A new museum has recently been opened in the Tsarskoye Selo (where the Catherine Palace with the famous Amber room is located). It is the first museum in Russia devoted to the Great War, which is generally known as the World War I. The museum houses more than 700 exhibits that illustrate the conflict, in which over 30 countries participated and which affected the entire course of history of the 20th century.
The history of the museum started in 1911 during the vast celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the Tsarskoye Selo residence. It was precisely then, when Nicholas II was presented with a large collection devoted to the wars, in which Russia had to take part during its history. The collection included engravings, watercolors, lithographs, porcelain, arms and armor of preceding ages and many other objects. In 1912, a decision was taken to open a museum of Russian war history and to construct a special building to house the collection.
The building had to be designed keeping with forms of the Novgorod architecture to harmonize with the appearance of the buildings nearby including the Feodorovsky cathedral. When the World War I started, the museum was still under construction. The Tsar ordered to organize a hospital for wounded soldiers inside. However it did not work out, and it was decided to enlarge the museum with a new section devoted to the current war. What is more, one more gallery was added to the building – the St George’s Gallery. On display there were portraits of St George’s Cross cavaliers. Usually the artists represented soldiers from life, sometimes from photographs or even from descriptions sent from the front. There used to be 150 portraits. Now 58 are on display.