Museum of Siberian Birch Bark

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Of all museums in Novosibirsk the museum of birch bark objects is my favorite and it  is a unique place.

From Wikipedia (http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Музей_«Сибирская_береста») and from the museum website (http://museum-beresta.ru/) we learn that this museum is the only one of that kind in the world. The museum website is in Russian only, but you can look at the pictures anyway.

Though the museum is quite small and cozy, it offers its visitors a nice collection of pictures, statues, decorations and even icons, all of them made of birch bark. The majority of the objects are hand-made in Novosibirsk.

I visited the museum with my tourists many times, and once I took my kids and my husband there for them to look at the amazing things. My boys were amazed and liked the museum very much, because of one hall where objects representing characters from famous Russian fairy tales are exhibited, such as wood goblins (called Leshiy in Russian), Baba Yagas, wood masters (lesovichoks), sauna masters (banniks) and so on.

Some figures are so complex that one just cannot imagine how the artist made them. It is not an exaggeration to say that all objects are masterpieces.

 

You can also see objects of worship, some kind of amulets kept in the house or worn as decorations, and even icons, which, according to the keeper of the museum, are blessed by the Russian orthodox church.

There are many objects reflecting lifestyle in a typical Russian village, and there is even a hall with objects for people aged 18+!!

Some simple things can be bought right in the museum shop, and larger objects can be produced according to an individual order.

I include a visit to this museum into each tour I guide, as the museum is located right in the city center, and has two exhibition halls, located ul. Sverdlova 21, and ul. Gorkogo 18. If you happen to be in Novosibirsk, try to find a couple of hours for this museum.

 

7 Responses to Museum of Siberian Birch Bark

  1. Richard Lowery:

    Marvelous —I was the receipent of some beresta work some years ago. It was from a lady in Novosibirksk (a pen pal) I sold them for her here in the USA. Bracelets, photo frames, boxes, etc. The museum pieces are fantastic.

  2. Richard Lowery:

    Marvelous —years ago ,from a pen pal in Novosibirsk, I received some beresta work. Bracelets,photo frames, boxes, etc which I sold for her here in USA. Ironically, her name was Olga. Amazed at the museum pieces.

  3. Guillaume Cochinaire:

    Hello Olga,

    My name is Guillaume Cochinaire, I’m a young french artist. I’ll be travelling during March 2014 from France to Russia and then with the transsiberian to Beijing where I’ll will attempt a seven months artist residency.

    I’m very interesting in this birch bark craft and I’d like to know if you have informations about if it would be possible to see craftsmen working, if there is a workshop in town, briefly if it is possible to fullfill my technical interest for this practice and eventually to have the opportunity to work with it.

    Thanks a lot for your answer!

    Sincerly yours

    Guillaume

    • Olja:

      Hello, Guillaume.
      Thank you for your comment and yur interest.
      Currently I don’t know anything about the workshop and the artists, but I fill try to find it out for you. As most of the objects have been created not long ago, the staff of the museum must know well about the workshop and the artists.
      I’ll contact the museum and ask them, but you can try and do it yourself. Here’s the email of the museum, I think you could write them and explain your interest. museum-beresta@yandex.ru
      Besides, I have found the website of the association ‘Siberian Birchbark’, which doesn’t seem to be a part of the museum, but an independent association. http://www.sibberesta.ru/
      The website is in Russian only, but they have an email, and I think you can also try this. Or I can try and do it myself.

  4. Guillaume Cochinaire:

    Hello Olga,

    Thanks a lot! I’ve just send the e-mails, but I’m afraid of the langage barrier: I do not talk russian. If I don’t have any answers in the next few days I’ll let you know and maybe you would help about it.

    Thanks again for your kindness

    Have a nice day

  5. Guillaume Cochinaire:

    Hello Olga,

    I didn’t get any answer yet from the museum neither the association. Maybe you could try for me in russian? If being in contact with the craftsmen is possible, just to let you know, I’ll arrive in Novossibirsk on the 17th march in the morning and leave three days later.

    Thanks a lot again.

    Sincerly yours

    Guillaume C.

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