Embraced by the Southern Continent

Would you like to see a cold beauty of the Antarctic, drop at penguins’ and seals’, fly together with albatrosses and find yourself in an ice cave…The Museum of the World Ocean, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition and the Clean Seas Foundation invite you to the shores of the Southern continent!

The new exhibition “Embraced by the Southern Continent” features 16 works by famous photographers from Russia and abroad - Paul Nicklen, Stanislav Zakharov and John Weller who travelled to the South Pole. Paul Nicklen is a prize-winner of international awards including BBC Wildlife and World Press Photo Awards; Stanislav Zakharov is a biologist, a navigator and an underwater photographer; John Weller is a documentary photographer and the Last Ocean Nature Conservation Project Fellow. Each photograph is labelled with a description. For example, the photograph “A Blue
Iceberg” by John Weller “tells” about how to estimate age of an iceberg visually and the work by Stanislav Zakharov “In Search For” brings you closer to the Antarctic fauna. As well, a VR-zone is present at the exhibition: it will totally immerse you into the “embrace” of the Southern continent discovered by the Russian navigators Fabian Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on the naval sloops Vostok and Mirny 200 years ago.

The Antarctic today is the most mysterious, little-populated and unexplored continent. This is here where 62% of Earth’s freshwater is concentrated as well as 88.5% of the Southern Ocean total area – pristine marine ecosystems. Protection of a vulnerable world, biodiversity, nature and environment of the Antarctic can unite different countries and nations in the era of global threats. Guests of the Museum of the World Ocean can make a virtual “tour” to the shores of the Antarctic, see the beauty of far-away latitudes and learn about researchers’ work and the challenges we face today.

The exhibition “Embraced by the Icy Southern Continent” is on at the main building from January 29 to April 04.

Last Russian Sirena

A new exhibition at the main building of the Museum of the World Ocean is devoted to a sea mammal that can be considered one of the most intriguing symbols of 2021. These are the Serenia. The Ancient Greek mythology features demonic creatures whose upper part is female and the lower – avian. Their singing is charming but their appearance is deceptive. In zoology the Sirenia are an order of fully aquatic, herbivorous mammals. Modern sirenians are represented by two families: manatees and dugongs. These animals are considered to be a prototype of mermaids and sirens because of their ability to “stand” on a tail and pop a head out of water.

Nowadays the Serenia are not found in the Russian territorial waters. But there used to be one species near the Commander Islands. The Steller's sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas), an extinct sirenian and a relative of the modern dugong, was discovered in 1741. During the second expedition to Kamchatka led by Vitus Bering, the ship St. Peter wrecked by a small island. In order to survive, the crew had to hunt this strange marine animal. Its meat turned out to be both delicious and healthy. The sick became strong again and very soon navigators built a new ship and sailed back home. George Steller was one of the participants of the expedition. Thanks to his materials and descriptions, a new species was integrated into the Kingdom Animalia. However, Steller himself considered he dealt with a regular
manatee. Hydrodamalis gigas was described as a new species by Zimmermann in 1780.

Amazing creatures suffered from people. Steller's sea cows’ behavior was apathetic, so these animals were an easy prey. In 27 years after Steller’s study, in 1768, the last representative of the species was killed on Bering Island. Today all the Serenia species are considered endangered. The key problem is their habitat loss nowadays.

The Museum of the World Ocean is making research and going to present a restored and completed Steller’s sea cow skeleton at the newlybuilt Planet Oce an. This is a joint project with the Zoological Institute RAS (Saint Petersburg, Russia).

The year of 2021 is a year of an Ox or a Cow. So, a sea cow may be considered as a Symbol of the current year. The symbol reminding how vulnerable and fragile the nature of the World Ocean is and how it is important to protect and take care of the planet.

Exhibition by Sedov’s 100th Anniversary

In 2021, the STS Sedov is celebrating its jubilee. The beautiful tall ship turns 100 years old! In honor of this great day the Museum of the World
Ocean is working at a new exhibition. It will be based on the artifacts collected during Sails of the World circumnavigation commemorating 200 years since the discovery of Antarctica and 75 years of the Great Victory.

