Vernadsky State Geological Museum, Moscow, Russia

The Vernadsky State Geological Museum is the oldest museum in Moscow It was founded in 1755 and is now an earth science and educational centre of Russian Academy of Sciences

The first natural-science museum in Moscow – has its history from the Mineral Cabinet of the Imperial Moscow University, based on the gift of Prokofia, Gregory and Nikita Demidovs (6000 samples), delivered to the university in 1759 This collection was bought by their father, the Ural breeder Akinfiy Demidov at the beginning 1740-ies In Freiberg (Saxony, Germany) from the famous chemist and mineralogist IF Genkel

Mikhail Lomonosov had studied mining principles in Germany, concluding that “it is necessary to use not only books, but objects of Nature”, and it was he who came up with the principals of the charter of Moscow Imperial University, founded in January 1755, and for the founding of its geological museum The following month the Demidovs presented “the Mineral Study of Genkel” to the university This collection was exhibited to the public in 1759 in the library of Aptekarsky House in the Department of Medicine In 1778 Pavel Grigoryevich Demidov donated his own collection, along with 100,000 roubles for its maintenance, to the university and the new Faculty of Natural History and Agriculture was named after him In 1791 the Study became the Museum of Natural History, in 220m² of the main building’s Assembly Hall on Mokhovaya street, the museum’s present siteIt was transferred to the left-hand side of the first floor in 1805 (with Fischer von Waldheim made its director), but in 1812 most of its collections were lost in the burning of Moscow after Borodino, though its most valuable specimens were evacuated to Nizhny Novgorod and the losses were made up by donations and new purchases once the French invasion of Russia had been finally expelled These donations included one in 1813, from Pavel’s nephew Nikolay N Demidov, of his “collection of the natural collections” In 1814 the Museum was set up again, this time on Bolshaya Nikitskaya street

The collection was placed in the library of the university, in the building of the Main Pharmacy at the Resurrection Gate on Red Square, and in 1761 it was handed over to Professor IKh Kershtensu as a “manual on mineralogical lectures” Later, the Mineral Cabinet was supervised by MI Afonin, AA Antonsky, FK Kurika and FG Politkovsky The Cabinet (the museum) was repeatedly reorganized and changed its name In 1791 the Museum of Natural (Natural) History was moved to a new university building on Mokhovaya Street In subsequent years, the collection of the museum was replenished with the large gifts of the chief director of the Berg-Collegium MF Soymonov (1798), Emperor Alexander I, whose money was bought by the famous collection of Princess Anna Yablonovskaya (1802), containing all known at that time kinds of minerals, patron and amateur of natural history PG Demidov (1803)

Exhibition:
GEOSPHERES OF THE EARTH
Our planet consists of several internal and external spheres, different in composition, composing their substances, surrounding the earth’s core. Under the influence of the internal forces of the planet, surface processes and even cosmic objects the Earth is constantly changing. The movement of lithospheric plates forming the surface of the Earth leads to the discovery of new oceans, the creation of mountain systems and the change in the outlines of the continents. The relief of the Earth’s surface is inextricably linked with the development of the earth’s crust. Everywhere, where the matter of the Earth comes to the surface, it falls under the influence of weathering processes. Water covering most of the earth’s surface also produces tremendous geological work. The earth is the only planet on which life exists. Living organisms have changed the face of the planet, as a result of countless interactions between living and nonliving nature.

GEOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE EARTH
The organic world of past geological ages is represented by fossil animals and plants. Disappeared from the face of the Earth Paleozoic trilobites, plant worlds of Permian and Carboniferous periods, Mesozoic ammonites and belemnites, giants of the glacial period – mammoths, one of the largest mammals of our time – the blue whale – witnesses to the development of life on our planet. “Each location of fossil remains is for us like a window through which we can look into the past after a detailed study, a window that will allow us to catch the shadows of the biosphere of past geological epochs through the lithosphere” (Ivan Efremov). Such “windows” are world-famous locations located in Germany. Animals of the Late Jurassic era – arthropods, fish, echinoderms, archeopteryx, flying lizards – Zolengofen’s visiting card. Sea reptiles – marine crocodile, ichthyosaurs of different age from Holzmaden – give an idea of ​​the terrible inhabitants of the Mesozoic seas.

WORLD OF MINERALS
Modern systematization of minerals has about 5000 mineral species, about 600 of them are rare in size and quality of crystals, from domestic and foreign locations are represented in the exposition. Minerals live with us in one world, being in fact the main “bricks” of which the inanimate Nature surrounding us is built. Man’s acquaintance with the world of minerals began at the dawn of civilization, when primitive people began to use them as tools, weapons, ornaments. They attracted attention not only to practical utility, but also to their beauty. The minerals, in which both qualities are harmoniously combined, is malachite. The best malachite was mined in the Urals. His drawings are unusually picturesque.

