The premise for creating the Museum-Reserve was the opening of the expositions on the history and ethnography of Siberia by I. Yushkov, secretary of statistical committee, in 1870.
In Autumn 1890 the building for the first natural history museum in Siberia was constructed on the donations of Tobolsk citizens. The same year “Tobolsk Provincial Museum” association was headed by Tobolsk governor A. Troinitsky. Scientific activity of Tobolsk Museum bloomed in this period. The museum became the center of studying Siberian history, economics and nature. It took part in major national and international exhibitions; the staff explored ethnographic heritage and crafts of the indigenous peoples, held annual expeditions in the northern part of Tobolsk province.
From 1893 till 1918 the museum had been issuing “Tobolsk Provincial Museum Yearbook”. Nowadays this book is a unique edition, it has valuable data about Western Siberia.
The heir immediate, future emperor Nicholas II, took Tobolsk Museum under his imperial auspices in 1891.
In 1921 the provincial museum was reformed into the museum of Tobolsk North. In 1925 the exposition of the museum was moved to the building of the former Bishop’s House on the territory of Sofia Dvor in Tobolsk Kremlin.
In 1961 state Government made a decision to create Tobolsk Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve on the basis of Tobolsk natural museum and architectural monuments of the city. In 1995 Tobolsk Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve was included in the list of historical and cultural objects of Federal (national) Heritage.
The new period of Tobolsk Museum-Reserve began in 2007 when the concept of exhibition radically changed. The aim was to use the museum resources to the maximum. Great deal of work for developing tourism industry was done according to the President Vladimir Putin’s decree on creating a tourism center on the basis of Tobolsk Museum-Reserve with the financial support from Tyumen region administration.
In 2009 the Governor’s Palace, the key museum complex, was opened for visitors. The exposition in memorial building is devoted to the history of governance in Siberia from Ermak’s conquest till 1917.
Later renovated provincial Museum - the first museum in Siberia, Museum of Siberian exile – “The Prison Castle”, depository of rare books and editions – Scientific Library, exhibition hall in the building of Provincial Courthouse, open depository in Renterey were opened.
In 2015 Museum of Siberian trade in Gostiny Dvor and “Gingerbread bakery” in the Governor’s Palace became available for visitors. At the beginning of 2016 Museum of Crafts and museum family center “Kamelek” opened their doors for guests.
In 2017 three autonomous cultural establishments of Tyumen region such as “I. Slovtsov Museum Complex”, “Tobolsk Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve”, “Yalutorovsk Museum Complex” were united into one state autonomous cultural establishment “Tyumen Museum Educational Association”.
On 29th April 2018 a new museum complex “Museum of the Family of Emperor Nicholas II” was opened for visitors. The new object is housed in the memorial building of Governor’s Residence, the place where exiled family of Nicholas II used to live from August 1917 till April 1918.
Tobolsk Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve includes 55 objects, the funds have 450 thousand museum items. The most valuable items are ethnographic, archeological, paleontological collections, hand- written and printed book editions, products of local crafts (such as ivory carving), photo collection, items that belonged to imperial Romanovs’ family.
There are 11 museum complexes now; new ones are expected to open in the future. Thematic excursions and sightseeing tours are developed by our guides. Scientific workshops and conferences on history, architecture and museum studies are held in the museum regularly. In 2011the first issue of museum magazine “Relikvarium” was printed, from 2012 magazine for children “UNIUM” has been published.
Today Tobolsk Museum-Reserve is a structural division of GAUK TO “Tyumen Museum Educational Association”, the space to spend one’s free time productively and informatively, the place for carrying out social events, festivals, scientific educational conferences on national and international levels.
The History of the City
Tobolsk was founded in 1587 by a troop of Cossacks under the command of Danila Chulkov. The place for the city was near Chuvash Cape on a high plato where the rivers Irtish and Tobol confluence. This place used to be inhabited by the Tatars. Here on October 23rd, 1582 a great battle between Ermak and khan Kuchum’s troops happened.
From XVII till XVIII centuries Tobolsk had been one of the greatest cities in Russian Empire, the main military, administrative, political and spiritual center of Siberia. In 1782 it became a center of Tobolsk vicegerency, from 1796 till 1917- of Tobolsk province. However the rich and populous city soon lost its leading economic position because the trade routes were moved.
