Ancient Belarus exposition opens at the National History Museum

Refreshing old history

Ancient Belarus exposition opens at the National History Museum

This is, probably, the only place in the country showing such a wide range of items from the life of our ancestors, dating from early man until the 18th century.

In 1993, this hall was revamped, showcasing the history of our country from the ancient times in the way it hasn’t ever been displayed before. However, time has passed and the exposition has been looking ‘old-fashioned’ in terms of display methods.

The National History Museum’s Director, Oleg Ryzhkov, has decided to ‘refresh’ the existing set up taking into account that the museum currently has no opportunity to create a completely new panorama of the past event. Over the last three months electricians have added new lighting, and cards have been added in Belarusian, Russian and English. Meanwhile, the interior has been newly decorated.

On entering the exposition hall I wasn’t taken aback. The layout remains the same but the changes are obvious, with exhibits now being displayed more ‘freely’, without being so cramped. The previous developers of the exposition wished to display as much items as possible; however, technical opportunities didn’t allow them to illuminate and to accentuate each artifact. Now, each one is individually illuminated, subtly, thanks to new lamps in the show-cases.

Mr. Ryzhkov tells us, “We’re only now displaying originals, having taken away all replicas. Visitors should see ‘real history’. This exhibition is like a brief reference book for those wishing to understand the roots of Belarusian character.”

The current exposition shows ceramic items and decorations used by our ancestors, indicating the gods to which they prayed (there’s a pagan idol from Shklov, as well as Christian, Judaic and Muslim relics), and which books were read (the range of languages is truly impressive). You can also see how the Fatherland was defended from the times when people wore animal skins and shot from bows until the days when they wore armour and used fire weapons.

By Viktar Andrejev
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