Museum and exposition about the holy royal martyrs

For the lower level of the Holy Royal Martyrs church in Dno, Pskov region

The following are the interiors for the lower level of the Holy Royal Martyrs church in Dno, Pskov region. The project is based on the organizing principles of modern exhibition spaces. At the same time, it is inspired by the neo-Russian style characteristic of the early twentieth century.

The space is divided into two halls. The first hall is dark red and green, it is dimly lit. The dark-red color references the royal purple, green is the color of the holy monks. In this hall, the exhibition covers the life of the Royal Family, from the childhood of Emperor Nikolai Alexandrovich and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna to the events of 1917. Two stands outline the history of the House of Romanov in detail, from the offer of the crown to Mikhail Romanov in 1613 to the sacrificial feat of Emperor Nicholas II 305 years later. Historical photographs and documentary materials, diary entries, testimonies of contemporaries, and quotes by prominent public and ecclesial figures are presented. They reveal in detail the lives of the Royal Martyrs, telling about their state service and high family relationships. They also demonstrate the historical context of the events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, giving a review of the cultural, scientific, and political life of the era.
Authors of the exhibition: Dmitry Ostroumov, Ekaterina Ostroumova.
Supervisor (exhibition, design, texts): Ekaterina Ostroumova.
Editor, proofreader: Tatyana Kuznetsova.
Layout: Elena Shabad.
Architects: Galina Zhukovskaya, Ivan Kabush, Kristina Vasina.
Artist: Irina Brel.
3D modeling, sculpting: Vlad Pasternak.
Production, manufacture of interior items: under the leadership of Konstantin Starovoitov.
Head of the project: Dmitry Ostroumov.
Year: 2023
The exhibition uses four double-sided mobile stands on small wheels with stoppers. The stands can be moved apart to create more space in the hall. On the northern and southern walls, there are carved white stone analogions. They have transparent carvings in the lower part and opening lids on top, under which there are relics from the time of Emperor Nicholas II. Along the walls, there are lighted stands printed on glass and plastic. In the eastern part, there is a transition through three brass decorative arches into the white hall. Between the arches, there are four stands in the form of icon-cases made of white stone. They are decorated with carved initials, glass, lighting, and carved tops. These stands are dedicated to the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. The ceiling is dark, with track lamps for diffused and directed light.
The second hall is white. Here, there is information about the Via Crucis of the Royal Family. This is the period from the events at the Dno station, when “it was not the Tsar who renounced, but Russia renounced him,” to the execution on July 17, 1918, in Yekaterinburg. The further history of the veneration and canonization of the Royal Family is told, too. Detailed notes and memoirs, as well as illustrations, make it possible to share this path with the Royal Martyrs in contemplation. One can come into spiritual contact with the last year of their lives and see the light of the Paschal victory in the darkness of the Ipatiev House.
In the white hall, there are also stands about those close to the Royal Family who voluntarily followed the Romanov into exile. They shared their suffering, setting an example of fidelity and duty. These are stands about the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, the Holy Martyr Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna, and the Alapaev martyrs killed the day after the Royal Family. Two stands are dedicated to Tsarevich Alexei. There are stands about the memory, canonization, and modern veneration of the Holy Royal Martyrs. There are also certain modern relics displayed in the white stone analogions.
The hall is crowned by a large carved icon case with an icon of the Royal Martyrs. It can be seen at the very entrance to the first hall. The saints are depicted in white robes. This is a reference to the apocalyptic image of martyrs conquering earthly suffering and being faithful to Christ (cf. Rev. 6:9–12).
The second hall is also transformable so that the four white stands can be moved sideways, freeing up the central space of the hall. There is a screen attached to the ceiling that can be opened in the eastern part of the hall. There is a projector at the transition to the first hall. Folding chairs can be brought from the utility room for visitors to sit down to listen to lectures and watch videos. The videos can also be broadcast during guided tours without such a transformation of the hall.
The exhibition develops the content of the album “The Way of the Cross and Resurrection," released by Prohram Studio in 2021 (recommended for publication by the Publishing Council of the Belarusian Orthodox Church), but with a completely new design. The leitmotif of the exhibition is the image of life’s journey as a railroad, especially since the Romanov family traveled a lot by train. The dark red line, passing from stand to stand, becomes a “line of life” with its own stops and events.

The project is an offering of love and deepest respect to the Royal Martyrs and their Way of the Cross. They laid the foundation for the feat of faith of all new martyrs and confessors of the Russian Church and the preservation of Russian holiness in the 20th and early 21st centuries.