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«Photo-archive of An-sky expeditions». Exhibition 5. “The First Jewish Museum in Russia” 2008

The exhibition was opened on December 20. This was the 5th exhibition form the cycle “Photo-archive of An-sky’s expeditions”. Original photo-prints of 1912 – 1914 as well as flash-movies based on the photos form An-sky’s photo-archive formed a core of this new exposition. This exhibition is also dedicated to the 100-year anniversary of the Petersburg Jewish Historical and Ethnographic Society. The society functioned in St. Petersburg till 1929.

On April 19 (May 2 according to the new style) 1914, the Jewish Historical-Ethnographic Society (JHES), situated in the building of the Jewish almshouse on the 5th Line of the Vasiljevsky island opened an exhibition collection based on materials collected in 1912 and 1913 by S.A. An-sky expeditions. Altogether over 800 objects and manuscripts were presented at the exhibition. Apart from stands and shelves with exhibition object, there was a book-case with pinqasim (registry books of Jewish communities and communal organizations) in the exhibition hall, as well as a book-case with the first audio folklore recordings. On May 14 (27) Sholom-Aleikhem attended the exhibition and left his audio comments about it. An-sky, Yudovin, and the alms-house sponsor M.A. Ginsburg naturally took a picture with the great writer. Both the recording and the picture were preserved.

Presently there are many Jewish museums in the world, their number will undoubtedly increase; the more interesting will it be for the contemporary viewer to look at the first steps of Jewish museum activity in Russia.

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