by Yaroslav RENKAS, Cand. Sc. (Hist.)
The RAS Department of Historical and Philological Sciences has brought out a fundamental study (Nauka Publishers, Moscow, 2007) devoted to the sufficiently broad subject "Russia's History in the Expositions and Collections of Museums of the Russian Academy of Sciences" in the period from the early 18th century to our days.
The group of authors including prominent scholars, such as academicians Tatyana Alexeyeva, Vladimir Myasnikov, Dmitry Rundkvist, RAS corresponding members Rauf Munchayev and Alexei Rozanov, among others, did an excellent job of their far from easy task. They have managed to present an exhaustive picture in one volume, which is certainly a fundamental study, of the invaluable wealth and thematic variety of the collections of rarities stored at the nine research and scientific-and-educational institutions kept on the RAS balance*. They are engaged in the acquisition, storage, publication and popularization of the monuments of natural history, material and spiritual culture, documents of the great people's life and work.
* The RAS system includes 64 operating museums: 44 natural science and humanitarian ones, 20 memorial museums devoted to outstanding scholars of Russia. - Ed.
The study opens up with the chapter devoted to the RAS Paleontological Museum named after Yu.A. Orlov (Moscow). Prehistoric vertebrates who roamed Earth 250 - 40 million years ago have been put on display there. The museum's collection exceeds 1 mln exhibits, although only several thousand of them have been put on view in the five halls of the building erected in the early 1990s. The first hall is devoted to the history of paleontology; the second one-to the early Paleozoic era; the third one- to the late Paleozoic era with its vertebrates; the fourth-to the Mesozoic era with the community of wildlife that inhabited Earth then, including various dinosaur and rhinocero ... Read more