By Vera Gromchakova
Deputy Culture Minister Tadeush Struzhetsky recently announced at a press conference that Belarus is to gain its own National Museum of Folk Art, showing a variety of Belarusian crafts. “Belarus has everything it needs to launch such a museum — including quite a few folk art pieces and working craftsmen,” he said.
The museum is to be part of the first Belarusian museum quarter — like those seen in Moscow, Amsterdam and Vienna. Belarus’ Culture Ministry plans to complete its works by 2017, with the quarter (set up around the National Art Museum) occupying the perimeter of Kirov, Lenin and Marx streets (as approved by the Belarusian leadership).
The country has about a dozen specialised folk craft museums already, including Dudutki Museum of Ancient Folk Crafts and Technologies. In addition, district and regional history museums have folk craft rooms, as does the National History Museum and the National Art Museum.
Pottery, leather processing, cooperage, lime bast and weaving, iron works and felting have flourished in Belarus since ancient times. To keep these wonderful skills alive and well, craft schools operate, allowing masters to pass on their skills to our younger generation. The Brest Region alone has 30 such schools.
In 2012, an international open air workshop for potters is being hosted by a pottery school in the village of Gorodnaya, in the Stolin District.