MuseumStudiesAbroad explores the museums, high culture, and public spaces of Eurasia.
The museums of Eurasia are a product of both a rich cultural heritage and a long tradition of both the state and local populace putting great emphasis on history and education. Eurasia today has one of the world’s most extensive museum systems, one well-known not only for impressive collections but also thematic versatility, multiplicity of display modes, and sheer number of institutions. Further, museums in Eurasian states have received special attention by both the local states and populations as the long effects of the Soviet collapse dissipate. Reviving museums and arts production are a sign of reviving economies – as well as new statements of national pride and attempts to develop post-Soviet identities.
Public spaces in increasingly serve these same goals and reflect these same circumstances. The architecture and skylines of a city are often held as part of the identity of local cultures and local individuals. Thus, the preservation of historic buildings, parks, monuments, and city districts is seen as another duty of the state. It expresses national pride, can bolster the economy, and can strengthen support for the politicians that lead such efforts. Public spaces give new forums and inspiration for the production and presentation of art, music, and performance.
Thus, public spaces and museums both serve similar functions in not only preserving the history of a people – but also in helping to maintain and evolve identities.
MuseumsStudiesAbroad is a project of SRAS, an organization that promotes study abroad in Eurasia and the study of Eurasia from abroad. Most entries are written or translated by SRAS students or staff, particularly those involved with SRAS’ The Art and Science of Museums program, hosted in St. Petersburg each summer, and by SRAS Challege Grant winners and Home and Abroad Scholars placed throughout Eurasia. Find out more about our authors here.
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