By Nadezhda Radivonova
The exhibition explores the first settlements found in the Minsk Region, historical events from the time of the Polotsk Principality, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Rzecz Pospolita, and socio-political and cultural development within our land as part of the Russian Empire. One section is dedicated to the 1812 war, while the first half of the 19th century also receives attention — being the time when industrial and agricultural change arrived. Moreover, the culture of the region and that of national minorities is also examined.
The museum is showcasing unique exhibits found during archaeological digs in the Minsk Region: a 12th-13th century golden temple ring worn by the Dregovichi tribe, 11th-12th century items made from glass, leather and bone, and 16th-17th century tiles. Interesting coins found in the Molodechno District’s Moroski village in 1971 are also on show (14 treasures have been found in total in the Minsk Region).
A gold-woven 18th century Slutsk sash, donated by the Moscow State Historical Museum in 1968, and black-letter books from printing houses in Cologne, Nesvizh, Vilno, Warsaw, Sandomierz, Unev and Moscow, released from 1646-1789, are also on display. Additionally, visitors can peruse 17th century manuscripts in old Belarusian language, written in the Latin alphabet, and a letter from Vilno University to Zorian Dolenga-Khodakovsky asking for assistance in collecting ancient Slavonic artefacts (1818). Collections of labouring tools and items from rural life are also showcased, including folk costumes, woven items and crafts.
The most spectacular item in the exhibition is the recreated living room from a noble manor, featuring furniture from the late 19th century. An antique cabinet piano graces the hall, its lid decorated with a bas-relief depicting a lyre.