Description of the museum collections of the "Gomel Palace & Park Ensemble" State Historical Cultural Institution.
The museum was opened on November 07, 1919 at the nationalized palace of the Paskevich Princes in Gomel. The basis of the museum were the items of the palace interior and collections previously owned by its landlords.
The first museum expositions exhibited sculptures, refined furniture, pictures, articles of decorative and applied arts, war trophies, cold arms and firearms. The museum specialists from Russia and Belarus got very interested in the collections of the Historical Art Museum in Gomel. Unfortunately, serious damage was caused to the museum during the Civil War and the Great Patriotic War. Thousands of the museum items were lost irretrievably. Since 1952 the museum got a new name of "the Gomel Regional Local History Museum", and museum collections were formed according to the profile of the museum. Today it owns over 158 thousand items of the main museum holdings, which include the following collections:
An archeological collection numbers over 80 thousand stored subjects, and those include archeological materials on the history of the city and of the Gomel Region in general. This collection was established in the 1950s. Collections of silicone weapons, ceramics, metal jewelry came to the museum after complex expedition of the USSR Academy of Sciences to the territory of the Dnieper River basin. Such outstanding scientist-archeologists as A.A. Artemenko, O.N. Melnikovskaya, Y.V. Kukharenko, G.F. Soloviev participated in the expedition. V.V. Bogomolnikov, A.I. Drobushevski, O.A. Makushnikov had been making archeological researches in the region of Gomel and in the city in the 1970-1990s. The holdings of the museum have been enriched by various items of material culture during that period. The museum has made its contribution into archeological excavations, too.
The most significant and well studied monuments are: an Upper-Paleolithic early man site in Berdyzhie, Mesolithic early man sites in Romanovichi and Zaliadie Villages in Gomel District, a Neolithic complex in Khodosovichi Village of Rogachov District, Bronze Age sepulchers near Strelitsa Village of Vetkovski District and Khodosovichi Village of Rogachov District, ancient settlements and sepulchers near Voronino Village of Zhitkovichski District, Gorshkov and Milograd Village of Rechitsa District, Mokhov Village of Loev District, Uvarovichi Town of Buda-Koshelevo District, in the suburbs of Gomel in the Swedish Mountain Tract, burial mounds near Vetochka Village, Gadilovichi Village, Madora Village of Rogachov District, Kurganie Village of Zhlobin District, and, indisputably, an ancient settlement in Gomel. Unique findings are a loppy seal with the symbol of the Rurikoviches was found near Zolotukha Village of Chechersk District, a treasure of neck grivnas dated the 12th century were found near Kozi Rog Village of Buda-Koshelevo District, and other materials were found during excavating of the Gomel ancient settlement.
This collection represents coins and coin treasures of different times and countries, including the Great Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Russia, the USSR and many countries of the Western Europe.
Those are the documents on history of the Gomel region explaining development of towns, of various institutions, organizations, enterprises of the region, personal documents of the historical characters, participants of revolutionary events and wars, famous people of Gomel Region.
Photo picture documents
Photo picture documents have found an important place in the museum collections. Those are pictures of memorial complexes, pictures about the history of Gomel and its region telling about development of industry, social and cultural fields, sports, etc.
Certain collections of pictures are devoted to famous people whose life was related to the history of Gomel Region: veterans of the Great Patriotic War, scientists, researches, people of culture and art. Materials on P.O. Sukhoi, General Aircraft Designer of the Soviet Army, on A.A. Gromyko, Foreign Minister of the USSR, on K.K. Rokossovski, Marshal of the USSR, on L.S. Vygotski, Psychologist and others are of immense interest.
Collection of fine arts of the museum of the Gomel Palace & Park Ensemble exhibits paintings, graphics and sculptures by Belarusian, Russian and European masters. The collection shows samples of various styles and artistic-stylistic schools covering the period from the 18th century until present time.
a) The most eminent part of the picturesque collection of the museum are the paintings portraying the events related to the military activities of I.F. Paskevich, Field Marshal and former owner of the Gomel Palace. Those are the paintings by Yanuari Sukhodolski, Martin Zalesski, Joseph Ettinger and others.
Modern art collection was established in the 1960s. The holdings of the museum have been enlarged by the art pieces by Boris Zvinogorodski, Victor Kazachenko, Vitali Tsvirko, Dmitri Aleinik, Robert Landarski, Nikolay Kazakevich and by many others.
A wide collection of watercolors includes 11 watercolor miniature portraits of the family members of the Paskeviches. A part of those watercolors was painted by the famous Polish miniature painter Stanislav Marshalkevich. There are also pictures and watercolors by the oldest artist of the Soviet Union: Elena Mashkovtseva-Samoilenko.
