Libmonster ID: UA-12163

by Valentin PETROV, Dr. Sc. (Geol. & Mineral.), Director of the Center for Humanitarian Problems of the Barents Region, Yevgeniya PATSIYA, Director of the Archives Museum of History and Development of the European North of Russia, Olga SHABALINA, Cand. Sc. (Hist.), Chief Curator of the Archives Museum, RAS Kola Research Center (Apatity, Murmansk Region)

"Anyone in pursuit of human genius in its noble fight against superstition and darkness should read the history of Arctic journeys made by the people who were not afraid to bravely face the unknown. Perhaps, it is the only sphere of knowledge obtained at such a high price of adversities, miseries, and pain. However, human genius will not feel safe until every square foot of this severe region is conquered by man, until all secrets of the North are solved." These words of the famous Norwegian natural scientist and traveler Fridtjof Nansen fully reflect the message of the exposition of the Archives Museum of History and Development of the European North of Russia under the Center for Humanitarian Problems of the Barents Region of the RAS Kola Research Center. Established in 1974 in the city of Apatity, the museum has been serving its main goal for almost 40 years. Today the museum keeps over 2,100 articles in its principal depository and over 1,300 units in the auxiliary research storehouse.

The main ideologists of the project were employees of the Kola Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences, full members of the USSR Geographical Society Boris Koshechkin, Cand. Sc. (Geogr.), and Iona Freidin, Dr. Sc. (Geogr.). In 1970, upon completion of the 5th Congress of the Geographical Society held, inter alia, to discuss an opportunity to revive the Central Geographical Museum set up by the outstanding geographer Veniamin Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky (1870-1942), the scientists resolved to create a museum dedicated to the history of scientific research in the European North in the small town of Apatity. By that time, almost all branches of the Geographical Society of the North-West (Kola, Karelia, Komi branches) were united into the Northern Branch of the USSR Geographical Society with the headquarters in Apatity. The head of the laboratory of the Geological Institute of the USSR AS Kola Branch Koshechkin was elected Chairman of the Presidium, which definitely promoted implementation of the project.

The first exhibits of the future museum collection were obtained in 1973. The Archives Museum maintained active correspondence with the researchers of the North

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and their families. Almost all addressees were polar explorers and scientists well known internationally and their relatives. On January 22, 1974, Koshechkin wrote to the physical geographer and country expert Gavriil Richter, Dr. Sc. (Geogr.): "We'd like to have some official photos made during your expeditions or manuscripts. Perhaps, there are field diaries or drawings that could make part of the exposition." In the letter dated January 30, 1974, Richter specified some documentary evidence he was ready to send to the museum for storage and exposition. These were photos and negative images, books and maps. Later on, his personal records and documents formed one of the most interesting and rich sections of the Achieves Museum, and invaluable books enriched the rare book fund of the museum.

In January 1974, Koshechkin sent a letter to Yekaterina Fersman, the widow of one of the founders of geochemistry of the Kola Research Center Acad. Alexander Fersman, hoping to get from her "1 or 2 pages of the original records on the Kola Peninsula written by Fersman, and 1 or 2 items he used during expeditions (field diary, pen, etc.)". She promptly answered on February 5, 1974: "I'll be happy to support your museum with everything I have."

In the late 1974 Boris Koshechkin sent a letter to Estonia to the biologist-selectionist Johann Eichfeld asking for the same, and in the letter addressed to the local historian and author of the books dedicated to the history of the Kola Peninsula Alexei Kiselyov, the scientist set forth his conceptual plan of formation of the museum exposition to be composed of four sections: ancient period of development of the North (archeology), development and studies of the European North in the 16th-18th centuries, studies of the seas of the European Arctic in the pre-revolutionary period, studies and development of the North in the Soviet period. In the return letter Kiselyov approved the idea of establishment of the museum and promised to render vallout assistance, including delivery of remaining materials (most materials were already kept at the Murmansk State Archives) to the exposition in Apatity.

Researchers of the North sent to the museum the articles of daily use they took to the expeditions, scientific instruments, books, artistic pieces... Many of them visited Apatity personally and brought unique documents and photos. The biologist and local historian from Arkhangelsk Ksenia Gemp donated Daily Notes of Travels Made by Doctor and AS Adjunct Ivan Lepyokhin Across Provinces of the Russian State in 1768 and 1769 (1771). The geologist Nikolai Apukhtin donated the Description of the White Sea, its Shores, and Islands by Alexander Fomin (1797). The ethnographer from Petrozavodsk Rosa Toroeva enriched the ethnographic collection with the household articles made by dwellers of the western shore of the White Sea. Family members of the founder of the Murmansk Museum of Local Lore Mikhail Mikhailov donated the Lapponia (1674) by Johannes Schefferus--one of the first printed books of the 17th century dedicated to the history, nature, culture and lifestyle of the aboriginal population of Lapland.

