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The Quiet Don Museum Area


What Shall We Remember of the Year Elapsing?

The State M.A. Sholokhov Museum-Reserve, the only one federal museum in the Rostov Region, is widely known in Russia and abroad as a unique monument of the Russian culture, the Cossack history, the Don nature. In 2006 it was included into the National Heritage List of the Russian Federation.

The Museum activity is rewarded with the World M.A. Sholokhov Prize, the Silver Crown and the Diploma of the contest “The Tour Industry Leaders”, the Grand Prix of the festival “Intermuseum-2005”. For high professionalism in preserving the cultural heritage it was rewarded with the Certificate of the European Association “The Best in the Heritage Field” and became a member of the World Professional Superiority Club, and in 2007 it was a nominant of the European Museum forum for the title of the best Museum in Europe.

On the eve of the New Year the Head of the State M.A. Sholokhov Museum-Reserve A.M. Sholokhov said about the most important events of the 2008 in his interview.

-         Alexander Mikhailovich, what events of the elapsing year do you consider the most important?

-         The 2008 was very rich in various events and it is difficult to define any of them. The museum-workers took part in the world and all-Russian forums, exhibitions, contests, prepared new expositions, enriched the collection, restored the museum structures, were active in excursion work, held classes for schoolchildren. This year the Museum has become a laureate of the National Tourist Prize of Yuriy Senkevich in the nomination of “The Best Regional Museum”.

Besides, our project “The Novel in the Open Air: Art-Veshki” gained the victory in the V Grant contest of the museum projects of the V. Potanin Fund “The Changing Museum in the Changing World”. At the X All-Russian festival “Intermuseum-2008” participated by more than 200 Russian museums we gained the contest of “The History of My Museum” by presenting a telefilm “The Reserve on the Banks of the Quiet Don” about the history of the Museum foundation, its today and tomorrow.

-         What Russian and World forums did the Museum take part in?

-         Among the various fields of the Museum work tourism is of great importance. This year the exposition of the Museum-Reserve was displayed at the World Travel Exhibition-Market–FITUR in Madrid, at the World Travel Market–WTM-2008 in London, at the International Special Exhibition “Intourmarket-2008” in Moscow. Participating in the exhibitions gives us an opportunity to show our achievements, to exchange experience, to make new steps in the development of tourism.

In Spain, for instance, the talks at the Council of Culture and Tourism took place on cooperation with the museum of M. Servantes, in Germany we came to an agreement on cooperating with the Goethe Fund, in Italy we agreed with the Marke Region on joint projects with the Leopardy Museum. We have made agreements on cooperation with the Columbian and Cuban Universities. Besides, we have got contacts with the Cuban Cultural Committee and with the Museum of E. Hemingway. In Mexico our Museum took part in the Days of the Russian Culture, which promoted the continuation of the cultural connections and development of several joint projects. In 2008 we succeeded in making contacts with the institutions of culture, museums and public organizations of Japan, in agreement on exhibitions and other projects, with the ones joint with other Russian museums included.

The rising world recognition of the Museum is proved by the facts that our exposition in Madrid was visited by the king of Spain – Juan Carlos and the Queen – Sofia, by the Great Princess Mariya Vladimirovna Romanova, in London – by the General Secretary of the World Travel Organization – Francesco Frangialli. Within the framework of the Madrid and Berlin exhibitions the Museum took part in presentations of the Russian Federation “New Travelling Opportunities of Russia”, and both the colleagues and journalists highly appreciated our work.

-         What exhibitions were exposed in the Museum excursion-exhibition centre the “People’s House”? Its opening did give an opportunity to bring the collections of the best Russian museums to the Rostov Region.

-         After putting the People’s House into service the residents of the Sholokhovskiy District and the neighbouring territories got an opportunity to get acquainted with the best works of the Russian and foreign culture. In 2008 the People’s House began functioning as a regular exposition centre with its plan framed till 2011.

Besides, this year the viewers could see the works of the creative group painters “In the Native Land of Sholokhov”, the exhibition of the well-known photo artist Karp Pashiniyan “The Wings Over the Don”. The exhibition of the Chuvash National Museum “The People Dressed in Silver” was a success, it displayed the exhibits of the ethnographical collection.

The Yelabuga Museum-Reserve from Tatarstan introduced two expositions – “Yelabuga is 1000” – about one of the most beautiful cities of Povolzhiye, and “Hussar Ballad” – about the life of the famous cavalry-girl, the heroine of the Patriotic War of 1812 – Nadezhda Durova. The Don people got a unique opportunity to see with their own eyes the ulan ammunition equipment of the Lithuanian regiment of 1812, a standard and a banner of the cavalry regiment, the arms and other interesting exhibits.

