tel.: (499) 929-09-13
 
 
  Our Museum was opened to the public in November 2004, but had long been a dream of Fyodor Shidlovskiy, the museums founder. An engineer by background, in the late 1980s Fyodor worked for a local airline in northeastern Yakutia, in the small old town of Srednekolymsk on the Kolyma River. He loved that severe and wild country, and was fond of hunting and traveling along the local rivers and through taiga forest. Fyodor knew that this region was rich with fossils, and had heard about the famous Beryozovka Mammoth carcass found not far from Srednekolymsk. Once, in a steep bluff at the Beryozovka River, he found a large limb bone and a tusk of mammoth. That event changed Shidlovskiys life. Collecting fossils of extinct Pleistocene animals became his hobby, and then a favorite business.

By 1994, Shidlovskiys collection contained so many interesting fossils that he received proposals to organize a mobile exhibition of Ice Age animals in Europe. At that time Fyodor was already taken with a new idea: to create a museum of the mammoth fauna in Yakutsk or in Moscow. And not just a paleontological museum of a strictly academic style, but a live museum-show, in which serious scientific evidence and valuable fossils would be presented in a simple, intelligible and evocative way. For example, Shidlovskiy thought about trying to give museum visitors a feeling of the severe and mysterious atmosphere of the Ice Age through special audiovisual effects. At the same time, every visitor should be given the opportunity to touch genuine and valuable fossils with his own hands.

To put his plans into practice, Fyodor sought contacts with government officials, and wrote to various important persons. Months and years passed, but all was in vain. The development of the traditional business of ivory trading could be one possible source of funding for the museum project. Extensive collecting of fossils allowed the creation of composite skeletons and, later, the stuffed bodies of extinct animals for sale. Successful deals at the start of this business allowed volumes of further fossil material to be collected in Siberia. The best and most interesting specimens were stored for the future museum. By 1993, when Fyodor moved to Moscow, he had taken a serious interest in the art of bone carving. Handicrafts made of mammoth ivory, and carving technology, fascinate Shidlovskiy. He invited the best Russian masters in this folk art to work for his company, and accumulated a large collection representing all modern schools of bone carving in Russia. Just then the idea to create the Mammoth Chamber emerged a unique artistic work, which would resemble the famous carved Amber Room, but made completely of mammoth bones. Fyodor dreamt of realizing this great art project with funding from philanthropists, patrons of art, and probably from the State.

By 2004, when the company OUR Ice Age had already become widely known abroad, the attention of the Moscow authorities was the only thing still needed for the realization of the museum-theatre project. In May the Government of the Sakha-Yakutia Republic asked Shidlovskiys company to represent it at the International Tourist Exhibition in Moscow. The full-sized stuffed body of an adult mammoth with genuine tusks was among many interesting exhibits in the Yakutia Republic section. It attracted the attention of Mr. Grigory Antyufeev, the Chairman of the Tourism Committee in the Moscow Government. During the visit of Mr. Yuri Luzhkov, the Mayor of Moscow, to the exhibition, Mr. Antyufeev brought him to the Yakutia stand. Fyodor Shidlovskiy seized the chance to tell the Mayor and his officers about his plans, and they were interested. Very soon it became possible, with the help of Mr. Antyufeev, to rent the upper floor in Building 71 of the All-Russia Exhibition Centre, and work on the new museum was soon in full swing. The Ice Age Museum-Theatre had already received its first visitors by the beginning of November.

Now, besides adult visitors, several groups of schoolchildren come here every week. You should see the excited faces of these kids, how their eyes beam when they manage to stroke an almost-real baby mammoth, or try all together to lift the huge mammoth tusk from the floor. Together with such fascinating games, children receive from our guides quite serious modern knowledge about the past of our planet, extinct animals and prehistoric people. The exhibition in our museum is very dynamic. It is constantly replenished with new specimens. Museum staff also design and publish information booklets and leaflets on the Museum.

Thus, part of Shidlovskiys dream has been realized. The Mammoth Chamber project also seems more realistic now. It will be created in the same museum, in front of the publics eyes, within the next 7 years. The purposes which are pursued by the OUR Ice Age company are noble, and ambitious in the best sense of the word. It is difficult to overestimate the educational role of the Museum-Theatre. We believe that this is the first private museum of its kind in Russia entertaining as well as educating. The project is the latest word in the museum business, not only in our country, but all over the world.

 

, , , 71; ./: (499) 929-09-13
VDNKH, Building 71, Moscow, Russia; Tel./fax:(499) 929-09-13