Two museum employees, artist Eugenii Mashkovskii and senior research officer Pavel Matviets, worked on board the barque Sedov. So, the museum continues the traditions of Russian navigators who used to practice research activity on an expedition. The voyage resulted in collecting over 500 artifacts and samples from all over the world (biological and geological) as well as photographs and drawings that are going to supplement the State Museum Collection and tell about the 2020 circumnavigation to future participants.

The exhibition was announced by Svetlana Sivkova, director general of the Museum of the World Ocean, at the press conference and
meeting with captains of Sedov, Krusenstern and Pallada.

The exhibition is launched in February, 2021.


A flashmob #PatsayevMustLive at the Museum of the World Ocean celebrating the memorable date related to hoisting the national flag of the USSR on the R/V Kosmonavt Viktor Patsayev takes place on November 24. This day in 1978, it was flown for the first time and the ex timber cargo vessel Semyon Kosinov set to space. It joined the legendary star flotilla and had operated as a ship for space communication until 2017. In 1978 to 1994, the vessel made 14 expeditions fulfilling tasks with spacecraft. It took part in all the Soviet and Russian space programmes. The vessel provided space communication with the orbit stations Salyut 6, Salyut 7 and Mir as well as with the spaceships Soyuz and Progress, with the space system Energiya-Buran. In 1995, the R/V Kosmonavt Viktor Patsayev was transferred to the Russian Aerospace Agency and in 2001 it was moored at the Historic Fleet Embankment.   It joined the flotilla of the Museum of the World Ocean but still belonged to ROSKOSMOS.

Located on board the R/V Kosmonavt Viktor Patsayev, the permanent exhibitions are devoted to our fellow-townsmen cosmonauts. The showcases feature personal belongings, commemorative signs and awards, family photographs. As well, one can see model spaceships, get to know about life on a research vessel in the 1980-1990s, see an original Apollo-Soyuz launch key, visit a pilot house and walk along the decks.  

Today the vessel’s fortune makes us worry. After it quit ROSKOSMOS the vessel became a sort of a “suitcase without a handle”. No agency is ready to take the vessel and repair it at the dock yet. Svetlana, Viktor Patsayev’s daughter, has recently addressed a petition to the president to decide the fate of the unique vessel. The memorable date is a great way to remind about the ship and the sad reality it is experiencing. This year we plan a flashmob to show how important it is not only to save the vessel but the history of the great Space Odyssey as well.

A solemn meeting near the vessel takes place on November 24 at 10 am.

We have already addressed colleagues from museums to support the campaign. They post information on their wep-pages and videos on their social media. We would be grateful if Kaliningrad citizens and those not indifferent to the vessel to join the flashmob. You can make a short video or photographs of the R/V Kosmonavt Viktor Patsayev hashtagged #PatsayevMustLive. It is necessary to remind that there was an attempt to save another vessel, the R/V Georgi Dobrovolskii,   in the 2000s.  Alas, it failed and the vessel was gone. Today the R/V Kosmonavt Viktor Patsayev is not just the last ship left of the star flotilla but it is the only world’s vessel for space communication with a museum exhibition on aboard. It is listed in the register of the cultural heritage of Russia as a monument of culture, science and technology.

Saving the Patsayev, we save ourselves and our history.

Travelling along the Seas


Earlier this year the art collection of the Museum of the World Ocean was enlarged by works of People's Artist of the Russian Federation, Gennadii Sotskov (1925 – 2011). His widow Svetlana Sotskova handed 46 pictures over to the museum. A part of them became a core of the personal exhibition timed by the 95 th anniversary of the artist. All the canvases are united by one topic – Russia’s seas. Art works shape into a sort of a journey – a sea voyage encouraging you to enjoy the beauty of unique landscapes.

The exhibition featuring works in traditional Russian realistic landscape technique was launched at the Maritime Exhibition Centre (Svetlogorsk) on February 29. A special value of the canvases lies in the fact that being compiled together, they present a unique story about Russia’s seas: marine landscapes, shoreline panoramas, far-away frontier posts and meteorological stations. 

Gennadii Sotskov is probably the only Russian artist who managed to create so diverse “marine” pictures. And now citizens and guests of the region can see this unique collection.


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