The museum of mythology and forest for children in Zaslavl
The museum of mythology and forest for children in Zaslavl was specially created for young visitors of historical and cultural preserve “Zaslavl”. It is situated on the forest margin in Zaslavl forestry’s building.
The children’s museum sets several goals at once: to make children closer to the nature, to teach them to treat the surrounding world carefully, to tell about the rich spiritual culture of the Belarusian people.
At the museum parents and their children can touch the nature, and also learn more about the forest inhabitants: the real and fictional ones. And two museum’s zones will help them in it.
The first zone is a real forest’s zone, including different stuffed animals. The visitors can see here a hair, a marten, a squirrel and other beasts. Different stuffed birds are gathered here, such as a thrust, a jay, a swallow and the others. All of it can help to show visually all the land’s natural resources.
Children can both see and hear the forest inhabitants, what makes an extra impression.
The second is a mythological zone. A meeting with the creatures from various myths and beliefs, such as leshy, forest pilfer, werewolf, brownie and vodyanoy are in store for the visitors here.
Each of the represented sculptures is in appropriate for it habitat, that allows to reveal fully the characteristic features of each of the characters.
Leshy is a forest’s master. He is one of the most popular mythological characters. And there is a reason for it, as forest was an essential part of our ancestors’s lives. They were hunting, gathering, logging with an aim of houses building and other needs in the forests.
Leshy is a figure, endowed with a great power, capable to become invisible and frighten those who lost their ways. Besides, he can imitate various forest sounds. Leshy stands guard over the forest, cares for its animals and plants. He can treat people differently: he can banter, help and even punish for the evil brought to the forest.
You can come across one more character – forest pilfer, who “borrows” things. He lives in an old snag and can banter a person, who entered into the forest. Some children’s thefts were ascribed to him.
One more scary creature was a werewolf, capable of shapeshifting into animals. It was considered, that werewolves could be of two kinds: those who were born a wolf or those who transformed into it after being bitten.
A brownie in the museum takes a seat near the stove. He personifies the spirit of home, protects its inhabitants: both people and animals. He is the one who is responsible for the domestic order, who keeps the family hearth. That’s why a mistress tried to please a brownie in every possible way, by treating him.
One more popular character of Belarusian mythology is a vodyanoy, who lived in the swamps. Our ancestors were rather afraid of vodyanoy, as he could drown a person, and leeches, frogs and other inhabitants of the swamps helped him in it.
There is also a mermaid in the museum – a long-haired girl, capable of luring a wayfarer into the water and drowning him.
You can also meet grass snake’s family in the museum, at the head of which is Tsar-grass snake. There existed a superstition among our ancestors, according to which, if a person meets Tsar-grass snake and is not afraid of him then Tsar will give him his golden crown, which will open the way to all the forest’s treasure.
It’s possible to visit the museum during all the days of the week except Monday. The display operates by previous appointment. Theatrical performances are also held here.