NABOKV-L post 0020500, Tue, 10 Aug 2010 08:57:34 -0400

The Nabokov Museum Collection ...

The Nabokov Museum Collection

The Nabokov Museum collection has an unusual history.

After the house and all the property of the Nabokov family was nationalized in 1917 almost everything was taken away by the new government to be either distributed between Soviet museums and libraries or sold to collectors abroad. Readers of Speak, Memory will remember how little the Nabokov family brought to exile with them.

By the 1990s no movable memorial items remained in the house. Museum collection was started from scratch. Fortunately, some items were preserved in the families of the people who once had some connection with the Nabokov family. We are grateful to all of them for sharing their family memorabilia with us.

A larger part of the collection came to us from abroad donated by the members of the Nabokov family, their relatives and friends. We are immensely grateful to Dmitri Nabokov, Terry Myers, Marina Ledkovsky, Ellendea Proffer, Horst Tappe, Lidia Matskevich, Alexander Kolosov, Elena Filaretova, Nokolay Formozov and other people without whom there would have been no museum. With years, more and more collection items were donated to us by our generous donors

Now the collection includes memorial items that once belonged to Vladimir Nabokov and his family, books from Vladimir Nabokov’s own library and his father’s library, photographs, a part of Vladimir Nabokov’s butterfly collection and much more.


About Nabokov museum

47 Bolshaya Morskaya Street, St. Petersburg. This address is known to every reader of Vladimir Nabokov’s works. The future great writer, the great exile was born in this house on April 10 (Old Style), 22/23 April (New Style), 1899. Since then the house has not changed much , the house number is the same. Moreover, the original name of the street, which was changed after 1917, is now back. In his autobiographical novel "Speak, Memory" written almost fifty years after leaving the house, Vladimir Nabokov described the house and the lifestyle of his family in great detail.

Nabokov called it "the only house in the world". And we can understand it literally – Nabokov and his family never owned any house after their departure from St.Petersburg in November 1917. And although over the years much in the house was lost it still retains the look and the atmosphere of the unique home where the writer grew up and which appears not only in the autobiography but in other Nabokov’s works.

The Nabokov Museum was opened in 1998 as a non-governmental cultural institution. Since 2008 the museum is a division of the St. Petersburg State University Faculty of Philology and Arts. When the museum was first opened there were very few things in the museum collection. However, over the years the Museum has accumulated a significant collection and a large library which is always open to our visitors.

The museum occupies the first floor, where the former dining room, the drawing room and the library room have retained much of their original look. The former "committee" room where the original interior has not survived is now used as the exhibition hall. In addition to its everyday work , the museum conducts academic programs, among them annual Nabokov Readings in April, summer school for students, international Nabokov conferences, as well as public lectures, seminars and literary readings.
Since 2008, when the Museum became part of the St.Petersburg State University, we not only significantly increased the collection but also started the long-awaited restoration of the rooms.
We are located at 47, Bolshaya Morskaya Street, just around the corner from St. Isaac's Square. It's a 15-minute walk from Sadovaya Metro Station, and a 20-minute walk from Nevsky Prospect Metro Station.

Design and programming by graphic design department of Saint Petersburg State University

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