The Museum of folk art in Vetka
They say, in Vetka district it is still possible to encounter beings from a parallel universe – “dobrokhozhie” and “nevidimtsy” (they are often compared with a house spirit). Of course, it is a legend. But all legends and thousands of unusual works of folk art sooner or later flock to the famous Vetka Museum of Old Believer Faith and Belarusian traditions named after Fyodor Shklyarov. Parallel worlds are created here.
A paradise for lovers of “embroideries”
The Museum was established in 1978 on the basis of the personal collection of the local artist and Old Believer Fyodor Shklyarov (1925-1988), who became its first head. A permanent exhibition was opened in the house of the merchant Groshikov 9 years later.
Vetka Museum presents works of art culture and creativity of several cultural traditions of the region in the south-east of Belarus - the culture of the Old Believers' Vetka and the Belarusian Orthodox village. Vetka sewing with pearls and beads, gilt carving, chasing, famous icon painting and book culture is organically intertwined with Belarusian ornaments on Neglyubka towels. This is a paradise for lovers of Antiques and “embroideries”.
What will you see in Vetka Museum?
As of September 1, 2016, the Museum of folk art in Vetka has 11 283 exhibits. Here are presented 12 expositions:
“The portrait. About the history of the Museum”. It is opened with a portrait of the founder of the Museum surrounded by first exhibits (the work of Ales Tsirkunov, the 1970-ies).
“The history of the town”. According to a legend, Vetka was founded by Russian Raskolniks-migrants. To choose a place for their settlement they let an icon drift down with the current of the Sozh. And not to lose sight of it – they fixed a tree branch on it. The icon pulled in to the shore just below the village of Khalch.
“We have lived here for such a long time”. The exposition presents archaeological findings beginning with the Stone Age.
“Rites”. The exposition is devoted to such local rites as “lead” and “funeral of the arrow”, “the marriage of the chimney”, Dozhinki, Kupalye and others.
“Trade”. In the 19th century Vetka was famous as a trading town. As old-timers say, thousands of stores worked in the town. The exposition includes merchant's bills and abacus, scales, weights, goods of pedlars and many others.
“Along the river”. Items of river culture, which were given to the Museum from the famous shipyards of Vetka (canoes, boats, ropes, anchors, etc.).
“The forge”. Here are presented ancient things of blacksmithing.
“The workshop of a goldsmith”. Vetka chasing is a peculiar brand. Mostly chased frameworks on books and icons have survived till our days. But expensive and gilt ones were lost (the last frameworks were lost in the 1930-ies). But Vetka Old Believers chased on resin as well. They had their secrets and mysteries.
“A window to the past”. There are photos of the late 19th - early 20th centuries behind window shutters.
“The survived in fires “. The tsar’s troops burned down Vetka twice (in 1735 and 1764), later there were also many fires, as well as Chernobyl was. But Vetka has always risen from the ashes like a Phoenix. The exposition presents “fire” Old Believers’ iconography.
“A master of flowering Windows”. Vetka woodcarving.
“The workshop of an icon painter”. There are the famous Vetka icons of the 18-20th centuries in the exposition.
More than a Museum
Collections of unique manuscripts and printed books, woven towels and national costumes make this Museum a unique phenomenon in the Belarusian and Old Believers’ culture. It became a research and educational center of the region.
Vetka Museum is located at the address Red square, 5 and is open from 9.00 to 18.00. In 2014 its director Galina Nechaeva was awarded the title of the best Museum Director in Belarus.