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The year 1812 was marked by the invasion of Russia by Napoleon's army.  As a result of the invasion, many cultural heritage objects were damaged, destroyed, lost or taken away. At the beginning of the Patriotic War of 1812, the staff of the newly established museum in the Kremlin assumed responsibility for the preservation and evacuation of the museum's precious collections - tsar treasures, historical artefacts and state relics.

At the beginning of 1812, the assets of the fund were prepared for transfer to the new building of the Armoury Chamber. The furnishing of the museum, the checking of the inventory and the restoration of the objects were almost completed when the war suddenly broke out.

Emperor Alexander I arrived in Moscow on 11 July to arrange an official meeting and discuss the problem of the French Emperor's approach to the city. The coordination of further evacuation activities, including the evacuation of all city administrators and officials, was to be carried out under the supervision of the Governor of Moscow, Count F. Rostopchin, who was responsible for the defence of the city. The arrival of the Emperor greatly encouraged the people – many Muscovites announced their intention to join the Moscow People's Volunteer Corps.I. Polivanov, a retired colonel, was not allowed to leave the museum and join this voluntary association, as P. Valuev, the head of the Kremlin’s Armoury Chamber and the Workshop, had such a high opinion of his abilities that he preferred him to stay in the city for the needs of the museum.

Together with I. Polivanov, P. Valuev focused his efforts on the common cause - the successful evacuation of the Kremlin treasury in 1812 - and managed to get the museum's collection out of the city and save it. Every member of the museum staff was involved in preparing and packing the collection for transport. In the evening of 22 August, the train of 150 carriages left the Kremlin under the guard of representatives of the 19th Infantry Company of Colonel Shiryaev.

They travelled by land to the town of Kolomna, where the precious objects were to be transferred to large barges. Then the relics and the museum staff were shipped to Nizhny Novgorod, where they found a safe place for storage and accommodation, which had already been prepared and furnished.

In December 1812, the collection of the Armoury Chamber was transferred to the town of Vladimir and later, after a church service, the train set of for Moscow. On 16 June the collection was returned to the Kremlin and placed on the ground floor of the new building of the Armoury Chamber. Sorting of the items began. According to the results of the examination and the official reports of I. Polivanov, all the packages and boxes with stamps remained intact, but some of the items were found to have been damaged during transport.

 
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