The first open-air museum in the republic was founded in 1977 in the village of Cherkekh of the Tatta ulus. The idea of the museum belongs to the national writer of Yakutia Dmitry Sivtsev-Suorun Omolloon, in honor of whom the historical and memorial complex was named. 20 historical and architectural monuments of wooden architecture of the 19 - early 20 centuries are collected here. Almost every of these exhibits, like the territory itself, requires some efforts. The museum needs considerable financial investments. In 2012-2013, ALROSA allocated 42 million rubles for the reconstruction of museum collection through the Future Generations Fund.
Nikolai E. Popov, Director of Cherkekh 'Yakut Political Exile’ historical and memorial museum, tells about their activities, plans and projects.
- Nikolai Efimovich, we understand that considerable funds are required for maintaining and reconstructing museum collection, but are these investments paying off?
- This is a prerequisite. Museums play an important role in preserving and studying the historical and cultural heritage of the republic. Artifacts give credibility to concepts that are laid in the exposition and exhibition. As a result, our museums are turning not only into objects, but also into means of implementing historical and cultural policies. Museum is the repository of our common memory. And, if we do not remember history and not pass it on to our descendants, we will vanish as a nation. A museum is not entertainment, it helps to think and reflect.
- Who is your visitor?
- We focus on all age groups. Children and adults are completely different audiences. Our guides always bend with the wind and adapt the tour for our guests. We have about a thousand foreign visitors a year. These are mainly tourist groups. We actively work with agencies and with guide-interpreters.
- Tell us about the museum. How was it founded, what objects are included in your museum?
- The decision to establish a museum of political exiles in the village of Cherkekh in the Alekseevsky district of the YaASSR was made on April 12, 1977 at a joint meeting of the Alekseevsky District Committee of the CPSU and the district executive committee. Only six and a half months after the adoption of this decision, our museum was opened on November 2, 1977 as a result of the skillful mobilization of social activity and due to the high level of consciousness and culture of the people in the district. Lyudmila Nikolaevna Grigorieva was the first director of the museum, she was the local historian. The museum was originally called "Yakut Political Exile in the 19th - early 20th centuries." On a territory of twelve hectares there are several dozens of genuine and reconstructed structures - monuments of wooden architecture of the 18th-19th centuries, collected from all over the Republic of Sakha: the church of the beginning of the 20th century, a chapel of the middle of the 19th century and ten objects - housing of the Yakuts of the 19th century, the house of Polish political exile E.K. Pekarsky, school of V.M. Ionov, copies of the yurts of P.A. Alekseev and V.F. Troshchansky, house of Russian writer V.G. Korolenko. We can say that the inhabitants of Taatta preserved practically doomed buildings of cultural, historical and artistic value. The Cherkekh Museum also includes the estate museum of the statesman and public figure P.A. Oiunsky in the area "Munkha Delberiybit," the estate museum of D.K. Sivtsev-Suorun Omolloon - the national writer, founder of the Cherkekh, Suottu and Ytyk Kyuel museums and the P.A. Oiunsky Literary Museum in the city of Yakutsk, and the house of Pyotr Alekseev, Russian political exiled revolutionary.
- How are museum funds replenished?
- We exhibit a little more than 5 thousand units. More than 30 thousand museum items are collected by people. Residents of the republic, including many prominent figures of culture, art and science, have contributed in the form of money means, items of museum value. They have done a lot in the name of future generations, in the name of preserving the material and spiritual culture of the peoples of the land of Olonkho. Dmitry Sivtsev-Suorun Omollon presented with about 800 ethnographic exhibits telling about the life and work of political exiles. Funds are replenished regularly thanks to the gifts of local residents.
- Do you use new technology in the permanent exhibition of the museum?
- We would like to keep up with the times, but have no possibility to buy expensive devices.
- And what are the most interesting objects of the museum?
- The architectural and ethnographic material deserves great attention. It was here that the Yakut yurt and the summer house of Sakha - birch bark Urasa were first introduced as cultural monuments. The completely restored mill, driven by a bull, is absolutely unique. It transported from the Sylan village of the Churapcha ulus. The siege barn of Markovich, rich man from Mege, which was built to defend against the raids of Vasily Manchary. The heptagonal summer hut "babaaryna" and a wooden urasa with eight corners testify to the originality and diversity of the Yakut buildings. You can familiarize yourself with the blacksmithing of the Yakuts in a yurt-forge equipped with all tools. The main and largest object is the Tatta Nicholas Church, built in 1912. By the time the museum was established, the church was in a dilapidated condition and then restored by local craftsmen under the guidance of the master smith N.A. Efremov - Tabytal. Political exile houses are very interesting. The yurt of the famous revolutionary Pyotr Alekseev was restored by precise measurements. Zakhar Tsykunov’s house was typologically recreated according to the drawing of Korolenko himself. Zakhar was an “Yakutized” Russian peasant who gave a home for the great humanist and encouraged him to write the story “Makar's Dream.”
- Have you planned any big projects in the coming years?
- Yes, we have many plans. In particular, plans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory. For all of us, Victory Day is a great holiday. And today, when some countries are trying to falsify history, push the Soviet people away from victorious events, keep silent about the leading role of the USSR in destroying the fascists, or even imagine our country as occupiers, the theme of the Great Patriotic War is especially relevant. And the development of modern society cannot be successful if it does not preserve historical memory. It is museums that are called to be the center where materials are accumulated - documents, photographs, memories, objects that testify to historical events. Another of our joint projects with the Department of Monument Protection in Yakutia is “Preserve Monuments,” dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. It was launched by the head of the republic Aisen Nikolaev on May 5, 2019. The essence of the project is the restoration and improvement of cultural heritage monuments. The initiative of Il Darkhan was supported by our fellow countrymen. In Yakutia today there are 814 monuments and places of interest. They need constant attention and care. Many today require repairs. We also plan to open a hall dedicated to the friendship of peoples, and begin a local lore search on the role of Platon Oiunsky in the establishment of Soviet power in Yakutia. On the whole, the plan is quite eventful, and we are happy to welcome all residents and guests of Yakutia to our museum.
- How many people work in the museum today?
- Our team is very small, consists of 12 people: three specialists in exposition and exhibition activities, a keeper of exhibits, a methodologist, six superintendents and a manager. For many years we have been accepting specialists to the museum only on a competitive basis. It is important that they can and want to work with us. Both veterans and young people work in our museum - it is important that we work as a team.
- Thank you, Nikolai Efimovich, we wish all of your team further success in your creative work and many interesting projects.