21 September 2018 – 24 March 2019

Science Museum, London

Organized by:
Science Museum, London
The British Library, London, UK; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Forensic Archive Ltd, Birmingham, UK; IWM (Imperial War Museums), UK; The Moscow Kremlin Museums, Moscow, Russia; N. A. Semashko National Institute of Public Health, Moscow, Russia; The Foundation of Russian History, Jordanville, New York, USA; The State Archive of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia; The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia; The State Museum of the History of St Petersburg, St Petersburg, Russia; The State Museum-Reserve Pavlovsk, St Petersburg, Russia; Tate Library and Archive, London, UK; The Tsarskoe Selo State Museum and Heritage Site, St Petersburg, Russia; Wellcome Collection, London, UK; and private collections


The Moscow Kremlin Museums participate in the international exhibition at the Science Museum in London, which marks 100 years since the imperial family was executed by shooting. The exhibition is intended to explore the role of medicine and science in the lives of the Russian Emperor and his relatives both during their lifetimes and after their tragic deaths—the investigation into the circumstances.

The display reveals exceptional artefacts which have never been on public display in the UK, i.e. personal diaries of the Romanov family members, rare photographs, X-ray pictures, jewellery and clothing. For the first time, photo albums created by an English tutor to the imperial family, and now part of the Science Museum Group collection, will be on display, providing a fascinating glimpse into their daily lives. The section dedicated to medicine explores the treatment of the disease of Tsarevich Alexei—haemophilia B that passed down from Queen Victoria, as well as the reasons of Rasputin’s influence on the imperial family, and the role of forensic DNA analysis in identifying the remains of the members of the last imperial family. Special attention is given to the death of the family and the following investigation.

The Moscow Kremlin Museums give on loan the Imperial Steel Easter egg made by the House of Fabergé in 1916 on the commission of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. It was made from the material uncommon for royal presents—steel. This egg stands out against other Easter presents due to its austere design and lack of precious decor. Its “surprise” is a watercolour miniature painting depicting Emperor Nicholas II and his son Tsarevich Alexei visiting Russian troops at the Southern and the Western theatres of war at the end of 1915. The design of the egg was possibly so laconic due to the everyday life of the Royal Family was quite simple and unpretentious, and in dire days in Russia, there was no place for excess and luxury including those in the gifts as well.

Another unique exhibit from the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums on display is a notebook of Nicholas II with drawings of jewellery pieces. That is a voluminous notebook with 305 watercolours painted by the Tsar’s own hand. During fourteen years Nicholas II himself catalogued and made depictions of cufflinks, pins, pendants and other presents that he received from his spouse and friends. The Emperor started that notebook in 1889 and the last drawings are dating back to the eve of the First World War in 1913.

This exhibition arranged with the active participation of Russian museums is the fine example of positive cooperation between Great Britain and Russia.