The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts for all and online



Image: a man sitting at the table with an opened laptop. The laptop shows virtual gallery of the Pushkin Museum


The creators of the Internet in the distant 70s of the XX century dreamed that their brainchild would connect people together in different parts of the world and would contribute to the development of mankind. In subsequent years, huge book depositories and art objects were transferred to the Internet, museums, theaters and libraries were located on virtual platforms, giving everyone access to a treasury of knowledge and impressions.

Physically, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, which contains especially valuable cultural heritage objects of more than 700 thousand items, is located in several buildings and galleries, the main of which is a monumental antique palace with columns on Volkhonka 12. Its virtual twin is no less impressive - in March 2020, having moved to self-isolation, the museum united all its Internet projects on one platform. Every day, #НаединеСПушкинским (at home with Pushkin Museum) hosts lectures, video tours and broadcasts, which are remotely attended by thousands of people.

The "Tattoo" exhibition 

At the same time the Pushkin Museum used to pay great attention to creating an accessible and comfortable environment for all visitors. In the new reality, #Пушкинскийдлявсех (Pushkin Museum for all) is equally actively using digital tools to be inclusive online. According to Evgeniya Kiseleva, Head of Inclusive Programs Department, now the specialists who are responsible for the accessibility of Pushkin Museum have even more tasks than before quarantine. And there are the reasons why.


Image: Virtual gallery of the Tattoo exibition
“From Dürer to Matisse. Selected drawings from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts”


On March 23, for the first time in the history of the Pushkin Museum, the opening of a new exhibition took place online - this is the exposition “From Dürer to Matisse. Selected drawings from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts”, covering five hundred years of the history of European drawing. In the virtual hall, visitors will find the best examples of graphic works by Dürer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Bryullov, Degas, Renoir, van Gogh, Vrubel, Kandinsky, Picasso, Leger, Matisse, Malevich, Chagall and other representatives of Italian, French, German, Dutch, Flemish and Russian schools. For the exhibition, the specialists of the of Inclusive Programs Department, prepared tactile graphics so that blind and visually impaired museum visitors could get acquainted with the works of artists.


Image: a tactile model of the artist's painting
Tactile layouts for the new exhibition (Source)

Visitors can personally touch the works after the end of self-isolation, but now it is possible to take an online walk through the new exhibition “From Dürer to Matisse” using the free audio guide in the izi.Travel app, or listen to a series of lectures by curators on this exhibition in museum’ social networks. This app also contains audio tours of the main building of the Pushkin Museum, voiced stories about the masterpieces of the Leiden collection and the works of masters of the London school, the story of Olga Khokhlova and Picasso, a tour of the landscapes and portraits of Thomas Gainsborough and other projects and exhibits of the museum.

Also, the Tattoo exhibition, which tells the 3000-year-old history of tattoos, is virtually accessible. To visit it, you do not need an entrance ticket to the museum, but VR glasses, a computer, or a smartphone. The advantage of this format is the absence of noisy visitors around and the opportunity to arbitrarily study the exhibits, comfortably sitting on the couch.


Image: the Tattoo virtual exibition
Exhibition "Tattoo" in the virtual hall


Those who prefer to go to the museum with friends can plan a joint visit without leaving home. Every week, Pushkin Museum  publishes on his website a schedule of online excursions on the Zoom platform, which anyone can join, and in the process – have a live chat with the guide.

IN instead of OUT

April in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts is dedicated to the problem of autism. The museum’s online program includes a series of excursions for children and adults with special needs. On April 14, participants of a virtual walk got acquainted with images of animals and fantastic creatures on the works of the Ancient World, and on April 28 at 2 p.m. Pushkin Museum will tell  in an accessible and exciting way how people lived in the 17th century Holland. To participate in the tour the pre-registration on TimePad is needed.

Museum specialists also invite parents to share their experiences and learn useful life hacks about homework for children with ASD. The first online discussion was attended by Anna Bitova (Center for Clinical Pedagogy “Special Childhood”), Natalya Polyakova (Absolut-Help Charity Fund), Ksenia Alferova (I Am! Charity Fund), Alexander Sorokin (Federal Resource Center), Daniil Saxonov (project “We are here”).

On April 21 at 2 p.m. Vladimir Defenov -  the Deputy Director of the Pushkin Museum on digital development -  will tell about media and VR projects of the Pushkin Museum, which can be used for classes with children and adults with ASD in self-isolation. To participate in the discussion, pre-registration is required.

One of these classes can be drawing, and a source of inspiration is a selection of visual stories on the Yandex.Collection service. The authors of these special drawings are children involved in the workshops "Special Ceramics" and "The WHO Project", and regular visitors to the museum, who, in turn, were inspired by the paintings of the impressionists from the collection of the Museum. Everyone can add their works to this collection, made under the impression of visiting the museum’s halls during online excursions and posted on social networks with the hashtag #Пушкинскийдлявсех (Pushkin Museum for all).


Image: children's drawing
Nikolai Filippov - "Portrait of Dr. Rey" by Vincent van Gogh  (Source)

About Art on RSL

When the whole world was forced to stay home and live online, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts was ready - video tours, audio guides, lecture notes, interactive classes and fully digitized collections made up an impressive virtual assemblage, which can be studied for more than one week. The same applies to materials adapted for deaf and hard of hearing visitors. The museum’s YouTube channel contains video guides in Russian Sign Language about past exhibitions. #Скучаюпопушкинскому (I miss Pushkin Museum) - in social networks Pushkin's guides with hearing impairments share video clips of excursions and famous people, translators, commentators, friends of the museum with disabilities share their stories related to the museum.

While we stay home, Pushkin Museum organizes online excursions on the theme of ancient Greek myths with translation into sign language.

At home with Pushkin Museum no one will get bored.