On January 22, 1974, Koshechkin wrote to the remarkable Russian natural scientist Oleg Semyonov-Tyan-Shan-sky: "Our long requests to provide the Northern Branch of the Geographical Society with premises to organize the Museum of History and Development of the North have been satisfied. The premises are already available, and we are busy with sorting out and forming the exposition."

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Koshechkin realized that "any exposition composed only of photos and books will be boring" to visitors and took a decision "to enliven it with pictures, drawings, and cartographic materials". Thus, he found sketches made by the ethnographer Vladimir Charnolusky and painter Albert Benois who participated in the expedition led by Prof. Pavel Vittenburg on the Kola Peninsula, and persuaded Nikolai Pinegin's family to donate his pictures to the museum. In addition, Koshechkin was employed at the Archives of the Hydrographic Administration of the Navy--he had an opportunity to get acquainted with ancient maps of the Barents and White Seas and could arrange an exposition of the most interesting reproductions in the museum.

By the late 1974-early 1975, the Archives Museum got for keeping personal collections gathered by the local historian Mikhail Mikhailov, Academicians Gavrila Goretsky, Alexander Fersman and Yevgeny Kreps, the well-known researcher of the North Rudolf Samoilovich, geographer Gavriil Richter, founder of the avalanche service in the Khibiny Mountains Innokenty Zelyony, ethnographer Vladimir Charlunsky, polar explorer Leonid Senchura, and many other naturalists.

Employees of the Archives Museum made a lot to gather their own collection on the history of the Kola Peninsula. The collection of ancient weapons gathered in 1972 during the expedition organized jointly by scientists from the Geological Institute of the USSR AS Kola Branch, Leningrad Department of the USSR AS Institute of Archeology, and members of the Northern Branch of the USSR Geographical Society headed by Nina Gurina, Dr. Sc. (Hist.) was one of the first successes. Later on, expeditions with the participation of professional archeologists were held regularly: petroglyphs in the valley of the Ponoi River were discovered in the course of one such expedition.

Ethnographic materials on the artifact culture of the Lapps were collected under the supervision of a leading specialist of the USSR AS Institute of Ethnography Tatyana Lukyanchenko, Cand. Sc. (Hist.). She donated to the museum religious articles of the 16th century on the dissemination of the Christian faith in the Kola North.

Speaking of the enthusiasts of museum expeditions, we should mention Oleg Belyaev, Cand. Sc. (Geol. & Mineral.), an employee of the USSR AS Kola Branch Geological Institute, and Viktor Arkhipov, a driver employed at the Motor Transport Enterprise in Apatity. They repeated the routes of Finnish scientists, who in the 1930s studied native lands of Songelsk Lapps from the north-west of the Kola Peninsula to its Tersky shore,

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where a medieval ceramic workshop was found beyond the Varzuga River.

Materials collected by enthusiasts and professional scientists served as a basis for approval in April 1975 of a decree to establish on a voluntary basis the Archives Museum of History and Development of the European North as a structural unit of the Northern Branch of the USSR Geographical Society and to provide premises in a newly built residential building in Gaidar Street. However, the museum was officially recognized as a branch of the USSR Geographical Society only five years later, on June 25, 1980, on the basis of the decree issued by the USSR AS Presidium.

Our first exposition located in a standard three-room apartment of a regular residential building was far from being professional. Based mostly on copied documents, it was, in fact, a sort of model plan. Gradually, copies were replaced by original exhibits, and visitors could get acquainted with rare authentic artifacts, photographs, documents, and even pictures, graphic works, and figurines. The intimate atmosphere of the museum invited visitors to learn more about the unique history of local culture. Many of them opened up the Kola North for themselves for the first time.

Moreover, after visiting the museum and getting elementary skills of "historical vision", city dwellers brought family relics and interesting findings to the museum. For example, employees of the chemical plant Apatite enriched the exposition with rare medieval bronze breast decorations found during excavation works. Thanks to passionate connoisseurs of the antiques, the museum got its symbol-- a signal bell. Researchers working on the seashore near the White Sea bay, found a bell near the lighthouse on the Veliky Peninsula and informed us about it. With the development of advanced technologies and navigation equipment, the bell "lost its job"--it helped vessels following its sound move towards the shore in rough weather. The bell was delivered to the Museum by military hydrographers of the Geographical Society. They first took it by sea to the settlement of Mishukovo, and then to Apatity by car. A popular phrase "Museum Near the Bell" came into everyday use. Local children were especially happy to have the

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bell; in the perestroika period it was located outside near the entrance to the museum--unpatinated, polished by the children trying to "climb" onto it. In the new times the bell was moved inside for security purposes. Our informants enriched the museum collection with other interesting items: an old drag anchor and a "vow" cross.

