English translation from the official periodical of RAIPON “Мир коренных народов - живая арктика” (Indigenous Peoples’ World - Living Arctic) No. 17, 2005

Shemanovskiy Yamalo-Nenets Okrug Museum and Exhibition Complex

Т. Zvereva and М. Kuzsmenkova, members of the Department of Museum Education

In 1906, the Senior of the Obodor Mission , Father Irinarkh (Ivan Shemanovsky) founded a museum – Ethnographic Collections of Native Peoples of the Tobol North, which has become one of the centers for storing and popularization of the cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples of the Ob North.

In Soviet times The Ethnographic Collections of the Tobol North was renamed as the Obodor-Yamal Bureau of Local Lore Studies and subsequently became the Salekhard Local Lore Museum. The Museum was later granted regional status and was renamed the Yamalo-Nenets Local Lore Okrug Museum

There are over 40 000 objects housed in the museum today. In the year of its 90th anniversary, the Okrug Local Lore Museum was named after its creator– Ivan Shemanovsky. And in October 2002, one of the oldest cultural institutions merged with the young Exhibition Center. Yury Neelov, Governor of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, issued a decree to establish the Shemanovsky Yamalo-Nenets Okrug Museum and Exhibition Complex.

Today it is a single complex with attractive, unusual architecture, modern technical equipment, meeting facilities and conference hall, exhibition center, a museum with exhibition hall and storage facilities. The merger of the two institutions brought about ample opportunities for staging exhibitions and conducing workshops and conferences in a well-equipped facility of over two thousand square meters.

Today, the museum is not only a solid institution with a rich history and unique museum collections, but is also a center where various spheres of activity and information flows intersect. The museum is a popular cultural centers not only of the city but of the wider Okrug. The modern institution with deep historical roots attracts a large number of people irrespective of their age and social status.

The following are new initiatives of the museum:

Children’s Studio Co-creation

Со-Creation is a studio for schoolchildren who want to study the history and culture of their land.. In the program children set off on a fascinating journey to the sources of the world. We open doors to the age of legends, to the time when all things and phenomena received their names. Our guides on that journey are the most interesting sciences: archeology and ethnography. The children come to know:

- Where the fairytale came from;

- What is the picture of the world;

- What do people need myths for and who thinks them up;

- What would have become of the man unless he had not made important discoveries in antiquity;

- How to utilize the mammoth;

- What can the ancient jugs tell you about;

- What did toys look like before, etc.

The program of classes in the studio familiarizes children with ethnography and archeology. The classes are conducted in a participatory and unusual manner. The children most interested in ethnography have classes turned into an ethnographic puppet theater. And children carried away by archeology can try their own hands at the ancient technologies of working with ivory, wood, ceramics, leather, etc. so these classes turn into artisan workshops. Schoolchildren can take part in expeditions, gather information for their own studies, and subsequently participate in various research conferences for schoolchildren throughout Russia. Teachers are invited to participate. Classes may involve one school grade and be taught alternately at school and at the museum. Students in grades 1 – 7 are invited.

The Inter-school Scientific Society proposes collaboration with the museum’s departments to aid subject teachers to do research work with school students.

The Department of Natural History invites students of the general history of the region, its plant and animal life, paleontology and geology.

The Department of History and Local Lore Studies invites students of the history of the region of the 17-19th centuries, the history of the 20th century, including the 501st Construction Project, the Great Patriotic War, and oil and gas industrial development in the region.

The Department of Archeology invites students of the ancient history of the region, the human settlement of the region, the economy systems and the study of ancient art.

The Department of Ethnography invites students of the peoples living in northern Western Siberia, their traditions, culture, folklore and religious concepts.

The Department of Museum Studies was stablished to aid school museums. It specializes in the study of museum activities, collection work, creations of temporary and permanent exhibitions, and museum and exhibition design.

In the near future the following departments are to be established at the musuem:

The Department of World Art Culture (with the assistance of the State Hermitate, St. Petersburg) and

the Department of Computer Technologies.