New website captures 150 years of Russian history in 80,000 photos

Dmitry Baltermants. Arbat square. 1958

Dmitry Baltermants. Arbat square. 1958

An interactive visual history of post-1860 Russia goes online.


The Moscow Multimedia Art Museum announced the launch of a new portal, History of Russia in Photographs, which exhibits about 80,000 photos dating from 1860 to 2000. The collection will be expanded daily.

The museum's director, Olga Sviblovo, said the portal's goal is to unite all museum and private photo collections in order to create a "visual Wikipedia on Russian history in photos."

The site is a sort of photography bank, very easy and convenient to use. To visually study a section of time one does not need to know Russian. It is enough just to move two cursors on "the plate of time" onto the period of interest and all the photos corresponding to the request will appear on the main page.

"We're now developing the site's English version and perfecting the auto translator because searching on the site is done through tags," explained Sviblova. "There are already more than 10,000 of them. For example, type in the tag 'boutonnière' and you can see a photo of poet Alexander Blok wearing one on his jacket."

"We began thinking of such a portal in 1999 because we understood how important it would be to create a photographic history for future generations," continued Sviblovo. "You cannot build the future without knowing your past."

The project cooperates with all of Moscow's museums and the state archive, as well as with regional museums and the heirs of famous Russian photographers.

In addition, visitors to the site can post their own photos, enhance the images and act as curators by creating their own exhibitions with accompanying texts and comments.

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