In the years of economic reforms of the 1990s, the Archives Museum practically got short of funds. In that situation, upon request of Acad. Alexei Treshnikov, President of the USSR Geographical Society, employees of the museum (together with the museum depository) were put on the payroll at the Department of Economic Studies (from 1986--the Institute of Economic Problems) of the USSR AS Kola Branch. In the given circumstances, the research team of the museum focused on the studies of indigenous minorities of the European North.

The situation changed in the mid-1990s when our country signed the Kirkenes Declaration on International Cooperation of 1993, after which the RAS Kola Research Center actively joined in the process of development and implementation of humanitarian projects. In 1995, the RAS Kola Research Center Presidium established an International Center for Science, Culture, and Education in the Barents/Euroarctic Region (from 2005--Center for Humanitarian Problems of the Barents Region) as an auxiliary research unit on the basis of the Archives Museum of History and Development of the European North of Russia, department of the Chair of Foreign Languages and the international department of the RAS Kola Research Center Presidium.

In 1997 after the museum received new exhibition halls in the building of the International Center which meant breakthrough exhibition resources, our renovated work team celebrated the second birth of the museum and expansion of its research opportunities. The museum incorporated four exhibition halls, depositories, and a library. In 1997 the permanent exhibition "Rational Use of Natural Reserves of the Kola Peninsula" was opened to

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promote potentials of development of the Murmansk Territory on the basis of research achievements of the Academy of Sciences and wide-range international cooperation. In 2005 this exhibition became a separate section of the museum. It was then that a memorial apartment-museum of the famous geologist Acad. Alexander Sidorenko was reconstructed dedicated to his life and research activities first as a vice-chairman and then as Chairman of the USSR AS Kola Branch Presidium (1950-1961).

Today, the Archives Museum keeps and exhibits household appliances, scientific devices, paintings and documents from personal funds and collections owned by national scientists showing their contribution to scientific progress.

The valuable library was formed of three book collections owned by Gavriil Richter (1899-1980), Pavel Vittenburg (1884-1968), and Alexander Fersman (1883-1945) and first lifetime editions of books and works by researchers of the Kola Peninsula. Today the fund of rare books counts over 500 copies, including early printed books, manuscripts of the 17th century, small-circulation books with autographs, marginal notes, owner's and dedicatory notes, local lore literature up to 1962 inclusive, etc.

Along with permanent excursion, lecturing and exhibition activities, we are active publishers committed to meet the needs of the historians of science. For instance, we published unique documentary records of the most popular personal funds held by ethnographers and researchers of the Kola Peninsula. In 2008, the GAMAS publishing house published an art book representing pictures and graphic works of the expedition painters of the 19th-20th centuries belonging to the Archives Museum. This book is composed of over 160 pieces collected by the museum for two centuries different in genre, technique and level of skills. Someone may dispute their artistic value but significance in terms of history and culture is beyond doubts.

The exposition begins with the section "History of Archeological Discoveries". The ancient period of exploration of the Kola North is represented by the collection of weapons, ceramics, polishing plates of the Stone Age and early metal, found in the 1970s in the course of joint expeditions organized by Leningrad archeologists under the guidance of Nina Gurina, Dr. Sc. (Hist.), and the RAS Geological Institute.

The historical and ethnographic section of the exposition is dedicated to research activities of Vasily Alymov, Yakov Komshilov, and Vladimir Charnolusky--the first regional ethnographers who in the 1920s-1930s studied the history, culture and life of the aboriginal population of the Kola Peninsula, i.e. the Lapps, and collected numerous examples of the unique folk art and local toponyms. Charnolusky illustrated the research work carried out by the Lopar ethnographical expedition of 1927. The exposition includes many original artifacts of the Lappish life of

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the 19th century, rare photos, manuscripts of Lappish fairytales, materials on the establishment of the first Lappish school (1898), and the alphabet in the Lappish language (1895). These artifacts enable visitors to have an idea of the traditional environmental management of the Lapps, their lifestyle and original culture. The exposition also shows how the first Geographical Vocabulary of the Kola Peninsula was compiled. The hand-written book Lapponia by Johannes Schefferus is another rare exhibit making part of the museum collection.

Employees of the Museum in collaboration with the RAS Institute of Economic Problems and Institute of Ethnography, Luleå University (Sweden) and Tromsö University (Norway) studied the cultural heritage, socioeconomic and political status of the Lapps in the Murmansk Region. As a result of these studies, in 2008 a school textbook The Lappish Needlework in the Lappish and Russian languages was first published in Russia; in 2009 it was republished. In 2010, a collection of Lappish paroemiology Folklore Traditions in the Culture of a Lappish Family was published for the first time too. It consisted of proverbs, sayings, and set phrases used in the 20th century in one Lappish family leading a traditional life and preserving age-old cultural traditions of its own people.