Tobolsk topography predetermined having 2 parts of the city: upper and lower ones. In the upper part, on Trinity Cape, the first Siberian Kremlin stood – protected fortress and Sofia Dvor. From the end of XVII till the end of XIX centuries the Kremlin was being built and rebuilt in stone. In both upper and lower parts of the city new building and churches appeared. The most important construction of the lower city was Znamensky monastery. Classical reconfiguration of Tobolsk after the Great Fire in 1788 significantly changed the streets structure but preserved the architectural dominant sites.
Sofia Dvor with Sofia Cathedral is the most valuable for the city. The Kremlin ensemble with its churches, fortress walls and towers almost in the city center, on high Trinity Cape, gives a fairy atmosphere to the landscape.
Style Baroque in building city churches bloomed in 1740-1770. In this period The Nativity church, St. Andrew’s church, church of Michael the Archangel, Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Ilyinskaya), Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Pokrovskaya), Candlemas Church (Pyatnitskaya), Church of Saints Zacharias and Elizabeth (Voskresenskaya), St. Peter and Paul’s Church were constructed. Tobolsk churches are relatively similar in their composition, in a shape of a “ship”. Most of the churches in the lower part of the city have relatively high “podklet” - ground floor - where usually warm rooms were. Churches in Tobolsk have both similarities and differences in features with churches in other regions. These differences let us set out a local architectural movement of “Siberian baroque” of XVII century. It is a unique combination of Old Russian and baroque shapes, sculptural crowns, ornamented roofing, traits of Ukrainian architecture, scenic décor. Tobolsk baroque school is also characteristic of churches in Tyumen, it influenced the whole Western Siberia.
Stone civil buildings also started being built in Tobolsk. Before the middle XVIII century stone houses had belonged only to metropolitans, for civil purposes wood had been traditionally used, only in the second half of XVIII century, after many city fires, wealthy citizens, such as merchants Khudyakov, Volodimirov, Korniliev, Sheverin, Shokhin, Malkov, Diakonov, Trenin, Kuklin, “eminent citizen Kremlev”, “Severyukov’s wife” and other began building stone houses. Not many constructions remained till present days; a part of them was destroyed by the fire of 1788. Some of the buildings were bought by the administration and reconstructed for civil purposes (post office, pharmacy). The preserved houses give an idea of the common features of that type of stone housebuilding.
Tobolsk mansions of the end XVIII –beginning XIX centuries were typically two-store stone buildings with high roofing. Tobolsk architects in their early period would focus on baroque forms, taking the features from baroque churches.
The reconstruction that took place after the Great Fire established classicism for a long time. Classicism features are chastity in details or ornamented façade (Kremlev, Shokhin’s houses). Standardized buildings were recommended to be mansions without columns, porches, big ornaments.
Among public buildings of classicism the most valuable constructions were the Prison Castle and station hospital, built in Empire style.
Architectural styles of the second half of XIX century were not evident in Tobolsk. The house that stands out with its baroque-renaissance look is the Kornilovs’ mansion. However some of the public buildings combine stone style features, classicism eclecticism and Western European medieval architecture – Romanesque, Gothic styles (Polish Catholic Church, water tower, water pumping station, state wine warehouse and other).
Modernist style shows in the construction of educational buildings of the beginning of XX century (girls’ gymnasium, medical and obstetrical school).
Historical atmosphere of Tobolsk is mostly kept due to mass wooden construction of the end XIX – beginning XX centuries. These houses unite elements of provincial classics with traditional composition. Emphasized decoration of the roofing in mansions characterize the local architectural school.
Throughout its history Tobolsk has been the biggest cultural and educational center of Siberia: chronicles were written here, the first Slavik-Russian school in Siberia was opened, theater was established in 1705, printing office used to work, the first Siberian magazine “Irtish, prevrashayiuschiysya v Ipokrenu” was published.The cultural heritage was determined by the activity of the exiled: in XVIIc – by journalist J. Krizhanich, archpriest Avvakum, in XVIII-XIXcc. – by A. Radishev, P. Sumarokov, V. Passeck; in 30-50s XIXc – by Decembrists A. Baryatinskiy, P. and N. Bobroschev-Pushkins, F. Volf, S. Krasnokutsky, V. Kyukhelbecker, A. Muraviev, P. Svistunov, I. Annenkov, N. Chizhov, S. Semenov, F. Bashmakov, M. Fonvisin, V. Stenigel.
Eminent composer A.Alyabiev, scientist D. Mendeleev, architect A. Kokorinov, artist V. Perov, were born in Tobolsk. Siberian mappist, architect and historian S. Remezov, poet and educator P. Ershov, historian P. Slovtsov lived and worked here. From August 1917 till April 1918 the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II with his family lived in exile here. The connection with historical events and personalities is shown through many public and religious artifacts.