The important event which took place in November, was the first exhibition of the world-scale museum – the State A.S. Pushkin Museum – “Alexander Pushkin. The Life and the Lyra”.

Its opening in the People’s House is a result of the fruitful cooperation of the two museums. The State M.A. Sholokhov Museum-Reserve twice – in 2000 and in 2005 introduced its expositions in Moscow in the A.S. Pushkin Museum exhibition halls. Now our colleagues have brought the best exhibits from their unique collection to the Don.

Besides, we display a permanent exhibition “Veshenskaya Land Antiquities”, where one can see the materials from archaeological excavations.

In a word, exhibiting is one of the main activities of the Museum and we are going to renovate the exposition in the People’s House every 2 or 3 months.

-         The Museum has got a sufficient experience of traveling exhibitions.

-         Indeed it has. Now about only the most interesting ones. In November in the State Parliament (Duma) of the Russian Federation there was presented our joint project with the State Museum-Reserve “Kulikovo Polye” – a photoexhibition “On the Don We are Staying! The Don We are Glorifying!” It tells about the two Russian regions – the Tula and the Rostov, which are forever embodied  by the great river.

In prospect there is an exhibition “The Don. Sholokhov. Russia”, which is going to be exposed next year in Latin America.

-         Annually scientific conferences are held at the Museum. What subjects have been discussed this year?

-         I should say, the Museum has favourable  opportunities, both for holding its own events and for arranging various  forums by other organizations.

I’d like to note two important events. The main subject of the International scientific-practical conference “Sholokhov’s Readings” was the study of the creative work of M.A. Sholokhov at present. The members of the conference, among them there were well-known scientists from Rostov, Moscow, Surgut, Uliyanovsk, Borisoglebsk as well as from the USA and Ukrain, discussed the problems of Sholokhov’s work studies, the conception and the contents of the Sholokhov Encyclopaedia.

     The problems of ecological education and culture of the population, of preserving biological diversity, rational nature use and ecological tourism were the subject of the round-table talk at the Third International Scientific-Practical Conference “Museum-Reserve: Ecology and Culture” which was put on at our Museum.

-         The open museum forum which gathered the museum representatives from all over Russia also took place in Veshenskaya. Tell about its work, please.

-         The museum forum is a contest of the realized  museum projects. There were presented nine projects. The winner was one of our colleagues from Voskresensk “The Park for a Day”.

Simultaneously on the territory of the Museum-Reserve there were organized master-classes and a land-art workshop. The forum participants presented the works reflecting their own views of the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” by Sholokhov. It allowed us to estimate our activity from outside and get a new creative impulse.

-         Alexander Mikhailovich, according to the experts the Museum-Reserve depository is one of the best in Russia. How many exhibits does it comprise and what has it been replenished with this year?

-         Our depository is really high-tech equipped and answers to the highest requirements. The total number of the Museum exhibits is more than 70 000. Now a catalogue of one of the documental depository sections has been prepared for publication. The memorial collection has been replenished this year with letters, postcards, telegrams of M.A. Sholokhov, his personal belongings, photos with autographs. All these are the originals! The documentary stuff was supplemented with the diaries of the writer’s elder daughter Svetlana Mikhailovna about the travellings around Europe.

-         How much has the Museum been visited this year?

-         The Museum structures have been visited by more than 60 000 people. Only in the house-museum of M.A. Sholokhov there have been held 1688 excursions; in all, there are 12 main Museum structures located on the territory of the three districts of the Rostov Region.

Not only Russians, but also the people of  Ukrain, Kazakhstan got interested in our Museum. The tourists from Japan, Germany, the USA, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Hungary, Brazil, Spain, Italy also came here. There were many school delegations from the Rostov, Voronezh and Volgograd Regions.

-         What are your steps for attracting young people to the museum?

-         The work with the young people is paid a special attention. The Museum cooperates with the Moscow Humanitarian University named after M.A. Sholokhov, with the South Federal University and the Rostov school of Experimental Models “Evrika-Development”, with the Boguchar boarding –school, with the Veshenskaya Teacher Training College, with schools, kindergartens. This year we have helped in certificating the school museums and making an exposition “Sholokhov’s Room” in the Bazkovskaya school. The students have their training practice here, the schoolchildren join the club  “The Young Archaeologist”, take part in the contests, games, take their Museum classes, special courses on the area study and  Sholokhov’s work study. This year the Museum has opened a new elective special course on the Russian language “Lexical and syntactical language riches of “The Don Stories”.

