Age of Catherine The Great" exhibit which includes some dress uniforms belonging to Catherine. The main palace also has a guest court of high quality souvenir shops with the best amber jewelry selection in the area.

<a href="../../history/camerongallery/cameron3.jpg"> <img src="../../history/camerongallery/cameron3_small.jpg" alt="cameron3.jpg (31827 bytes)" border="2" width="134" height="145"></a> Click Here to see more color photos of<a href="../../HISTORY/100pages/camerongallery.htm"> The Cameron Gallery </a>collection.

The Kunstkamera:

Another important display of ethnic costume is the collection known variously as the Kunstkamera, or "The Peter The Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography". The Kunstkamera houses one of the larger displays of ethnic costume in the world, with particularly strong collections in the indigenous dress of <a href="AKNATIVE.HTM">Alaska</a>.

Alaskan costumes (like Siberian costumes) are especially interesting for their creative use of unusual materials: fish skin, bird skin, metal and bone fetishes, intestines, furs, and leathers. Connoisseurs of Indian and Eskimo masks will find that many of the best examples often shown in books on the subject were photographed here. The Alaskan collection includes one of the less than half a dozen folding-cup style suits of "armor" in a collection (used by costal Eskimos to defend against raids by the technologically advanced and warlike Tlingit tribes of the South-East). The Tlingit Indians, (who formed the main opposition to the Russian Invasion) are also well represented with armor, hats, masks, Three <a href="">Chilcat blankets</a> (heraldic robes), and a rare Raven's Tail blanket.

And this is only the Alaskan section. The Native peoples of the rest of North America, Oceania, Australia, Asia, and Africa are also represented through costume. The museum shows a set of full royal regalia (executed in feathers) worn by King Kameamea I of Hawaii, two rare Pomo (California) Indian feathered dance robes, a set of East Indian theatrical costumes, a straw Maori heraldic blanket-robe, two sets of Samurai armor, and a host of Asian costumes of all kinds. There is also a new, modern gallery section (no extra cost) showing the prizes of the museum's collection of Siberian and Alaskan ivory carvings, the preeminent one of it's kind worldwide.

Except for this section, display techniques are pretty much 19th Century style, however, this turns to one's advantage, since these methods are highly space-conserving, you get to see quite a lot of objects considering the relatively small size of the museum.

The museum, having been founded by Peter I (and built from 1718-34), also contains two suits worn by Peter I, as well as a bronze copy of his death mask. The Kunstkamera was the first public museum in Russia, and began with scientifically educational displays from Peter's own collection. It's purpose was to disseminate knowledge of the latest tools, machines, exotic stuffed animals, rare books, atlases and archeological finds on display there. The Academy of Sciences was originally located in this building as well, and the most eminent 18th Century Academician, Mikhail Lomonsov, is memorialized in a small museum inside the Kunstkamera under the top of the central dome. Downstairs, also under the dome, is an interesting, if repulsive, display of pickled deformed fetuses and animals that were one of the original displays from the early 18th Century. As two headed baby collections go, it appears to be quite a varied and extensive one, highly popular with school children, if not quite what you'd usually expect to find between two galleries of crafts and costumes of Japan and Africa.

There are also two extra upstairs galleries that rotate exhibits on a variety of archeological and ethnographic subjects. Costs vary depending on the exhibit. The museum does not as yet maintain a gift shop, (although Chinese jewelry and objects are sold at a small table on the stairs,) but one appears to be under the last stages of construction, and should hopefully appear soon.

<a HREF="" ADD_DATE="1002441251" LAST_VISIT="1002441431" LAST_MODIFIED="1002441242">KUNSTKAMERA</a> New Web site!

The Hermitage:

The next spectacular display of costumes is usually at the Hermitage Museum (The former "Winter Palace"). I say usually, because the Hermitage, despite having a large costume collection, does not maintain a constant display, but rather rotates in a new display about once a year. This means if you arrive between displays there may be no costumes whatever on view. However, for much of the year there is a display of some kind, and due to the incredibly rich collection of the museum, it is often of an almost "blockbuster" quality.

