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08 December 2023 – 07 April 2024

Moscow, the Tsaritsyno State Museum and Nature Reserve

Organized by

the Tsaritsyno State Museum and Nature Reserve


the Tsaritsyno State Museum and Nature Reserve, State Historical Museum, the Pavlovsk State Museum and Nature Reserve, the Tsarskoe Selo State Museum and Heritage Site, the State Hermitage, the Moscow Kremlin Museums, Museum of Toys, Russian State Library, Russian State Archive of Ancient Documents, Russian State Historical Archive


Ink bottle

The Moscow Kremlin Museums take part in the exhibition project “To become a Romanov. Upbringing and Education in the Imperial Family” organized by the Tsaritsyno State Museum and Nature Reserve.

Three centuries of the Romanov dynasty made a significant contribution to the formation of the Russian system of home education and upbringing. It is enough to remember the names of the mentors of the future monarchs – N.I. Saltykov, F.-C. Lagarp, V.A. Zhukovsky – to understand the scale of requirements and the level of standards set for candidates for this place.

The era of Peter the Great introduced subjects related to European culture into the educational programme, while the "Golden Age" of Catherine the Great enriched it with the philosophical works of the French Enlightenment. From time of Catherine the Great, royal children were accustomed to simple living conditions, which taught them patience and readiness for any trials in life. Empress Maria Fyodorovna, wife of Paul I, established the practice of keeping daily personal diaries and the tradition of travelling after completing a course of study. Her extraordinary devotion to the process of educating her own children played a decisive role in the eventual formation of the classical Russian system of home education, based on the principles of domestic restraint, equal love of intellectual and manual labour, impeccable morality and patriotism. Adherence to these postulates was the basis of the culture of education and upbringing at court, the aim of which was to form in the young heir an integral personal component of the future monarch – a high sense of duty.

The items from the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums on display are true companions and unique witnesses of the childhood years of the members of the Romanov dynasty.

The first part of the exhibition, devoted to birth, christening and early years of tsar's children, features a silver rattle made in Nuremberg in the last quarter of the 17th century. In the 19th century it was part of the display of children's rooms in the Moscow museum "House of the Romanov Boyars" on Varvarka Street.

The hanging ink bottle from the late 17th century, which adorns the "Study Room" section, bears the inscription: "in glory be humble and meek". Later, as early as the 18th century, this principle became fundamental to Catherine the Great's model for educating successors.

Items from Grand Princess Alexandra Pavlovna's children's tea and coffee service, made by court silversmiths in the 1780-1790s, originate from the service pantry of the Winter Palace. Grand Princess Alexandra Pavlovna was born in 1783 – so the set was probably one of the first gifts ordered by Empress Catherine II for her young grandchildren.

A no less colourful group of exhibits from the Kremlin’s collection is a part of a chess set made by the famous jewellery firm of Ivan Khlebnikov – supplier of the Royal Court. Silver pieces depict characters from Pyotr Ershov's fairy tale "The Humpbacked Horse". His Imperial Majesty's Cabinet ordered the chess set as a diplomatic gift for Tsesarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich when he travelled abroad.