Moscow Kremlin Museums do not need a special introduction. It comprise the heart of Russia – the Kremlin, its shrines, where Russian emperors were crowned, and many of the most valuable monuments of its history and culture.
According to the Russian Ministry of Culture, the Moscow Kremlin Museums are ranked 5th among Russian museums by results of the I half of 2016. They also showed a 5% increase in attendance compared to last year, indicating a successful policy of attracting visitors and the presence of interesting programs.
We asked to comment statistics, trends and prospects of museum life its General Director Elena Gagarina, who kindly agreed to give an interview to the cultural and political magazine “E Vesti”.
Gagarina E.: In short – yes, of course. Over the years, the attendance of the Moscow Kremlin Museums was kept at about 1 million 900 thousand people, but in the 2015 we have overcome the 2 million visitors. The museum is constantly evolving, creating projects interesting to the public – and this is naturally reflected in the attendance. In summer we take more visitors from abroad and regions of Russia, in autumn and winter months we see more Muscovites, family visitors. It is nice to note that we see a lot of families with children in the Armory Chamber, and on the territory of the Kremlin, at exhibitions. I always emphasize that it is important for the child to visit the museum with parents, this is a wonderful occasion for further discussion in the family. We have many programs for this audience – excursion, and lectures, and classes at the children’s center, dedicated to exhibitions.
E Vesti: Is a place of Museums match to their historical significance, or the heart of Russia is underestimated? (I’ve also heard that the traffic is close to the limit and quotas may be administered, if it grows up)
Gagarina E.: I do not think we have reason to talk about the Kremlin’s invaluable as a museum or a monument of architecture. It is obvious that the person who has got to Moscow, even for one day, be sure try to visit the Kremlin. And we are doing everything possible to provide the opportunity for everyone. The stereotype that the Kremlin is difficult to get there, is obsolete: for several years, we have opened the sale of electronic tickets to the Armory Chamber, and the Kremlin’s territory, also online you can order all excursions. Children up to 16 years visit the museum free of charge. And you’re right, attendance is really close to the maximum today. If almost 2 million 200 thousand was in 2015, then in 2016 the figure is likely to grow even more, and then we have to think about the setting sessions to visit the cathedral. Now such sessions exist in the Armory Chamber, where there may not be more than 400 people at a time. In the cathedral is the critical figure of more than 200 people. It is harmful for the monument, and it is inconvenient for visitors: it is difficult to see the frescoes, icons, feel the magic of this place. Therefore, the setting of sessions – an obvious need in these circumstances.
E Vesti: Could you explain traffic growth of the Museums?
Gagarina E.: Tourist flow both from Russia and from abroad increase increase the traffic. The share of tourists, both foreign and Russian, is very high, but it is important to take into account the seasonality of which I have already spoken. But the statistics also shows high figures of people visiting our exhibitions: for example, more than two hundred thousand people came to the exhibition of Boris Godunov, which eventually became the winner of the international festival “Intermuseum-2016” in nomination “The best project of the presentation and interpretation of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage”. Incidentally, the same exhibition is nominated for an international award in the field of fine arts Global Fine Arts in the United States. In 2015 we achieved record attendance figures not in the Kremlin only. Our exhibition in Shanghai “Armory Chamber treasury of Russian monarchs” was attended by more than 600 thousand people. The number of Chinese tourists has increased considerably in Moscow, and we see strong interest in our projects and monuments. That is why we launched a version of the site in the Chinese language, and now it is very popular.
E Vesti: What are the sights of the Kremlin which attracts tourists most of all?
Gagarina E.: In the Moscow Kremlin, all Russian history had been created, in the Cathedral of the assumption kings and emperors were crowned, Archangel Cathedral is a temple-tomb of the Grand Dukes and the first Russian monarchs. Armory Chamber is a treasure-house, and collection with equal importance does not exist anywhere in the world. And, of course, the majority of visitors come to see it with their own eyes. The Armory Chamber is presented magnificent collections of state regalia, tissues and coronation costumes, crews, Western European silver. A special place is occupied by Easter gifts of the imperial family of Faberge, which always attract visitors from all corners of the world.
E Vesti: What are the plans of the Moscow Kremlin for the near future?
Gagarina E.: If we talk about exhibition projects, then we will open the exhibition “The elegance and luxury of Art Deco. Kyoto Institute of costume, jewelry houses Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels» very soon. Here the best examples of women’s costume and jewelry of 1920s-30s are collected. We did not accidentally chose this period because the 20s are considered the time of experiments that gave rise to a completely new trends in art and design, which are relevant to this day.
At the beginning of March 2017 together with the Centre National Monuments (France), we will open the international exhibition “Saint Louis and Sainte-Chapelle relics”, which I hope will be a significant event of the cross-cultural year of tourism Russia and France. It will introduce the Russian public with the greatest achievements of medieval culture heyday of French Gothic associated with the epoch of Louis IX, one of the most famous of French kings.
Our visitors will see beautiful stained glass windows from the Sainte-Chapelle of the XIII century, which for the first time to leave France. We will show the Gothic sculpture, as well as part of the treasury of Louis IX. I think that the great interest for the exhibition visitors will cause the opportunity to experience the world of medieval miniature: they will be able to enjoy the colorful pictures and ornament manuscripts.