The children from Rostov and St. Petersburg became the participants in the game “Visiting the Don Cossacks”: they worked in the Museum pottery shop, tried wickerwork, cooked Cossack dishes.

The young ecologists from the Rostov, Voronezh, Volgograd Regions and from Kazakhstan have gathered for the ninth time this year for the rally “Sholokhov Source”.  “Little Sholokhov Spring” has also become traditional – the children’s folklore holiday “Veshenskiye Vesnushki” gathered the young performers from different parts of Russia and from abroad.

I should say that the interest of the young generation for the creative work of M.A. Sholokhov is great. It is proved by the fact of attending the meetings-lectures by lots of young people in Mexico, Columbia, Japan.

Moreover, it is confirmed by opening a museum at the Surgut Pedagogical University, where there are displayed interesting exhibits connected with the  life and creative work of the writer. In the Ufa branch of the Moscow State Humanitarian University a literary art-centre was opened which was named after Sholokhov. At the literary socials in Irkutsk where I was invited as the Head of the Museum, the halls were packed, and most questions were asked by the young people.

-         The Museum stable is very popular with the visitors. What is the news here?

-         We have accomplished its accommodation. The horse itineraries for the tourists are organized about Stanitsa Veshenskaya, , to the sanatorium, to the famous  Old Oak. Besides, on the base of our stable the pupils of the  Platov secondary school have their classes of horse-breeding. By the way, there is a good piece of news for the little visitors: next year the pony is going to have a kid.

-         The Museum is active in carrying out restoration works. What has been done in the year elapsing?

-         There have been completed the repair-restoration works of the handicraft shop building, a thorough repair of the subsidiary outbuildings. Besides, there has been  estimated a project for restoring  our Museum structure in Rostov-on-Don – the houses of  Martyn  brothers  in Bolshaya Sadovaya Street. It is a monument of architecture of the XIX century where the Sholokhov Centre will be housed following the restoration. It is very important for the Museum to have its permanent representation in the Don capital, and after putting it into service we shall get such an opportunity.

A great work is carried out on restoring the memorial complex “Karghinskaya Mill”. Based on the restored mill outbuildings a construction of a functioning bakery and a Bread Museum is schemed, and the house of  the cinema “Ideal” will be conformed to theatrical-concert purposes.

- The coming year for the M.A. Sholokhov Museum is a jubilee. What are your prospects?

- On July, 11, 2009, the Museum will be 25. It is a childish age for such a structure, when the formation process has not finished yet. But we are lucky: there was a correctly framed out scheme of development, a hardworking, friendly museum staff was selected, we have a federal, regional and district support. So within a short period of time the Museum has grown from a small room in the local administration house with a staff of 5 people into a federal eminent Museum of 17 departments with a total staff of 350 people and which is world-known today as “The Novel in the Open Air”.

For the jubilee the Museum collective prepares to edit a book about the creative activity of the museum-workers, about the stages in establishing and developing of the Museum. The work on the book is being carried  out and will have been finished by the February of  2009. The 25th jubilee of the Museum foundation will become a leit-motif of the next annual all-Russian literary-folklore festival “Sholokhov Spring”.

In the coming year our exhibitions will be displayed in the Museum of I.S. Turghenev “Spasskoye-Lutovinovo”, in the Museum of A.M. Gorkiy in Kazan. To Veshenskaya the expositions will come from the Yaroslavl State Historical-Architectural Museum-Reserve, the Museum-Estate of L.N. Tolstoy “Yasnaya Polyana”, the Museum-Reserve of I.S. Turghenev “Spasskoye-Lutovinovo”, the exhibition “The Living Treasure of Japan” will display the paintings of the famous Japanese artists.

Next year the children-youth movement “Sholokhov Source” will observe its 10th jubilee.

We can go on enumerating what has been done this year and how we are getting ready for the 25th jubilee. We expect having a lot of new interesting meetings, bright events. The doors of the Museum-Reserve are always kept open. We try to do our best for every visitor to learn more about the life and creative work of M.A. Sholokhov, to feel the spirit of the land that strengthened him.

My congratulations and best wishes to all the residents of the Don land for the New Year and Merry Christmas! Let the 2009 make your hopes come frue, strengthen your health, bring you and your families a success and prosperity!

You are welcome at “the pages” of our “Novel in the Open Air”.

Interviewed by
O. Bushmina