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Exhibition "Plunging into the dark. Dedicated to 135th anniversary of the first national diving school in Kronshtadt"

The diver's profession has been considered one of the most dangerous and exciting at all times, and it is not only due to the fact that divers have to sink to the depth unconscionable for an ordinary man, but also because they have to work at this depth - to save people, raise ships, search for valuable cargoes, deal in repairs and other complex operations. The history of development of diving has encompassed several stages: a primitive way of plunging without any aids, merging under the water using a diving bell and, finally, the present-day stage - performing deep-confined work in soft and hard armour.

In Russia, the first divers engaged in submarine operations professionally appeared in the middle of XIX century. According to the Regulations of the Shipbuilding Department at the Ministry of the Navy No. 3 of 01.02.1861, all warships setting out for overseas were to have a complete-set Heinke-system diving apparatus. Subsequently, the build-up and development of the national armoured fleet caused further orders extending to the use of diving equipment. The equipment was both procured abroad and manufactured at Admiralty Izhora Works.

In connection with the demand for reliable security of the Russian naval ships, the need for professional training of staff engaged in diving operations became evident. Therefore, on May 5, 1882, the first Russian diving school was opened in Kronshtadt. The opening of the diving school stopped amateurish training of specialists. The divers' training was organized on a scientific and medical basis; the school became a centre combining scientific achievements in the field of diving and submarine physiology. The exhibition presents the items and materials received by the Central Naval Museum from Kronshradt Diving School (KDS) in mid-1920s: diving helmets, inventor's devices, aids of KDS teachers, apparatuses of E.V. Kolbasiev, the organizer of Kronshtadt Experimental Mechanical and Diving Workshop, photo images. KDS divers took an active part in the operations of the Naval department, in search of sunken ships and their ascent. The exposition presents the exhibits relating to the diving operations of the school inspectors and cadets at the battleship Gangut that sunk in 1897.

At the exhibition one can see the equipment, technical facilities supporting the diving operations, the models of ships representing different periods in the history of diving, pertaining to Kronshradt Diving School, to the activities of the Expedition for submarine special operations, Search and Rescue Emergency Service under the Russian Navy, Search and Rescue Service, Submarine Research Centre of the Russian Geographical Society. A separate section of the exposition is devoted to the medical aspect of the practice and theory of diving.

A series of drawings by K.I. Kapitanaki, an employee of the Expedition for submarine special operations, is of special interest at the exhibition, being dedicated to the history of diving. One would be also interested in the collection of diver's knives and diver's lanterns, both Russian and foreign, manufactured in late XIX - XX centuries, from the stock of the Submarine Research Centre under the Russian Geographical Society.

The exhibition will be open until February 19, 2018.