Last Summer, for instance they showed the costumes made in 17th Century style for the famous 1903 Romanov Anniversary Ball as part of an exhibit, "Nicholas and Alexandra". Most of these costumes had never been on display since that time. The year before was a large display of ladies couture and court gowns 1890-1910, many of which were worn by the last two Tsarinas.

There is also a constant display of Western European armor dating from 1400-1700 in the "New Hermitage" section, Rm. 243, 2nd floor. The Hermitage is also one of the largest museums in the world, on a par with the Louvre. This means you had best come early, wear comfortable footgear, and plan on spending a whole day or two on walking it. Apart from the many beautiful public rooms of the palace (throne rooms, ballrooms, all the usual), there are dozens of rooms of simple gallery space, including everything from ivory miniatures to Impressionist canvases. It is only slightly less extensive than the Louvre, and a great deal more confusing because of being more compact. It is however, an easier walk.

On the down side, the Hermitage itself also charges a relatively high admission to foreigners, and higher than usual prices for bringing in cameras. Gift shopping at the Hermitage is still in it's embryonic stages-there are very many small gift counters and one large shop, but their goods are high priced and have no reference to the costume collection.

<a HREF="" ADD_DATE="957609595" LAST_VISIT="957610107" LAST_MODIFIED="957609590">The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia -- Powered by IBM</a>

The Theatre Museum and Library:

On a more modest scale are the Museum of Theatrical and Musical Arts and the Theatre Library, located behind the Alexandinsky Theatre. While the Museum is small, (only 4 rooms) and slightly old fashioned, it has rotating exhibits of costumes and renderings on display at all times, and is moreover quite cheap to enter, only 2000p (60c). Taking photos is only 2000p as well. Guards are happy to double as guides (in Russian) and are quite helpful.

Display material comes chiefly from the adjacent Theatre Library: Right now they are hosting an exhibit of the costume renderings of Golovin, best known in the West for his designs for Diagalev, which has been entirely drawn from the Library archives. For research purposes it should be noted that the Library has, in addition to an impressive theatre book collection in all languages, one of the world's largest costume and set rendering collections in the world. Because the library was the former office & library of the old Imperial Theatres, this includes nearly all the designs done for the Imperial Theaters from the 18th through 20th Centuries.

After 1917 other theatre and film designers donated renderings on a voluntary basis, and so there is no shortage of designs to fill out the post Revolutionary period either. There is also a substantial collection of pre-18th Century renderings of European designs for Opera and Ballet, collected by the Imperial Theatre in the 19th Century. This even includes some as yet unattributed sketches of Inigo Jones.

<a HREF="" ADD_DATE="1009176436" LAST_VISIT="1009176419" LAST_MODIFIED="1009176419"> - The St.Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music</a>

Museum of Artillery:

There are a few more interesting military uniforms to be seen at the Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signals, aesthetically located in an old fort between the Peter and Paul Fortress and Lenin Park. The general museum exhibit includes small amounts of uniform, armor and medals along with the arms and armaments of each period. However it is in the special exhibit "Crown and Cloak" that the most interesting garments are kept. Like at the Costume Gallery at the Catherine Palace, this exhibit displays a small selection of military uniforms and uniform portraits of Russian Tsars and their families from Peter I to Nicholas II. Also on display are military orders worn by the Royal family. The museum is host to two small gift booths, one with books on military history, the other with military model kits and reproduction medals at reasonable prices.

<blink>NEW!!!! </blink>The Theatre of the Architectural Interior of St. Petersburg (known as the "Intierney" Theatre for short) now has a fabulous display of masks, renderings, and costumes on public view, including a large hall devoted to their famous set of costumes representing the buildings, statues and monuments of St. Petersburg.  This display includes an 18th Century style court dress in the form of the Kunstkamera Museum, Peter the Great on his Bronze horse, Dom Knigi, etc. as as wearables.  To get there go to the North side (Sunny side) of Nevsky Prospekt , near the Aphrodite Restaurant, opposite the Mayakovskaya Metro (more or less) and look for a doorway that looks like this. 

