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Exhibition "Returning from a Distant Journey..."

Peter I laid the beginning of systematic scientific study of geography of Russia and adjacent territories - this was caused by huge expansion of the Russian possessions in the Far East and the need to develop the national navigation in the Pacific waters. In virtue of Russia's geopolitical position, the northern part of the Pacific Ocean was particularly in the focus of attention of "Russian Columbuses", which resulted in the Russians’ settling on the coast of the American continent, creating "the Russian America", which area existed till transfer of all the Russian north-Pacific territories to America in 1867.

By the end of the 18th - beginning of the 19th centuries, Russia's exploration activities in this region became even more active. One of the outstanding researchers of that period was Gavriil Andreevich Sarychev (having the rank of Admiral from 1829) - a prominent oceanographer of his time, a predecessor of the Russian seamen-travellers who made themselves known after their round-the-world voyages of the first half of the 19th century. The exhibition presents "local area sketches" enclosed to the report on expeditions of the ship "Glory of Russia" - "The eight-year voyages of Captain Sarychev's fleet in the eastern part of Siberia, the Arctic Ocean and the Eastern Ocean within the framework of the geographic and astronomic maritime expedition of 1788-1795" - a unique document including not only geographical, but also meteorological, hydrographical, astronomical, ethnological and biological records.

The round-the-world expeditions resolved many ambiguities in the old geographic science. The numerous foreign "discoveries" of various mythical islands were refuted, mainly in the southern waters of the Pacific (Denster, St. Bartholomew, Colunas, Mario Lazaro and others). The numerous Russian place names scattered around the world serve as a monument to seafaring that glorified Russia and raised the national navigation to a new height. The first national world cruises played an important role in the development of many branches of knowledge - oceanography, hydrography, ethnography, meteorology, etc. The participation of famous scientists in the voyages undoubtedly enriched the world science.

The exhibition presents unique evidences of the era of Russian sailing circumnavigation trips - ship logs, atlases, maps, drawing albums, models of Russian ships and various aboriginal boats, household items, samples of marine fauna. Of particular value are such relics as two globes belonging to Kruzenstern and Bellingshausen’s terrestrial telescope. It is important that after disbanding the collection of the Naval Museum in 1827, most of the materials of Russian expeditions stored in the museum were transferred to the Academy of Sciences; subsequently they made up a significant part of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) collection deemed to be the best in the world in this profile.