The National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan is one of the oldest museums in Russia, representing the biggest reserve of the cultural monuments of Tatarstan and Russia's peoples as well as the other world civilisations. The Museum is located in the former Gostinyi dvor, built at the beginning of the XIX century, the historical and cultural monument of the federal importance (note: "Gostinyi dvor" is a historic Russian term for an indoor market, or shopping centre). At the present time the collection of the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan features more than 910.000 objects representing history, culture and traditions of the peoples of the Volga Region, Russia, Western and Eastern world cultures.
The National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan is known as a centre of scientific research and methodology, culture and education of the Volga Region and Russia. From the beginning of the 2000s the department of the scientific reconstruction has been working at the Museum, managed by Vyacheslav Veniaminovich Khabarov. The main activities of this department include the following:
- Handicraft reconstruction activities;
- Organizing and participating in the large-scale historical-cultural events;
- Educational activities.
The department of the scientific reconstruction cooperates closely with the other scientific and exposition departments of the Museum, as well as with the different scientific centres of the country. The Museum's exposition represents authentic reproductions of the historical objects, made with the strict observance of the original techniques and possibly the technologies used in the past.
In the 2005-2006 a stationary Museum's exposition, dedicated to the period from the Palaeolithic age to the Early Middle Ages, and a temporary exposition "The Medieval History of Tatarstan" were opened at the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan. These expositions represent the ancient dwellings reconstructions based on the archaeological records and evidence. The subjects of the reconstructions were elaborated during the collective work of archaeologists-researchers and members of the department of the scientific reconstruction. The exposition features the interior of an above-ground dwelling of the Imenkovskaya culture (the archaeological culture of the V-VII centuries AD, Middle Volga Region) and a dwelling of the Volga Bulgar culture of the 2-nd half of the XI - beginning of the XII centuries.
The interior of the above-ground dwelling of the Imenkovskaya culture (V-VII centuries AD)
The dwelling was a frame-pile type structure of an extended rectangular form, with a hipped roof, divided in two rooms by a transversal partition. Overall dimensions: 12х4,6 m. The part of the eastern room of the building was taken as a basis for reconstruction.
The base of the walls was made by the pillars fixed in the ground. The coating was made of logs or thick poles, set horizontally between the pillars.
The hipped roof was used. The ridge was set on two pillars, making the base of the roof. The rafters were overlaid with the horizontal joists which formed the roof lathing. This lathing was covered then with cane. The floor of the dwelling was earthen, thoroughly rammed. The hearth was in the centre of the building, and the fire was set directly on the earthen floor. The plank-beds, made of planks laid on the logs, were set along the walls.
The interior features some replicas of tableware, household utensils like knives, axe and hand-mill and female clothing.
The interior is recreated in 1:1 scale, using natural materials. The works were based on the reconstruction of the dwelling No. 18 of the Staromaynskiy ancient settlement (Ulyanovsk Region), made by N.A.Lifanov (from Samara) and based on the materials of the excavations by G.I.Matveeva (from Samara). This reconstruction was elaborated using the experimental works of the Danish archaeologists.
The author of the interior reconstruction is D.G.Bugrov; execution by V.E.Barsukov, I.A.Mukhachev, under the guidance of the honoured art worker of the Republic of Tatarstan S.I.Matveev (from Kazan).
The dwelling of the Volga Bulgar culture of the 2-nd half of the XI - beginning of the XII centuries
This dwelling is a log cabin, with a gable roof and seni (note: "seni" is the name for a traditional house entryway in the Slavic cultures). The dimensions of the dwelling are 3х3 m. The southern part of the house featured the entrance with a few stairs.
Inside the house, on the left from the entrance there was a stove, made of limestone sealed with the clay solution. The stove was used for heating the dwelling and for cooking.
The stove bench was set near the stove, above the entrance. Along the walls there were plank-beds wide up to 100 cm. The wall shelves were used for the tableware, while special hooks and sticks were fixed on the walls for the clothes. Large household utensils and implements were kept in seni.
In the upper part of the log cabin some small windows were cut out, which served for withdrawing the smoke while the stove was in work. The windows let out very little light, so that it was quite dark inside the house. The grease earthen lamps were used for lighting the dwelling.
The floor was earthen, laid with the straw mats covered with the felt.
The excavations of the dwelling allowed to reconstruct its interior and the everyday life of its inhabitants. Based on the archaeological finds, the clay tableware, household utensils and children toys were recreated. The rests of the wild and domestic animals' bones and cereals, found in the dwelling and on the surrounding territory, allowed to recreate the diet of the dwellers and to define the main hunting objects.
The dwelling is reconstructed in 1:1 scale, using natural materials. The reconstruction is based on the materials of the excavations by K.A.Rudenko (from Kazan) of the Ostolopovskoye settlement near Rechnoye village, Alekseevskiy district, the Republic of Tatarstan. During the interior reconstruction the original ethnographic and archaeological objects have been used.
The author of the reconstruction is K.A.Rudenko; execution by V.E.Barsukov, I.A.Mukhachev, under the guidance of the honoured art worker of the Republic of Tatarstan S.I.Matveev (from Kazan).