BARANOVICHI MUSEUM OF LOCAL HISTORY
1920s-1930s. Baranovichi, just like the whole of Western Belarus, was a part of Poland and a center of Baranovichi district, Novogrudok province. It was a typically “marginal” town which was situated in a transport hub, with 20,000 citizen (not including a great number of military men). Namely at this time the history of Baranovichi museum begins.
In 1929 Baranovichi district Regional committee took a decision about the organization of an exhibition which could fully reflect the economical and cultural development of the town and district on the whole. The organization of the exhibition was entrusted to Leonard Turski, a professor of a Baranovichi gymnasium. While preparing for the exhibition he came to a conclusion that it was not right to make just a short-term exhibition. It was necessary to create a Baranovichi public museum with a picture gallery nearby, which would both operate in the town on a continuous basis. This proposition by Turski was supported by the Regional committee and Turski was asked to organize and head the provincial museum.
Baranovichi museum was opened in October 1929 in a small building in Sheptytski Street (now Sovetskaya Street). Three divisions were created in it: a division of nature, an ethnographic division and a historic division.
The first exposition of Baranovichi museum included quite interesting pieces. They were a dressing-case of the 18th century, a rich collection of coins which were found on the territory of Baranovichi district, banknotes of the period of Tadeush Kostyushko uprising, banknotes of the Warsaw Duchy, weapons, expensive china, icons, wood sculptures from the castle of the Sapegas in the village of Novaya Mysh situated not far from Baranovichi, and other things. The museum kept a vast collection of books. Among them there were early printed books. The first edition of Adam Mitskevich’s works of 1822 was of special value.
1939-1940. After the reunion of Western Belarus and the BSSR in Baranovichi and Baranovichi district (which was created on December 4, 1939) here worked a committee on studying the historical and cultural landmarks. One of the results of its work became a decision by the BSSR Council of People’s Commissars about opening a district Museum of Fine Arts in Baranovichi on the basis of a district museum. In 1940 while conducting nationalization, the museum received furniture, kitchenware, articles of decorative and applied art, books, paintings and other things which were taken from the estates of Baranovichi district, and from Nesvizh castle of the Radzivills. Many of these pieces were true works of art – jewel-cases, china (Saxon, Sevres, Dutch and Japanese), seals of the Radzivill princes of the 18th c., works of art and graphic art of the 17th -20th cc.
1941-1944. During the Nazi occupation the museum in Baranovichi continued its activity. At that time a museum exposition worked, and fine arts exhibitions were organized. One of them was an exhibition called “Young Belarus”. It displayed the works of artists from Baranovichi, Minsk, Novogrudok and other places. Among them there were paintings by M.Sevruk (“Flax tow maker”, “A Belarusian peasant”), A.Shimonovich (“A Belarusian girl”, “Country girls”). It’s known that during the war years 1716 exhibits of Baranovichi museum were lost forever.
After the war it became necessary to recreate the museum practically from scratch. During the period after the war the museum workers managed to collect quite rich funds. Today they include over 41,000 articles of the main fund. They are connected with various pages of history of Baranovichi and Baranovichi region.
1946-1953.As the destroyed town didn’t have a single suitable building for housing the museum, Baranovichi district museum was created. It functioned during this period on the basis of Slonim museum. The latter was the only one left undestroyed on the territory of the district.
1953. Baranovichi district museum of regional and historical studies was removed from the town of Slonim to the district centre. It was established in Mitskevich Street (now Lenin Street).
1954, 9 April. As a result of abolishing of Baranovichi district, Baranovichi district museum was renamed Baranovichi museum of local history.
Since 1960 the museum has been located in the historical centre of the town in Sovetskaya Street (previously – Maryinskaya Street) in a 20th century building. During its activity in this building the museum exposition was rebuilt three times. After major repairs of the museum building (1986-1991) an exposition was opened for visitors in 1994-1995. It is still running today.
The character of the museum (the museum of local history) served as the most important factor taken into consideration while creating the exposition. The exposition was set in 7 halls the area of which is 250 square meters. In 2006 a full reconstruction of the 7th hall was arranged. The exposition of Baranovichi museum of local history(it displayed over 2,000 interesting pieces of the main fund), acquaints its visitors with the rich nature and historical past of Baranovichi land, with the history and modern day of Baranovichi.
1984. In one of the town’s buildings (88, Sovetskaya Street) accommodation was given. In it an exhibition hall was housed (the total area is 140 square meters). This allowed improving its expositional possibilities substantially.
Today Baranovichi museum of local history is one of the oldest historical centers of the town. There you may not only broaden your knowledge on the history of your native land and the country in general, but to have a good rest.
Address: 225409, Brest region, Baranovichi, 72 Sovetskaya Street
Telephones: ordering excursions and lectures – 8(0163) 421524; fax – 8(0163)421100