The Hermitage Celebrates Its 250th Anniversay In 2014
At their 23 March meeting the Hermitage Board of Trustees discussed preparations for the 250 the anniversary of the Museum’s foundation, which will take place in 2014. This will be a big event in Russia. By the Museum’s anniversary the renovation of the East wing of the General Staff Building – a magnificent building of c.1830, facing the Winter Place across Palace Square - will be finished and a new museum of art of the 19th-21st century will be opened in its interior (5 courtyards and 800 rooms). The Hermitage will become the largest museum in the world.
The Restoration and Storage Center at "Staraya Derevnya", unique in Russia for its advanced technology, is already working and a second phase will be finished in 2012. By 2014 there will be new space for temporary exhibits in the Small Hermitage and new restoration laboratories at no. 30 Palace Embankment. By the 250th anniversary the interior of the church in The Winter Palace will be restored and all the museum’s permanent displays will have been renovated. Electronic catalogues of the museum’s collection and a new website will be under way.
This will be realised with substantial support from the Federal Government and a new Hermitage Endowment. The trustees debated how this should be achieved. Russia introduced a tax rebate for personal donations to charitable endowments in January 2012 and the State Hermitage Museum has been the first to pick up on this in the arts sector. The rebate, which still does not exist in Britain for charities, is likely to make a significant difference to fundraising for the museum in 2013-14. The Hermitage Endowment is the biggest cultural endowment in Russia, thanks to a donation from the Chairman, Vladimir Potanin.
The work of the museum in 2011 was also reviewed at the board meeting. The success of the two large international projects connected with the Year of Italy in Russia and the Year of Spain in Russia was noted. Two masterpieces – The Tempest by Giorgione and Giotto’s God the Father came from Italy. 630 thousand people visited the exhibit Prado in the Hermitage and 500 thousand - the exhibit The Hermitage in Prado in Madrid. Museum visitors in 2011 topped 2.8m, 12 percent more than in 2010.