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“Academic Museum Centre of MIIT History” – Museum of Moscow State University of Railway Engineering

Since the foundation of MIIT in 1896 (then the Emperor’s Moscow Engineering School of the Ministry of railways, and later the Emperor Nicolas II Institute) the museum has become one of the auxiliary academic establishments. Initially, it was the museum of state-of-the-art technology. By 1914 substantial number of exhibits had been collected including machines and equipment geared mainly for civil engineers.

In 1923 after six year break due to revolutionary events all the museum divisions were opened for regular classes. However the museum ceased to exist during the Great Patriotic war.

In 1981 MIIT started to set up the Museum of military and labour fame which in 1995 was transformed into the museum of (brief) history of this higher educational institution. In 1998 complete overhaul began, and all floor structures of the building had to be replaced. In 1999 the Academic museum centre of MIIT’s history was launched on new grounds using formerly collected exhibits. The Centre is a new organizational form based on the integration of academic process with museum activities. Apart from museum premises proper, there are museum-oriented halls: e.g, a hall of fundamental library and three memorial labs (Hydrolics lab, named after F.E.Maksimenko, the first rector; Construction mechanics lab, named after outstanding scholar L.D.Proskuryakov; and Chemical lab, named after famous scientist I.A.Kablukov) making it the distinctive feature of the Centre.

All of them have special status, are protected by the University, and both guided tours and regular classes are conducted there.

Today the premises of the Academic museum centre are located in two University buildings built for Emperor’s Moscow Engineering School upon the project of famous Saint Petersburg architect I.S. Kitner in 1896-1899.

Total area of the Centre is about 1,200 sq.m, including 320 sq.m allocated for four museum halls. Hall #1 is housed on the premises of the office of the first Head of “Hydrolics” chair (first EMES rector) F.E.Maksimenko, the hall’s display being devoted to the establishment of the Emperor’s school. The furniture used at the Institute at the end of XIX – early XX century is exhibited in the museum. Photographs of the first students and teaching staff, instruments and equipment of the first laboratories for fundamental sciences, books, albums, drawing implements and other exhibits and documents of the late XIX – early XX century are also displayed in the hall.

The exhibition “Historical and Architectural Complex of MIIT” is demonstrated in the second hall, while the main recurrent exhibition reflecting in general more than a centennial history of the University, is displayed in the biggest, third hall. The fourth hall is currently under refurbishment.

The main lines of making up a museum collection are to gather corporeal and documentary originals bearing the traits of the period connected with the history of this higher educational institution, its students, academic staff and graduates. Today this collection has 12,000 depository items, including about 5,000 items in the main stock. Collection of furniture of the late XIX century, models of the timber bridges of 1930s and MIIT ceremonial banners of 1960-1970.

One can’t but notice such corporeal originals of the period of the Great Patriotic war as a tank helmet of a Victory parade participant or the ceremonial banner of a French resistance unit connected with the life of the staff members of this higher educational institution.

The sets of various types of exhibits and characterizing specific significant personalities in the history of this higher educational institution provoke great interest among the visitors. One can cite an example of the exposition devoted to the former MIIT student, Konstantin V.Nechaev, a hierarch of the Russian orthodox church, first head and founder of the “Theology” chair in MIIT, Metropolitan Pitirim of Volokolamsk and Yuriev. The exposition includes photographs dated back to his student years, clothes, home icons, presents to the MIIT museum from the Holy Land, publications with his autographs, photographs of His Eminence Pitirim taken during public worship in MIIT church.