CREATION OF NATURE IN THE MASTER’S HANDS
Joint project of the State Geological Museum. IN AND. Vernadsky RAS and the Polytechnic Museum introduces the works of stone-carving art. One of the most ancient types of stone carving art is a miniature carving on colored stones or glyptic. One of the directions of carving on a hard stone, inheriting the tradition of glyptics, is the manufacture of desktop seals. Due to its decorative qualities, marble has found wide application in architecture, sculpture and in the manufacture of the most prestigious decorative items of palace interiors – countertops. In the course of working with malachite masters, a special kind of mosaic was chosen, called “Russian”. Thoroughness, virtuosity of carving, conveying the character of animals, plastic, texture of fur and plumage, distinguish a miniature animalistic sculpture from the collection of the Polytechnic Museum, presented at the exhibition.

GEOLOGICAL IMAGE OF THE VICINITIES OF MOSCOW
Moscow region belongs to geologically unique regions, where rocks of the Carboniferous, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Neogene periods extend over a fairly small area to the surface. These rocks are most often covered by Quaternary glacial formations. The composition of the rocks, the remains of fossil organisms enclosed in them, allow us to reconstruct the geological history of the Moscow region, numbering hundreds of millions of years. During this time, sea conditions have often been replaced by continental ones. The seas were inhabited by animals that do not meet today – trilobites, fusulinids, ammonites, belemnites, sea lizards. Tens of thousands of years ago, glaciers and tundra-stages dominated here, along which wandered mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses. Then these lands began to be mastered by a man who found the use of limestone, sand and sandstone, clay and phosphorite formed hundreds and thousands of years ago.

HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS
Minerals and rocks, fossil remains of animals and plants, exhibited here, collected in the late XVIII – early XX centuries. outstanding native naturalists – professors of the Imperial Moscow University.
G.I. Fisher von Waldheim (1773-1853), G.E. Shchurovsky (1803-1884), V.O. Kovalevsky (1842-1883), A.P. Pavlov (1854-1929), M.V. Pavlova (1854-1938), V.I. Vernadsky (1863-1945) left a bright mark in science and for many years curated the museum, taking care of replenishing and studying its funds. There are also private collections associated with the names of famous Russian state and public figures. Samples from the collections of P.G. Demidov (1738-1821), Count N.P. Rumyantsev (1754-1826), Count A.K. Razumovsky (1748-1822), Count S.G. Stroganov (1794-1882), princes Gagarin, Count A.F. Keller (1883-1946), L.P. Prokhorova (1882-not earlier than 1928), the outstanding chemist G.R. Hermann (1805-1879) and the honorary citizen of Moscow, N.P. Vishnyakova (1844-not earlier than 1927) is attracted by its beauty, rarity and historicity.

SERGEY MIKHAILOVICH MIRONOV’S COLLECTION
October 24, 2011 Sergei Mikhailovich Mironov, leader of the party “Fair Russia”, donated to the museum a remarkable collection of 1500 items, which he collected more than 40 years. The collection features petrified remains of animals and plants that lived in different geological epochs, meteorites that fell in different regions of the world and products made of precious and semiprecious stones. The main part of the collection is made up of samples of minerals in their natural form, affecting a variety of crystalline forms and aggregates, compositional perfection and good preservation from Russian and foreign locations. Among them there are many rare and unique specimens represented by large ore. Quartz and its varieties by number of samples are the most numerous in the collection. Particularly interesting samples of quartz with inclusions – “hairy”, containing crystals of rutile, tourmaline and chlorite. In some transparent crystals of quartz, one can see a “ghost” contour of a crystal of a smaller size, called a “phantom”.

GEOLOGICAL KUNSTAMERA
Kunstkamera, created in a limited space, acquainted the world with all its diversity. They in miniature modeled the universe, embodying the idea of ​​the unity of the microcosm and the macrocosm, reflecting the worldview of man. Where is the boundary between living and inanimate nature and is it? The “Geological Kunstkammer” shows in comparison the most diverse external forms of natural bodies and examples of interaction between the living and the stagnant, giving visitors the opportunity to feel the great harmony of Nature themselves. Many geological objects surprise with their similarity to the surrounding objects and cause certain associations. Nature in them stands as a sculptor, then an architect. Like other curiosities, there are also rarities here: giant crystals; one of the largest mammoth tusks in the world; shells of ammonites with traces of bites that hunted ichthyosaurs; amazing “glass” rocks – Tengizites, formed during the fire at the Tengiz oil field in 1985.

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