Book rarities neighbour e-books

Works by famous figures of science and culture on show in Mogilev

By Semen Kulagin

This is the first project of its kind at Mogilev’s Y. Romanov Regional Local History Museum. It showcases unique exhibits, in addition to works by famous figures of science and culture and widely popular editions. Each item on show has its own history, while many are on display for the first time.

The Mogilev museum holds over 15,000 books, dating from the 16th-21st century. Each century is represented by its own rarities, with the exhibition uniting ancient manuscripts and modern e-books. Visitors can learn of the history of written language development via ancient manuscripts and hand-written Slavonic books, discovering how book printing was invented and how publishing has evolved since the first works were printed by Frantsisk Skorina and his followers.

Those interested in history, literature and ancient books are sure to be attracted by the rare editions, which include the oldest book in the Mogilev Region: Short Catholic Tales for Each Week for Theologist-Jesuits and for Each Holiday of the Year — published by Jakub Wujek in Polish in 1590. Several 18th century Cyrillic language books also deserve attention, created by publishing houses in Vilnius, Grodno and Suprasl. Meanwhile all the books are collected in a catalogue: Belarus’ Book. The last Belarusian chronicle — translated from Polish to Russian by Nikolay Gortynsky and published in Moscow in 1887 — is also on show: Chronicles of the Belarusian City of Mogilev. Some exhibits are devoted to famous Belarusian historical, scientific and cultural figures (Adam Mickiewicz, Frantishek Bogushevich and Wincenty Dunin-Marcinkiewicz), classical writers (Yanka Kupala and Yakub Kolas) and their followers (Maxim Tank, Vladimir Korotkevich, Vasily Bykov and others). Books from the private collection of our famous countryman Otto Schmidt, the Soviet Union Hero and famous Arctic researcher, occupy a worthy place at the exhibition. In the 1920s, he headed the State Publishing House and, in 1937, was the Editor-in-Chief of the Large Soviet Encyclopaedia.

Visitors can also see books printed by famous USSR and BSSR publishing houses, as well as those from the Mogilev Regional Publishing House and Mogilev’s private publishing house — AmeliaPrint. Some of the more extraordinary editions include miniature and large size books, in addition to those which have won prizes at the Art of Book international contest and national contests. Books from the library of the Mogilev Men’s Gymnasium are also on show, including editions from the 19th-early 20th century which were used to classically educate pupils.

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