Russia's rich cultural heritage is complimented by a unique emphasis that Russians place on history and education. This has helped Russia produce one of the world's most extensive museum systems, one well-known for not only for impressive collections but also thematic versatility, multiplicity of display modes, and sheer number of institutions. With private and public support, many of Russia's museums are being modernized and new museums are being established. Russians have also supported this as some of the world's most avid museum enthusiasts.
Art and Museums in Russia seeks to understand the Russian museum phenomenon and covers wide subject matter. Topics include: the history of collecting, the "museumification" of historic and cultural sites, museum operations (including storage facilities, restoration labs, exhibition curation, education, and development), integration of technology and interactivity, and museum educational work.
Art and Museums in Russia is for students looking to understand not only Russia's cultural and historical heritage, but also how cultural and historical heritage can be best preserved and transmitted. Over an intensive three weeks in beautiful St. Petersburg, Russia, we will take a behind-the-scenes look at the Hermitage Museum, and explore a plethora of others including educational museums at schools of higher learning, scientific museums, museums of ethnography, memorial apartment museums, literary museums, political history museums, and more.
SRAS is celebrating art in Russia by offering a $500 ART GRANT for the Arts and Museums in Russia Program. Grant participants will be expected to contribute weekly (a total of 4) write-ups of St. Petersburg museums, artists, and/or exhibitions for our ArtInRussia.org project and a 2-3 page end-of-program summation essay describing what the scholarship participant learned on this program and how they plan to use this knowledge and experience in the future. The grant is awarded after all conditions are met.
To apply, just write one paragraph about why you want to study art and museums in Russia. Submit this paragraph plus two writing samples (e.g. papers written for college-level classes, preferably on Russia- or art-related subjects) and email these to Josh Wilson, SRAS Assistant Director, when applying for this program!
- Curriculum -
Art and Museums in Russia is a comprehensive venue-based immersive course consisting of twelve days of lectures / museum visits and one week of self-directed investigation and writing a research paper (6 to 8 pages). Throughout the journey students are required to maintain a detailed journal of visits to facilitate organization of the vast material covered.
Your final paper should focus on some aspect of museum practice introduced in the course and should be informed by your experiences in situ. The topic needs to be approved by the instructor. You are encouraged to actively engage outside sources to situate your experiences within a larger picture of the field. Be ready to present your research in a ten-minute PowerPoint presentation at a student conference at the Hermitage Youth Center on the last day of the course.
- Options -
Moscow Estimated Cost: $350 This three-day tour of the Russian capital includes walking tours of the city, admission to several museums, and other culture-oriented events. Roundtrip rail tickets and hostel stay are included. The trip usually take place after the main program for Art & Museums in Russia has ended, meaning that you will have additional time in Russia.
Post-Program Travel or Study Estimated Cost: varies Interested in studying Russian, researching a specific topic, or just traveling Russia after your program? Let us know!
A final project is to be presented at the student conference at the Hermitage Youth Center on the last day of the course.
*Housing: Participants arriving on a student visa are required to stay in dormitory housing on the campus of St. Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON). This is very centrally located and convenient to many of the sites to be visited. Those arriving on other visa types may opt for apartment, hostel, hotel, or home stay at additional cost.
*Prerequisites: Participants 18 years of age and above and at all levels are encouraged to apply. No prior knowledge of Russian required.
*Language: All sessions are in English; some discussions may be facilitated by an interpreter.
*Program Hosting: This program is overseen by SRAS Partner Elena Varshavskaya, Ph.D, who has over two decades of research and teaching experience in the fields of Russian, Central Asian, and Far Eastern Art. All art classes (studio and history) are taught or overseen by Elena Varshavskaya and/or instructors from the Hermitage Educational Center, which is part of the Hermitage Museum.
*Family Members: Participants wishing to bring family members or others on this program are welcome to do so. For those family members not participating in the program, SRAS can help arrange tourist visas, shared housing, and participation in certain excursions including travel to Moscow. For those family members wishing to participate in the course, SRAS offers discounts for multiple participants signing up together. Contact us for details.
Find out about all our St Petersburg based programs:
Pictures from SRAS St. Petersburg Art Programs
Pictures from the city of St. Petersburg
I wish you could see the notebooks that I filled on this trip, not only with facts and notes from tours and class, but with sketches and observations and lists of differences and similarities that I noticed...We absolutely packed our time with seeing everything that we could and while I know there is so much more, I also know that we could not have better spent our time.