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The Hermitage's Next Ten Years

With material from The Art Newspaper.

In a recent speech, Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky, The Director of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia outlined his plans for The Museum over the coming decade.

Dr. Piotrovsky emphasized that one of his main objectives is improving public access to The Hermitage's vast collections. Currently only five percent of The Museum's holdings are on display. Work continues on the "Greater Hermitage" project, which will renovate the 19th century General Staff Building across Palace Square from The Winter Palace. The total renovation will cost $150 million over the next 10 years and will increase display space by 40,000 square metres. Funds will come from private sponsors, the World Bank and revenues from exhibitions abroad, as well as funding from the Government of the Russian Federation.

[The Large Carriage]
The Large Carriage — early 18th century

The Hermitage is also trying to raise $50 million to build the second phase of its modern restoration facility located in a separate district of St. Petersburg. Some of The Museum's large carriage collection along with unique archeological artifacts will be housed in the restoration complex, parts of which will be open to the public.

Dr. Piotrovsky also emphasized that another important task for The Museum is to continue its development of the institution's website. There is already available a substantial digital library of works of art and the goal is to make a complete electronic inventory of the museum's collection of three million works. The cost of this project is estimated to be $15 million.

The Director aims to reduce his reliance on government funding by finding alternative income sources to enable the Museum to develop more independently. After all, "The Hermitage is not and never has been a Russian Museum, it is an international museum, a museum of all the world, and it should be open to all the world" said Dr. Piotrovsky. The main goal of the Hermitage's ten year plan is scholarship. "Do not forget that, without research, the Hermitage, or any museum, would go to ruin" he said. Over the next decade, The Museum hopes to spend $30 million on research and publications.

Bob Kaszanits, the President of The State Hermitage Museum Foundation of Canada Inc., when asked for a comment, said, "The speech shows that the Foundation's work is firmly grounded in the vision and priorities of the Hermitage. Our proactive exhibition programme and the Collection Inventory Project place us strategically front and centre with The Museum's activities over the next ten years".


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