<a href="../../travel/russia/interiortheatre.jpg"> <img src="../../travel/russia/interiortheatret.jpg" alt="interiortheatret.jpg (10422 bytes)" width="115" height="144"></a>   Entry was $4 for foreigners last Summer. You can't take photos inside, but this poster outside gives you an idea of the wild costumes they do:  <a href="../../travel/russia/interiortheatre2.jpg"> <img src="../../travel/russia/interiortheatre2t.jpg" alt="interiortheatre2t.jpg (9656 bytes)" width="96" height="144"></a> While you are there ask if they are doing any street performances using the costumes and then you can see them in action.

Small Museums:

If you are still hungry for more, there are just a few more costume scrapings in the barrel: You can see some more theatrical costumes at the Chaliapin Memorial Museum, which houses the personal effects (including several opera costumes) of the great singer. If after the Ethno Museum and Kunstkamera, you still haven't seen enough circumpolar costume, there is also a small display of it on the top floor of The Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic, a barely visited antique of a museum. Most amusing about this museum's display is the c.1930 "modern" Chukchi needlework, featuring Soviet era stories done with traditional materials and style. If you long to see more suits worn by Peter the Great, go to Peter the Great's Cabin, a wonderful little wooden house (the first in St. Petersburg), bizarrely preserved inside a brick building. Or, even better, see the Summer Palace of Peter the Great, with even more Petrine outfits, in an un ostentatious little palace in the beautiful Summer Garden near the town center. For further information go to the appendix at the end of this article.

Book Shopping:

For pictures of the costume collection at the Hermitage, visit the book stores on Nevsky Prospekt and look for The Art of Costume in Russia from the 18th to 20th Centuries. This classic book has not gone out of print since its publication in the 1970's, is available in a variety of languages (and with several different titles and covers) and shows the highlights of the Hermitage costume collection in clear, full color photographs. If seeing the Ethnographic Museum has made you want photos of it's costume displays look for National Costumes of the Peoples of the USSR (also published as Folk Costumes of the USSR), and Russian Jewelry from the 16th to 20th Centuries also to be found in these shops. The best book shops for tourists are mainly located on both sides of Nevsky around Gertsina Ul. This includes Maska ("Mask"-Art books, & supplies for makeup & costume, at #13), Mir ("World"-Books in foreign languages at #13 also), Mir's branch Izkustva Magazine  ("Art Shop"-books, posters and quality souvenirs, across from the main store), <a href="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/aldmiraltyarch.jpg"> <img border="2" src="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/aldmiraltyarch_small.jpg" alt="aldmiraltyarch.jpg (71815 bytes)" width="125" height="158"></a> Ctaraya Kniga ("Used Book"-Used and antiquarian books, posters and theatre renderings at #18). The city's main bookstore, <a href="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/books.jpg"> <img border="2" src="../../tara/portfolio/portfolioscans2/books_small.jpg" alt="books.jpg (53657 bytes)" width="191" height="125"></a> Dom Knigi ("House of Books"), located in the Art Nouveau style Singer building on Nevsky opposite Kazan Cathedral at

  1. 28, is the largest in the city, but stocked less for tourists than locals. It is best for
getting the inexpensive and newly published Rysskee Narodnee Kostum (Russian National Costume), and modern Russian fashion journals like Style, and Eva in the technical book department. If your trip to Pushkin has whetted an appetite for books on military costume, there is also a Dom Voennoy Knigi ("House of Military Books") on the north side of Nevsky at the corner of Bolshaya Konyushennaya, which stocks art books, military history books, and general interest works. There are dozens more, scattered on Nevsky and Liteny Prospekts, Marata Ul., and around town.

