Moscow, November 11, 2013
Moscow's excitement for "The Romanovs: My History" exhibition showed no signs of waning during the second week of its run as crowds of all ages queued up in Manege Square and packed into the Manege's exhibition hall for an interactive history lesson on Russia's last imperial dynasty.
More than 70,000 people walked through the 21 halls dedicated to each of the Romanovs and viewed the accompanying artifacts, 3-D installations, collages, touchscreen panels and other multimedia in the first six days of the exhibition alone.
Since opening on National Unity Day November 4, the royal collection, dedicated to 400 years of the Romanovs, has attracted about 13,000 visitors per day.
Many attendees happily waited hours in the cold to immerse themselves in an experience organizers are calling both informative and entertaining.
"It offered so many small details and nuances that I had not seen or heard before," one woman told ITAR-TASS while standing in a queue for the second time in three days. "Although it seemed like I had read a lot about the Romanovs, there is still so much to learn."
When she suggested that the facts and figures from the exhibition be placed online, first-time visitor and fourth-grader Alexander Pamagalov exclaimed, "But that's not interesting!"
The Patriarchal Council for Culture and other organizers are hoping the cutting edge technology used to show the burning of the Kremlin during the Time of Troubles, for example, will serve as an educational tool to draw more students like Pamagalov to the exhibition and make history come alive in a way simple text and photographs cannot.
At a "The Triumph and Collapse of an Empire: Lessons from History" conference on Sunday, Minister of Culture Vladimir Medina said the exhibition offered young people, especially young politicians, the opportunity to study the lives of their predecessors and learn from the past.
The long queues to gain admittance reminded him of the first time a McDonald's restaurant opened in Moscow, he said during the forum, and showed that Russia has a "colossal" interest in its history.
"Something in our people is changing for the better if they're willing to wait for hours to get into this wonderful exhibition," he said.
"The Romanovs: My History" exhibition is free to the public and open until November 19, though that date is likely to be extended due to high demand.
By Svetlana Shkolnikova