by Svetlana CHIBISOVA, department head, Novocherkassk Museum of Don Cossacks, Novocherkassk, Russia
Our museum boasts of a large and unique collection with as many as 200 thousand items in its custody. Holding pride of place there are relics of the Don Cossacks harking back to their best traditions. We have exquisite pieces of cold steel of the 18th and 19th centuries, side-arms awarded to officers of the Don Cossack Wojsko (Troop), and many other articles to feast your eyes on. We take special pride in a collection of regimental and decoration banners, bunchuks (staffs of Cossack hetmans or atamans, the regalia of power) as well as standards of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Orders and medals of the 19th and 20th centuries are the hallmarks of Cossack valor and gallantry in battle... Pieces of decorative and applied art as well as household articles shed light on the Don people's way of life and culture. Also kept in our museum are West European paintings and drawings side by side with works of eminent Russian artists. Now add photographs, documents, books and newspapers on the record of Don Cossacks and their kith and kin.
The Don Museum was opened back in 1899. At first its collection comprised minerals as well as paleonto-logical and archeological articles by and large, that is what related to natural science findings. Another section was set aside for the archives of the Don Wojsko and rare books.
In 1900 the museum stock was expanded by troop regalia handed by the Don Cossack Wojsko command on the instructions of Alexei Kuropatkin, Russia's Minister of War. The Don people contributed personal belongings and arms of their forefathers; all told in 1902 the museum held around 3,000 items in its care.
The revolutionary turmoil of 1917 and the Civil War of 1918-1920 that followed in its wake decimated the museum and its collectibles. On orders of Lieutenant-General Afrikan Bogayevsky, the ataman (chie ... Читать далее