Costume/Gift Shopping:

If you are looking for Russian ethnic costumes to bring home,

  1. 51 "Art Boutique" on the South side of Nevsky has quite a lot for sale. A few
doors West from #51, next to the Titan theatre (#47) is a shop without a posted number or name, specializing in wearable art and Russian folk jewelry. Handmade Russian lace is available in most gift shops, including the above two, but the biggest selection at low prices is at <a href="../../TRAVEL/00pages/GOSTINY.HTM"> Gostiny Dvor</a> ("Guest Yard" the biggest, oldest department store in town at #35) on the 2nd floor, West side. Russian jewelry is also available most everywhere, with good prices at the shop-with-no-name and the Mir bookstores. To get modern Russian military buttons and insignia at low prices go to the Voennyy Univermag ("Military Department Store",) about a block East at #67 Nevsky Pr. For actual pieces of uniform, unfortunately you must usually buy on the street where it is openly tolerated, but technically illegal. You can however, legally, and cheaply ($4, much less than the on-the-street price), buy Russian sailor shirts in Gostiny Dvor.

Appendix of Practical Information:

  • Russian Ethnographical Museum: Walk from Nevsky Prospekt Metro station across the street to Mikhail Ul. (the street of the Grand Hotel Europe), go down one block to Arts Square (Statue of Pushkin), then skirt around the square to the right, 1/3 of the way, to the big yellow neoclassical building on Inzhenernaya Ul (#4/1). Unless there is a banner for a special exhibition, usually there is only a small plaque to identify the building, and the door is nearly always forbiddingly closed, but the Museum is open Tues.-Sun. 10-6, except for the last Friday of each month. Give the door a very firm shove to open it! Main museum entry is only 2500p (75c), taking photos only costs 1000p (30c), and permission to video is only 2000p (60c), the Gold Hall and Marble Hall are 5000p extra each for entry, no photos allowed.
  • Costume Gallery at the Catherine Palace in Pushkin: Take the Metro to Pushkinskaya, then catch the commute train on the right side of the Vitabesky Station to Pushkin. From there take any one of buses 371, 373, 378, 380, 381, 382, or 473 to the Catherine Park. There is a charge to enter the Park in Summer (usually about $1), but the park is free once the snow flies and the statues are covered in boxes. From the main entrance follow the signs past the Main Palace to the Cameron Gallery. Entrance for foreigners to the Costume Gallery is 3500p ($1.10). You can also take photos or video for only 800p (25c) or 3200p ($1) respectively. Summer hours are Wed.-Sun. 11-5, Winter hours are weekends only 11-5. The Catherine Palace is more expensive, 16,500p ($5) for foreigners, 10,000p ($3) for students, 23,000p ($7) for video, 10,000p ($3) for photos. Rotating exhibits vary in cost.
  • Kunstkamera: To get there take trolley bus 7 or 10 North from Nevsky Prospekt metro station, get off just after you cross the river, and walk along the blue-green building (the Museum) 1/2 block till you can turn right to the first side street. The Kunstkamera entrance is on this side street at #3 Universitetskaya Nab. Hours are 11-5 Sun.-Wed. This means it's closed Thurs., Fri., and Sat. However, in Summer they also open on Thursdays. The Museum is also closed on the last day of each month for cleaning. Please note, since this is a popular museum for family outings, going on Sunday is not recommended unless you genuinely like screaming small-fry. The museum displays, such as pickled deformed babies, preserved heads of tatooed Maori tribesmen, and "topless" mannequins in native dress, get the kids very excited and rowdy. Weekdays, when the kids are in the charge of guides and teachers, are more placid and less crowded. Admission is 7000p ($2.30) for foreigners, no student rates or pictures allowed.
