Sofia GavrilovaFeb 18, 2023
Russia's Regional Museums
Representing and Misrepresenting Knowledge about Nature, History and Society
Sofia Gavrilova's Russia's Regional Museums: Representing and Misrepresenting Knowledge about Nature, History and Society (Routledge, 2022) presents the results of extensive research into the very interesting phenomenon of local museums—kraevedschskyi museums—in Russia’s regions. It outlines how numerous such museums are, how long they have existed, what they display, and how this has changed, or not, from Soviet times up to the present. It shows how the museums’ displays often are about nature, history, and society. It goes on to discuss how what is portrayed represents particular interpretations of knowledge— including the heroism of the Soviet past, a colonial-style view of Russia’s very many non-Russian people, and the failure to mention things which might present Russia in a critical way. The book is much more than ‘museum studies’: it sheds a great deal of light on how Russians think about themselves and about how this self-view is fostered, and it also highlights the vast regional differences which exist in Russia.