Мой дом Россия (My Home is Russia)

1 Dec

One of the perks of my new position is that I chaperone field trips. This promises to be an excellent way for me to learn about my city. Today was the first one since I began and we went to the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia to see the exhibit entitled “My Home is Russia.”

This exhibit is a look at life in 20th century Russia through replica interiors. We began in a space with the music parlor of a pre-Revolution nobleman’s family on the left and a traditional peasant’s home on the right. It was amazing to see the contrast of the living quarters in that manner.  A large painting of factory workers pleading to a wealthy factory owner was used to place the Revolution in the timeline and then we entered a long walkway featuring a post-Revolution communal apartment. There were a few rooms dedicated to this time period and daily life for Soviet citizens was explained through the items that could be found in the kitchen, office, corridor, and living space. We were told that the small space would have been shared by four or five families. Rations were explained by pointing out that one of the windows had a small blanket up instead of a curtain because during this time it was common for women to use the curtains to make clothing when something was needed. The scenes continued through the U.S.S.R.’s entrance into WWII where one of the subtle details highlighted was the contrast between the icon of Jesus Christ displayed in a corner of the pre-Revolution peasant’s home and the portrait of Stalin displayed in a corner of a post-War farm home. The interiors moved forward to show the country’s modernization through the 1980’s, including a replica of the computer system used to get Yuri Gagarin into space in 1961 and the common appearance of home appliances and electronics in the following decades.

Seeing this, I realized how little I know about daily life here over the past 100 years. I have a general idea of the history, but nothing I have learned focused on these types of details. One of the things that was impressive to me was the fact that beginning in the 1960’s – 1970’s many of the details could easily have come from American homes in that same time period. The fashion displayed for the woman in the 1980’s (one business suit and one evening gown) looked very much like American clothing for the time as well. The museum itself is also part of Russian history as it is in what was once a nobleman’s palace then the Moscow English Club from 1831-1917 before being turned over to establish the museum.

There is so much to learn about our own daily living here in 2011 that it is easy to put off learning about the history that makes up our current home. I feel like this was an excellent way to get a glimpse at that time period and spark my interest in finding out more.

до свидания!

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One Response to “Мой дом Россия (My Home is Russia)”

  1. Kevin Gavagan December 1, 2011 at 23:16 #

    I’m curious to know if they seemed to pass any judgement on which time frame was best.

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