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Culture news, 22.05.2003 14:58

Exhibition "Russia and America: 300 years in books, maps and manuscripts"in the Kunstkammer

Kunstkammer The exhibition "Russia and America: 300 Years in Books, Maps and Manuscripts" has opened in the Kunstkammer. The unique documents from the museum, library and archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences providing a full picture of scientific and cultural relations between Russia and America over almost three hundred years are exhibited.

The documents presented in the exhibition mostly concern the prominent Russian travelers Lisyansky, Cozebu, Golovin and others who are remembered as both authors of the amazing books about their travels round the globe and collectors of ethnographic materials. Some of the exhibits shed light on the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian-American Company which, among other things, organized scientific expeditions to the Alaska heartland. Most of the documents examine scientific relations between Russia and America during the 19th and 20th centuries, including a book signed by Benjamin Franklin, presented by him to the Russian Academy of Sciences, and reports of Russian scholars who traveled in the United States in the 1920-40s.

The Russian discovery of America was inaugurated by the 1st Kamchatka Expedition (1724-29) whose task was to determine whether Asia and America were connected. The Expedition of Bering and Chirikov (2nd Kamchatka Expedition, 1733-43) reached the American coast on 15 and 16 July, 1741. They were followed by the Expeditions of Sarychev and Billings which opened an era of the consistent exploration of North America by the Russians. Documents loaned by the Library of the Academy of Sciences show various stages of this odyssey.

The exhibition has been proposed and is supported by the US Consulate General in St. Petersburg; it will be on display till early August.

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