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Politechnical Museum, Russia

Experienced voyagerExperienced voyagerExperienced voyagerExperienced voyager Joshua Brook
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Housed in an imposing mustard-colored Neo-Russian style building, designed by the architect Monighetti and built in the middle of the 19th century, the Politechnical Museum is host to more that 20,000 artifacts, diagrams, working models and experiments illustrating numerous aspects of science, technology, industry and communication. The museum's collection stems from the initiative of a group of scientists and academics, which founded the Imperial Society in 1864 with the specific aim of developing scientific research and spreading general awareness of science and technology.

In 1872 the society organized a large-scale industrial exhibition, the first of its kind in Russia, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Peter the Great. The exhibition aimed to reveal to the public the methods and techniques used in Russian industry, demonstrate some of the scientific theories involved through the use of experiments and working models and generally spreading interest in and awareness of science and technology. The exhibition was an enormous success and welcomed over 750,000 visitors over a period of just three month. This prompted the permanent establishment in 1877 of Moscow's Politechnial Museum in its current home. As its collections grew, the museum's building was enlarged time and again to accommodate the new artifacts and exhibitions. The addition in 1907 of a large auditorium to the Politechnic's complex meant that the museum could now host scientific demonstrations, lectures, academic meetings and discussions involving up to a thousand people. The museum rapidly became the progressive center of Moscow's literary, scientific and academic communities.

Today the museum's collections cover the research and development of every conceivable area of technology and industry in Russia, from clocks and computers to mining and metallurgy. Of particular interest are the communications section, featuring the first primitive radio receiver constructed by Alexander Popov in 1895, generally regarded by Russians to be the inventor of the radio, the physics area, including displays on camera-obscurers, holographs and the development of photography, and the chemistry section, featuring exhibitions on the creation of Dmitry Mendeleyev's period table of elements in 1871 and a reconstruction of the scientific laboratory of the Russian academician Mikhail Lomonosov. The museum also hosts extensive sections on the development of transport, agriculture, energy and cosmonautics. The museum features an excellent array of hands-on, interactive displays and models and organizes regular lectures and themed excursions for private parties and school children. More info on: www.moscow-taxi.com

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