There is a collection of medieval artifacts composed of fragments of a sword, horse harness, bronze buckle found in a burial of a soldier of the 11th-12th centuries discovered in 1973 a short distance away from the settlement of Kuzomen on the Tersky shore of the White Sea. The museum exhibits articles found in the settlements of the 15th century--forged nails, a walrus bone comb, Scandinavian and Russian axes and an inkstand.

Representatives of the old-timers of the Kola Peninsula--the Pomors--were good sailors and navigators, and, generally speaking, educated people. The exposition incorporates models of Pomor vessels, clothes, household utensils, parts of weaving looms and spinning wheels. There are also ancient monastery books among the exhibits--for example, a 17th century book dedicated to the centenary of the Solovki monastery.

History of scientific studies of the European North initiated by the Russian encyclopedist Mikhail Lomonosov (1711-1765)* begins in the 18th century. The museum keeps maps representing travel routes of the first explorers of this territory Ivan Lepyokhin, Nikolai Ozeretskovsky, lifetime editions of scientific records made in the course of expeditions. Visitors can enjoy engravings by the painter Raeder who accompanied the famous geographer, zoologist, founder of embryology Karl Baer in his journeys to Novaya Zemlya (1837) and Kola Peninsula (1840) and get acquainted with personal belongings of the Russian natural scientist and traveler Alexander Middendorf (1815-1894).

One of the sections of the exhibition is dedicated to the history of marine polar expeditions arranged by national geographers. In particular, there is a showcase representing the process of compiling a General Map of the Lappish Shore by Fyodor Litke and Mikhail Raineke published in 1832, which was more accurate than all the known maps of that time.

A number of interesting exhibits refer the historical expeditions to the North Pole headed by Georgi Sedov (1912). These are documents and landscape drawings from the personal fund of the well-known polar artist and

*See: A. Utkin, "Phenomenonof Lomonosov's Personality"; Ye. Sysoyeva, "He Saw Through Ages", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2011.---Ed.

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writer, participant of that famous voyage Nikolai Pinegin as well as his personal belongings. The museum also keeps artifacts from the personal collection of the polar explorer, oceanologist, Corresponding Member of the USSR AS Vladimir Vize who took part in that voyage too.

The section dedicated to the first high-latitude expeditions of national and foreign travelers is composed of letters of renowned polar explorers Italian Umberto Nobile (1885-1978) and Canadian Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879-1962), instruments and scientific works of American scientists who explored Frantz Josef Land, materials depicting a joint expedition organized by Swedish and Russian scientists on Spitsbergen in 1899-1901 to perform arc grade measurements on the ground surface.

Another showcase of the exposition tells about the history of exploration of natural reserves in the European North in the early Soviet period. In the 1920s, scientific studies in that region were carried out by the Northern Scientific and Trade Expedition of the RSFSR Supreme Council of National Economy and the Academy of Sciences. The most valuable exhibits representing this period are materials collected during the Murmansk Geological Expedition of 1920 led by the geologist and explorer of the Arctic Regions Prof. Pavel Vittenburg. Realities and events of those days are reflected in the works of the Polar watercolor painter Albert Benois, a full member of the expedition.

Visitors of the Museum take much interest in the section dedicated to Acad. Alexander Fersman, his associates and scientific work. For ten field seasons on the Kola Peninsula, they made numerous discoveries, which preconditioned further exploration and industrial development of the region. This period is represented by letters, publications of participants of the first expeditions of the 1920s-1930s, the map of Khibiny tundras made on the basis of the data collected by the Finnish scientist Wilhelm Ramsay, later replenished and corrected by Fersman, the map of exploration works carried out on the Kola Peninsula in 1920-1934, measuring devices, and photos. Alongside the field documents, there is an issue of the manuscript humorous magazine Kukish composed of poems, caricatures, cartoons, and couplets reflecting every-day life and research ambitions of researchers of that time.

In the expositions halls you can see over 50 pictorial and graphic works: pictures, plates, sketches, ethnographic sketchings, northern landscapes that have changed with onset of civilization, natural phenomena, portraits, fragments of expedition life made by artists Nikolai Pinegin, Tyko Vylko, Albert Benois, and Vladimir Golitsyn, geologists Boris Zemlyakov and Igor Belkov, ethnographers Vladimir Charnolusky, Yakov Komshilov, geographer Nikolai Apukhtin. The last section is focused on the evolution of the first standing research institute of the Academy of Sciences within the Arctic circle--through the history of formation and development of its structural units represented by interesting documents, initial materials of field studies, and scientific gear of various periods.


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