In the Pskov-Izborsk Museum-Reserve, one of the oldest museums in Russia (opened in 1876), things have been going wrong for a long time. There are many sad stories around the complex, and the last straw was the closure of the Mason’s House, which for the last 15 years has been working in the format of a fund preservation open to visitors. Now this building of the Pskov Museum is closed to the public without explanation.
The residents of Pskov wrote an appeal to the administration of the museum and the city, collected signatures under the petition. It says that “the decision of the administration of the Pskov Museum causes distrust and has disastrous consequences, all the more obvious at the height of the tourist season.” However, instead of a clear answer, they received a formal reply. Now we are ready to reach the president. MK understood the situation.
The house of Ludwig Mason, named after one of the owners, a French teacher, closed on June 1. The reason for the closure was the renovation in other buildings of the museum complex (under its management 21 objects), explained the management of the museum and the administration of the region, but that’s strange.
The restoration of the buildings began in 2019, and the House of Mason worked safely for two years, and now, when the work is close to completion, they have made a move. The head of the department of scientific and fund work of the museum-reserve, art critic Olga Vasilyeva told MK about the situation from the inside.
– Since 2019, the main buildings have been closed for restoration, while the storage facility in the Mason’s House was open to visitors, – says Olga Anatolyevna. – And on June 1, the House of the Mason was closed, just at the moment when we had additional areas in the Postnikov Court, where the restoration was completed, and two more objects are to be opened at the end of the year – this is the Pogankin Chambers and the building of the Fan der Fleet School of Art …
But instead of transferring a large collection of unrestored icons there, they decided to close the House of the Mason. But we opened it in 2006, and it was the second (after the Old Village of the Hermitage) in Russia open storage facility, moving was difficult, because all items had to be packed, unpacked, described – the storage system requires a clear topography.
Through experimentation, we have created this open storage. And now it is necessary to move the fund of unrestored icons, which now occupy an area of 225 sq.m., into two small halls of 90 sq.m. in the House of Mason. This is the world’s largest collection of Pskov monuments of the XIV-XVIII centuries, for the preservation of which it is necessary to create optimal conditions. Now these icons are in better conditions than those in which they are supposed to be transported.
– Among these icons is the famous icon of the Martyr Ulyana – a monument of the 16th century, which has not been restored for 30 years. Why?
– The situation with Ulyana is one of the indicators of our life. Several years ago it was said that by 2019 it will definitely be on display, and so far nothing has been done. We have a unique fund of Pskov icons, which has more than a thousand storage units, we have two full-time tempera restorers with diplomas from the Repin Institute of the Academy of Arts. But only one at a quarter rate works.
– These are problems of administration. When in 2019 it was necessary to move the fund of icons from one room to another, the situation was also brought to the point of absurdity: it was so delayed that the evacuation of the funds took place under the collapse of plaster. Now the situation is repeated in a different version.
– Why can’t the public or the city administration influence the situation?
– When until recently we were under the leadership of the regional committee on culture, we could find a more or less adequate reaction, there was some kind of feedback. Something was somehow solved.
– On January 1, we became a federal museum, and our appeals to the Ministry of Culture remain unaddressed. The situation with the closure of the storage facility caused massive bewilderment, we worked very actively, we hosted concerts and various programs. We conduct excursions and lectures in the repository, the number of which in certain months was greater than in other departments. I know that not indifferent people of Pskov wrote several open letters to a number of authorities, including the Ministry of Culture, and nothing. I don’t understand why break something that has been working for 15 years?
Now, the concerned public and museum workers are going to appeal directly to the President of the country, since in response to letters they receive only formal replies. MK will monitor the situation.