The collection of arts includes icons painted by oil and tempera, too. Icon painting collection numbers over 400 items. That collection was established in the 1970s mainly due to buying the icons from people. The icons previously owned by the Paskevich Princes, the landlords of the Gomel estate, are of special value. Those icons are highly artistic, made as mosaic, bone carving and have highly decorated incasements. The unique icons are "God's Epiphany", "Repentant Magdalen", "Tenderness", etc.
Icons made by the masters who used to live and create in the territory of the Gomel Region are of big interest. One of the outstanding phenomena of the icon art is the "Vetka icon". In the 18th century Vetka Village became the center of the Old Believers' dissidence in the Gomel Region. A local school of icon painting was established there. The Vetka icon has the features of the ancient Russian icon painting, however it has absorbed various art traditions: it used to be decorated by rich silver, brass, beads frameworks and placed into carved gold-plated icon cases.
Popular icon was widespread in the territory of the Gomel Region. Its design level has been totally dependent on the talent and artistic taste of its author.
b) Graphic arts is mainly represented by the works made in the Soviet Union time. Those are the engravings by Fedor Tychina, one of the most outstanding Belarusian graphic artists, book illustrations by the famous master of the book art Jacob Telishevski, expatriate Gomel citizen, and pieces by other artists.
c) The collection of sculpture includes various reliefs such as timber, bone, stone, metal carving and round sculptures. The collections of the 19th century marble sculpture of the Palace are copies of Apollo, Venus, a copy of Michelangelo's "Moses". "The rape of the Sabines" is a sculpture composition attracting certain interest.
Studio bronze in the current museum collection includes sculptures, clocks and candelabra. This collection has over fifty items of palace decoration of the former owners of the Gomel estate.
Decorative and applied arts
This collection includes pieces from the palace collection of the Paskeviches, of the modern decorative and applied arts, artistic items made by the industrial enterprises of the region, works made by the local masters.
Treasure of the religious items dated the late 18th century - second half of the 19th century is unique. It was found in the territory of the Gomel District on-site of the former Chenkovski Cloister.
Weaving and embroidery
The core of the folk weaving is towels, shirts for men and women, woolen skirts (andaraks), beddings, tablecloths. This collection has been established as a result of ethnographical expeditions to various regions of the Gomel Region. Unique feature of the Gomel Region if compared to other historical-ethnographical regions of Belarus is the variety of the technical methods, resplendence of ornaments, which have clearly expressed local peculiarities. Those can be fully seen in the ornament of towels and in the woman's folk costume.
Towels coming from the Neglub Village, Vetkov District are folk culture phenomenon.
Original decoration is typical for the towels from the central parts of the Eastern Polesye (the districts of Svetlogorsk, Kalinkovichi, Zhlobin).
Geometrical ornament of the towels from the district of Gomel and Dobrush is characterized by fineness and little elements, which bring lightness and plasticity to décor.
Folk costumes from the Gomel Region include blouses, sleeveless jackets, belt-clothing (skirt, apron), belts, headdresses, footwear.
It includes cold arms and fire arms, munitions, equipment, military machines, armors. Weaponry engraved with the name of I.F. Paskevich is of peculiar interest.
It is memorial clothing of the partisans, members of underground movement, soldiers of the Soviet Army who distinguished themselves in liberation of the Gomel Region and of our city, of the fellow-townsman. The collection includes the elements of the traditional folk costume from the Gomel Region (shirts, skirts, sleeveless jackets, aprons, belts, headgear). Religious clothing is a part of the collection, too.
The collection includes brochures, booklets, magazines, newspapers, books on the history of the region, presented books (gifts) as well as the old printed books dated from the 16th century. This collection numbers about 300 units of issue.
Task-oriented formation of the collection started in the 1970s. The core of the collection is old books published in the 16th - first quarter of the 19th century, handwritten books and the books published by the Church.
The museum keeps the books published by various print shops operating in the territory of the Great Duchy of Lithuania, Russia and Zhemoit, of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Russia, Ukraine, etc.
Among the old-published books the "New Testament" by Peter Mstislavets dated 1575, the "New Testament and Psalmbook" dated 1596, the "Apostle" dated 1601-1610, the "Festal Triodion" dated 1604 by Ivan Indronikov are the oldest ones.
The book-hand-writing tradition, specific to the Old Believers' environment, existed until the 1930s in the Vetka District. The earliest sample of the hand-written book is "The Gospel" from the 17th century. Headpieces, colophons, initials and miniatures, perfectly executed by the local masters, make those books to be true pieces of art.
Manuscripts and hand-written books
Those include the script books and the Old Believer's books, autobiographies, recollections, autographs of the famous people from the Gomel Region. A hand-written list of the comedy by A.S. Griboedov "Woe from Wit" dated 1820 is unique.
This collection includes the upper part of the tallboy and the tables from the Paskeviches as well as bought sideboards, chests of drawers, cupboards, china cabinets, tables, armchairs, chairs made in the 19th - first half of the 20th century.
Materials on natural-science history
Those are the minerals from our region, paleontological, entomological materials, a collection of sea organisms.