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Three Reasons to See Steam Engine

The Museum of the World Ocean presents a new exhibit to its guests – a marine steam engine. The machine “arrived” to the museum from theKaliningrad nautical school where it has been a cadets’ training tool for a long period. There are at least three reasons to see an uncommon exhibit and then explore a new exhibition ‘Steam in Human’s Service’. It’s possible to travel to the past, find yourself a passenger on board an old steamer and see an assembly of a marine engine. The machine displayed at the exhibition has got special service cutouts. They let you take a look under a metal plating and see many elements in detail. You’ll be convinced that inspiration may come at an unexpected hour. According to sources, it was Scottish mechanical engineer James Watt who came to an idea of how to condensate vapor and upgrade an atmospheric engine, a herald of the technological revolution: when he spotted columns of steam rising from under laundry boiler lids due to pressure. This intriguing fact is just a small drop in the history of a steam engine you can learn at the exhibition ‘Steam in Human’s Service’.

Lovers of aesthetic and technological aspects can “travel” to Saint Petersburg and get to know about the legendary icebreaker Krassin – the exhibition is supplemented with a technical description of the icebreaker’s steam engine that was considered the best of a kind in that period of time. Today, the icebreaker Krassin is a museum’s branch in Saint Petersburg and visitors can learn more about this ship, a symbol of the national history, at the exhibition ‘Steam in Human’s Service’.

The history of the technical progress at the display ‘Steam in Human’s Service’ is on at the permanent exhibition Depth.

Russian America

The exhibition Russian America on board the research vessel Vityaz invites! It is integrated with the permanent exhibition Russia Explores the Ocean.  The exhibition was created with the financial support of LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft.

There is a reason this topic has been chosen: it is the largest chapter in Russia’s history concerning exploration of the World Ocean. For a long time, it remained unrevealed due to many reasons but first of all because of lack of exhibits which are the most important at the museum! Thanks to charitable support of the oil-producing enterprise the museum managed to find and purchase authentic artifacts of the 19th century telling about life of pioneer navigators and inhabitants of northern Russian towns – those which let Russia possess the lands of North America, consolidate its international position and start the era of circumnavigations.

Beginning of the era
In the 18th century, Russian explorers opened the door to the World Ocean by making two Kamchatka expeditions under the leadership of Vitus Bering. The first vessel to reach Alaska was the boat St. Gabriel under the command of Mikhail Gvozdev. On 21 August 1732, they anchored at the westernmost point of North America – Cape Prince of Wales. Gvozdev explored the area and mapped about 300 km of the coastline.

Russian-American Company
In summer 1799, Pavel I ordered to establish the Russian-American Company (RAC) which dealt with fur trade. Basically, the company became an instrument to colonize the New World and successfully fulfilled economical, political and missionary tasks.

Irkutsk industrialist Grigorii Shelokhov and his son-in-law Nikolai Rezanov (well-known diplomat) were at the origins of the company. The latter made his mark in history rather with romantic love to Concepción Argüello, daughter of the Spanish governor of Alta California, than with his services. But he was one of the leaders of the first Russian circumnavigation, the first official ambassador to Japan and an author of one of the first Russian-Japanese dictionaries – he was among the outstanding people of the time!

In 1802, Alexander Baranov was appointed the first governor of settlements in Alaska. He was a distinguished merchant from the northern city of Kargopol and made numerous heroic deeds and advanced solutions: he founded Novo-Arkhangelsk fort on Sitka, moved the administrative centre of Russian America from Irkutsk to Alaska and successfully repulsed Native Americans’ attacks as well as ordered to found a trading station Fort Ross in California on Nikolai Rezanov’s proposal: up to this day goods were delivered from Russia and Alaska settlers literally starved.

The commandant of Fort Ross and actual executive of A. Baranov’s order was the Russian merchant from Totma – Ivan Kuskov. He organized vegetable gardens, developed cattle husbandry and founded a harbor in the colony. Kuskov’s great credit was absence of armed conflicts with the Native Americans that made Russians different from other colonists in California. Moreover, the commandant established good relations with the Spanish who claimed for the lands.  

Orthodox mission
The first wooden church and school on Kodiak Island appeared in 1796. Herman of Alaska devoted his life to local public education. He lived on the island till his death and later became the first American saint in the Orthodox Calendar.

In 1824, a Russian Orthodox missionary priest arrived to the Aleutian Islands - Saint Innocent of Alaska. He learnt local language and translated the Gospel According to St. Matthew, the liturgy and the catechism for the indigenous islanders. He also opened a school and erected a temple there. The latter has survived till the present days.

There is an amazing story about Aleutian named Cungagnaq who adopted Orthodoxy and a Russian name Peter. When he was hunting a sea otter nearby Fort Ross Spanish took him prisoner and tortured to death for his refusal to adopt Catholicism. The Russian Orthodox Church canonized him as Saint Peter the Aleut.

The new exhibition is almost finished, it tells about all these people, their everyday life, amazing stories as well as about courage, deeds and defeats. The museum is looking forward to welcoming you again! 

People Of The Sea

A unique ethnographic exhibition – People of the Sea – is waiting for you at the Maritime Exhibition Centre in Svetlogorsk.

A unique ethnographic collection moves visitors to the world of primitive tribes, mystery religions and excellent handicraft by native artists. About 1 000 items – cult objects, masks, puppets, weapons – were collected by a German traveler in Indonesia (New Guinea, Java, Timor, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Bali) as well as in India, China and Nepal  in the 1960s-90s. These people’s life is closely interrelated with the sea, so it is clearly seen in the materials, symbols and themes. According to the ethnographers, it is one of the five best collections in Europe. In 2015, a Russian entrepreneur and patron V.Shcherbakov acquired the collection and lent it to the Museum of the World Ocean for a display.  Guests have already got to know a small part of the collection at the Maritime Exhibition Centre. Some exhibits are exclusive and displayed in Russia for the first time.

The exhibition is located on two levels: on the ground floor one can get to know unique primitive cultures of New Guinea: Asmat and Dani tribes. Exhibits devoted to the culture and art of Bali, Hindustan and Southeast Asia will be presented in the largest hall.


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