15 March - 26 May 2024

Exhibition Hall of the Patriarch's Palace, Exhibition Hall of the Assumption Belfry

Organized by

the Moscow Kremlin Museums


the Moscow Kremlin Museums, the Grand Kremlin Palace, the Historical Museum, the Shchusev State Museum of Architecture, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the State Russian Museum, the State Hermitage, the Museum of the Academy of Arts, the National Library of Russia


Portrait of P.F.Karabanov

The exhibition is dedicated to the famous 19th-century Russian collector Pavel Karabanov and his contemporaries – Muscovites, history enthusiasts and owners of unique private collections. The amateur scholars of history in the 18th and 19th centuries were defined as those whose concern for the fate of the country's historical heritage led them to search for, preserve and study relics of Russian antiquity. A particular interest in national antiques began to develop in the enlightened circles of Russian society after the Patriotic War of 1812. Many priceless collections and unique rarities were lost in the fires. Lovers of national history turned their attention to search for the new artifacts and their introduction into the scientific sphere. As a result of this passion, private collections were actively forming, and in the 19th century, Russian history and art pieces became a significant part of them.

The so-called Russian Museum of P.F. Karabanov became one of these collections. He began acquiring objects of Russian ancientry in the 1790s, long before the uprise of mass interest in this phenomenon. Pavel Fyodorovich was the heir of old Russian nobles, where family relics were carefully preserved. He had been creating his domestic museum for more than fifty years. By the mid-19th century, the collection was already quite extensive consisting of a museum section that included works of decorative and applied art, a library with valuable manuscripts, old printed books and autographs of famous Russians, there was also a print room and a numismatics gallery. Contemporaries called P.F. Karabanov’s Museum "the second Armoury Chamber". When Emperor Nicholas I learned about the collection, he immediately decided to buy it. The owner was not ready to part with his "brainchild" during his lifetime, but decided to bequeath it after his death to the Emperor, and in his person – to the Homeland. In May 1851, after the death of P.F. Karabanov, his private museum was moved from the Moscow mansion on Petrovka Street to the Armoury Chamber. This is the only time in the history of the State Treasury that it has received as a gift not one or a few objects, as is often the case, but the entire collection. However, by the will of the Emperor, the Karabanov Museum was divided into several parts soon after the inventory was made. A significant part of the applied arts remained in the Armoury Chamber, while the rest was sent to Saint Petersburg. At present the art pieces of the Russian Museum of P.F. Karabanov are kept both in the Armoury Chamber and in the collections of several famous museums and libraries, such as the State Hermitage, the State Russian Museum and the Russian National Library.

The display at the Moscow Kremlin Museums has allowed many of the items in this highly interesting collection to be brought together and, in part, to reconstruct P.F. Karabanov's Russian Museum. Icons and objects of personal piety, handwritten books, precious utensils and tableware, the 17th-century women's jewellery and accessories of the "gallant age", objects of oriental origin, and arms in all their diversity are presented within the exhibition. A special section is dedicated to forgeries and imitations, which were inevitably present in private collections. Pavel Fyodorovich acquired works of various artistic levels, but they were united by one theme – Russian antiques. That is why the items from his collection were the most suitable for the House of the Romanov Boyars display in the old chambers on Varvarka Street in Moscow – a dynastic museum created in the mid-19th century, where items of Russian life were to be shown. One section of the exhibition focuses on the House of the Romanov Boyars and the artefacts that once adorned it.

At the Moscow Kremlin Museums one finds works from various Moscow private collections of the 19th century, which were brought there at different times and under different circumstances. The exhibition will tell about the collections of count A.I. Musin-Pushkin, prince N.B. Yusupov, prince M.A. Obolensky, M.P. Pogodin and will allow visitors to be immersed in their world. These remarkable collectors were in different ways connected to P.F. Karabanov or the Moscow Armoury Chamber.

The project is a tribute to people who preserved for us unique pieces of Russian cultural heritage. It brings together more than four hundred works from the Moscow Kremlin Museums and other national collections, many of which are being presented to the public for the first time.

The Moscow Kremlin Museums have launched a theme-based satellite site "Amateur Scholars of Russian History. Pavel Karabanov and Moscow Collectors of the 19th Century".


The exhibition is open every day except Thursday from 10:00 to 17:00.

Entrance fee to the exhibition – 500 RUB.
Free for under 7-year-olds.

Tickets are available:

  • online on the museum's website (only full-price tickets);
  • in the museums' ticket office in Alexander Garden on the day of the visit;
  • at touch-sensitive terminals at the museum's ticket office and the Kremlin territory on the day of your visit (only full-price tickets).


Exhibition halls