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Tot'ma Museum Association

Tot'ma museum association was established in 1991 and includes:

  • Museum of Local Lore
  • Kuskov Memorial Flat
  • Museum of the Russian Church Antiques
  • Museum of Russian Seafaring
  • Open Storage of Funds
  • Rubtsov Memorial Museum
  • Museum of Childhood and Family
Museum of Local Lore

The year 1915 saw the opening of the Museum of Local Lore that was located in the building of the former theological school. Now it boasts a good collection of folk crafts, other exhibits that are of great historical and ethnographic value. The first exhibits of the museum were given by the town's residents: a plan of Tot'ma dating from 1781, a wooden table embellished with an intricate pattern carved out, an ancient brass areometer used to define brine density, and two oil portraits depicting members of the Kuskov family. Now the museum funds number more than 67,000 exhibits. The local lore museum's collections are displayed in 4 halls - an art and a historical sections, a nature department, an exhibition hall and a storeroom.

Kuskov Memorial Flat

The year 1990 saw the opening of the Kuskov Memorial Flat. The museum tells the story of life of a Tot'ma-born navigator Ivan Kuskov. Tot'ma was once a powerhouse of merchant Russia. Adventurers from the town opened up trade routes to Siberia, Alaska, China and the west coast of the United States. Tot'ma's main rivals were other northern towns - Veliky Ustyug, for example, where two hundred years ago merchants who had made their money in Siberia and America built luxurious riverside residences. One Tot'ma native, Ivan Kuskov, founded Fort Ross in California in 1812, and after years in North America, retired to his birthplace along with a wife, who by some accounts was a Native American. At that time Tot'ma was a flourishing merchant centre, dealing in furs, wax, silks and salt. It is not by chance that the town's coat of arms has a black fox on it, an animal native to the Aleutian Islands off Alaska, not to northern Russia.

Unfortunately the world - famous navigator died 3 months after his arrival in the native town. Ivan Kuskov is buried on the territory of the Spaso-Sumorin monastery. Recently a granite bust of Ivan Kuskov has been erected in front of the house where the first commandant of Fort Ross spent his last years.

Museum of the Russian Church Antiques

The official opening of a small but attractive museum with local icons took place in 1995 and was timed to the 80th anniversary of the Tot'ma Local Lore Museum. The Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God has become home to the museum. The church was erected in 1808. Its bell tower literally overshadows the main structure. In good weather, it is possible to climb to the top of the tower and enjoy a superb panorama of Tot'ma, the Sukhona, and the surrounding countryside. The icons of Sts Nicholas and John the Baptist dating from the 15th century and the icons of Feodosy Sumorin (18th century) merit special attention. Artistic needlework, wooden sculpture and plastic figures are also displayed in the museum.

Museum of Russian Seafaring

The museum of Russian seafaring is housed in the next example in the series of Tot'ma masterpieces - Church of the Entry into Jerusalem that was raised in 1774-1794 with funds provided by the brothers Grigory and Peter Panov, navigators and merchants who were involved in the trade with "Russian America." Several expositions of the museum are of great interest: the display telling the story of origin and formation of the Russian navy, an exposition about Tot'ma - born merchants and their navigations in the Pacific Ocean in the second half of the 18th century, and one more display goes on to the residents of Tot'ma who took part in the Great Patriotic War and those contemporaries who served in the navy.

Open Storage of Funds

About a kilometre beyond the western fringe of Tot'ma the Spaso - Sumorin Monastery was founded in 1554 by Feodosy Sumorin, one of the monks of the Spaso - Prilutsky Monastery who was sent to supervise salt production in Tot'ma. Now the Savior Sumorin Monastery contains an excellent museum of folk crafts from the Tot'ma region, with hundreds of examples of traditional wooden implements for farming and household use: distaffs, swingles, pottery, tiles, crockery and articles of furniture. Most of the items kept in the museum are beautifully decorated. The collection was greatly enlarged in the 1970s and subsequently, partly as a result of an increased interest on the part of local museums.

Rubtsov Memorial Museum

The first exposition about the life and works of the renowned Russian poet Nikolai Rubtsov was opened in 1990 in the village of Nikolskoye located 90 km off Tot'ma. Every hall of the exposition tells the poet's life - story. The village of Nikolskoye became second home for Nikolai who was brought up in an orphanage. It is not by chance that a local orphanage housed the museum.

One of the expositions of the museum contains photographs of the local dynasties who remember the poet pretty well. Another hall shows documents and photographs of Nikolai Rubtsov, the lines from Rubtsov's poems glisten like silver all over walls.

Every year lots of tourists flock to the Memorial Museum because they cherish the history and culture of their country which N.Rubtsov belongs to.

Museum of Childhood and Family

Opened in 2008, the Museum of Childhood and Family strives to keep the memories of our ancestors fresh in our minds, while at the same time allowing us to learn more about the historical events that might have touched and shaped their lives.

Much of what is offered in the museum has appeal for children as well as adults. Perhaps it will inspire each and every one of us to do more to preserve our cherished family memories for future generations. Tot'ma is considered to be a city of toy-makers. The museum showcases a collection of toys, in various forms and made from many materials, that span the 1800s to the present day. Toys have been, and continue to be central to the childhood experience. In the past, most children would have had home-made toys, made from materials commonly found around the home.

A participant in this often sentimental and nostalgic journey has an opportunity to make a hand puppet on his/her own, to perform in toy theatre, to sing and dance in a ring or to sit at a weaver's loom.