  • Hermitage: Take the Metro to Nevsky Prospekt/Gostiny Dvor station. Exit to Nevsky Prospekt, then hike North-West towards the gold Admiralty spire. Just before you get there you will see a street going off to the right (Ul. Gertsina) towards a yellow arch, head through it. On the other side will be a big square with an angel-topped column in the center (Palace Sq.) and a big peacock green building behind it. The building is The Hermitage. Skirt round to the left to the opposite (river) side for the entrance. Alternatively, for those not up to walking, take the 10 or 7 trolley bus at Nevsky and get off at Palace Square. Hours of operation theoretically are posted as Tuesday through Sunday, 10:30-6, but in fact you'll usually find yourself inexorably being herded towards the exit by the guards a little after 5. On Sunday the herding happens at 4-4:30, and it is a waste of time to argue the point! Rates are 28,000p ($8.50) for foreigners, 16,000p ($5) for foreign students. Guided tours cost somewhat more. To bring in a camera you'll need to pay 25,000p ($7.50) for video and 9,000p ($2.60) for a still camera. Most gallery parts of the museum are "no photo" spots anyway, bring in cameras only for the big spectacular palace rooms. If your Russian is very good you also can sometimes sweet talk the guards into letting you take photos in "forbidden" spots anyway, providing it's not too crowded. This is actually true of many museums in Russia, they have a saying: "It's forbidden, but, not if you really want to." In Summer and weekends the museum tends to crowd up and heat up till the guards get quite testy. Never attempt the Hermitage on a warm weekend afternoon in Summer, it is quite miserable.
  • Theatre Museum and Library: the Museum is located at #20 Ostrovsky Sq. up on the 3rd floor. Hours of operation are 11-6 Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and 1-7 on Wednesday. All Tuesdays, and the last Friday of each month are closed to the public. The Library is mercifully on the first floor, next door, to the right, in the old Imperial Theaters' main office. Bring a Russian friend and your passport if you want to use the Library. To become a regular library patron for more than one visit you will also need to provide a small photograph for mounting on a library card. To get there take the Metro to Nevsky Prospekt, head South-East, away from the gold Admiralty spire, till you see a park on your right. In the park will be a large sculpture of Catherine II with her courtiers at her feet. Go past this, and past the big yellow and white theatre. On the left, behind the rear of the theatre is #20.
  • Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signals: Go to Gorkovskaya Metro, exit to your right through Lenin Park, then just as you see the bridge entrance to the Peter and Paul Fortress (big brick wall with gold church spire) turn right again along the embankment. The Museum will be on your right in another brick fort. The Museum is open 11-5 Wed.-Sun except for the last Thursday of each month. Admission is 3000p (95c) for foreigners, 1000p (30c) for students. The exhibit "Crown and Cloak" is 5000p ($1.50) for foreigners and 3000p (95c) for foreign students.
  • Small Museums: the Chaliapin Memorial Museum is at 2b, Graftio Ul., and is open Thursdays 1-9pm, and Wed., Fri.-Sun. from 11am-7pm. Take Metro to Petrogradskaya, then autobus #46 North on Kamennoostrovsky Graftio Ul..The Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic is at the corner of Marata Ul. and Kuznechnyy Per., walk from Vladimirskaya Metro one block East on Kuznechnyy Per. Peter the Great's Cabin is at #6 Petrovskaya Embankment, open 10-6 Wed.-Mon., with a lunch break closing from 1:30-2:30, and an all day "cleaning" closing on the last day of each month. To get there go to Gorkovskaya Metro, then hike south through Lenin Park to the embankment and turn left. The Summer Palace of Peter I is located in the Summer Garden, near Nevsky Prospekt/Gostiny Dvor Metro, and is open 10-1 every day. Walk the historic and scenic route from Nevsky at Sadovaya Ul. north past the Russian Ethnographical Museum, Engineer's Castle, and then through the Garden to the Summer Palace, overlooking the Neva. These museums are all cheap to enter. The most expensive, The Summer Palace, is only 4000p ($1.20) for foreigners, and 2000p (60c) for foreign students.
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This Page is part of The Costumer's Manifesto, originally founded by Tara Maginnis, Ph.D. from 1996-2014, now flying free as a wiki for all to edit and contribute. Site maintained, hosted, and wikified by Andrew Kahn. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details. You may print out any of these pages for non-profit educational use such as school papers, teacher handouts, or wall displays. You may link to any page in this site.