On August 2014 the museum Russia in Great War was opened at the Martial Chamber of the Tsarskoye Selo Museum. This was one of the largest and the most significant events commemorating the 100th year since the beginning of the First World War.
The display mainly includes the authentic weaponry and military life items of the First World War participants, documentaries and photographs from the Tsarskoye Selo Museum’s collections. Among the exhibits – the whole range of machine guns of the time, uniforms of different countries, personal items of those who was at the Great War, awards and weapons.
The compositional focus of the display is a replica of the French fighter Nieuport 17 of the First World War period. There is an authentic Ford automobile among other exhibits.
It was in the First World War when a notion “mass heroism” arose. More than 1.5 million of St. George Crosses of different classes were given to the Russian soldiers and officers. The portraits and photographs of Cavaliers of St. George remind us of this page in the WWI history.
Electronic information kiosks, placed in every display section, introduce visitors to the history of the Martial Chamber’s construction as well as to the creation of a museum, the key events and persons of WWI, military statistics, uniforms, weaponry, etc. One can be introduced to the e-book “Russia in the Great War”, created by the museum’s research workers.
There are samples of the matériel: howitzers and an armored car in the courtyard of the museum building.
A book stock and a conference hall are going to be equipped and a museum center (lecture center, video classes, children’s center) is going to be opened in the Martial Chamber.
Originally the Martial Chamber was conceived by Emperor Nicholas II as a pantheon of military glory. The idea to set up a Museum of History of Russian Wars was born in 1911, when Elena Tretyakova, widow of the brother of the founder of the Tretyakov Art Gallery in Moscow, presented Emperor Nicholas II with a valued collection of paintings, drawings, watercolors, engravings, lithographs, icons, popular prints, maps, historical documents and literary works and trophies of the wars Russia partook in since ancient times. To host these rarities a special building, “Chamber-storage of the collection “Wars of Russia”, was built. The ceremonial laying of the foundation stone took place on May 3, 1913. With Russia's entry into military action in summer of 1914 the collection of the future museum was enriched by the trophies, brought from the battlefronts. Thus the Martial Chamber became the Museum of the Great War. Its display was formed by the beginning of 1917 and already in 1918 the museum was closed.