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An Open Letter from the Director of the Association of Private Museums of Russia Alexey Shaburov

Dear colleagues and friends!

I am obliged to write an open letter to avoid unnecessary rumors and speculations. Our social movement began long before the foundation of the Association of Private Museums in 2018. My goal was quite simple – to learn as much as possible about private museums in Russia and get to know their fellow owners. On my trips around the country, I discovered a whole new world and was very impressed not only by museums with their valuable collections but also by all the amazing people dedicated to preserving this part of our culture. I met many talented and wonderful people and wanted to bring them together so that they could get to know each other in person. To make it easier for them to meet each other I decided to hold an exhibition “Private Museums of Russia” in 2019, and in order  to honor these incredible people I added the words “Talents of Russia” to the name of the exhibition. I really wanted to show the citizens and guests of our capital the beauty of private museums all over Russia from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka.

As a result of the exhibition, the first catalog of private museums in Russia was published, later in 2020, we published the second edition including more than 500 museums. We began to publish a magazine of the same name and translated all the publications in print and on the website into English and Chinese. We also started to film short videos showing various private museums. We created a database of private museums in Europe, America, and China. All of the above was done at my personal expense. The moment has come where I can no longer continue my volunteer work. So I asked my colleagues in the chat to take care of this project. That’s why the new managers were elected. Unfortunately, I failed to consider many aspects, such as to notify all the members of the Association and the museums included only in the catalog that did not fill out the form to become a member of the Association. Due to my hasty actions (notification of several dozens of colleagues in the chat), many museum owners reacted negatively to the re-election of the management and the lack of information and demanded to remove their museums from the catalog under such circumstances. I realize that this was entirely my fault: I failed to notify all the museums included in the catalog, and I apologize for that. At the time, I was in a very difficult situation. To preserve the main principles of the project and to keep the catalog with all the museums I decided to remain the founder of the project.

At this stage, volunteering is the only possible way to engage with the project. I intended this project to be a social project, similar to my other public work and socially significant projects aimed at preserving the culture of our country and world culture. In the near future, an application form and other contact information for volunteers will be published on the Association’s website. The principle remains unchanged: it is strictly a non-profit, non-commercial project. Through donations on the website, the Association collected 72,033 rubles. This money is held on the Association’s account, and it is obviously not enough to hire professionals. The list of volunteer positions can be found below. It is up to you now to decide whether this project is necessary or not yet ready for our society. I have done everything I could, and I’m willing to advise the new project manager on all matters, but, unfortunately, I can no longer remain an active member of the Association.

The volunteers required to continue the work:

Database and Museums Manager: to verify old database, find, process, and include into the catalog information on new museums.

Layout designer: to create layouts for the catalog and the magazine.

Journalist: to write news articles for the magazine “Private museums of Russia” and work on film scripts.

Press Secretary: to organize conferences and work with the press and bloggers.

Proofreader of texts in Russian.

Translators and proofreaders of texts in English and Chinese.

Social Media Specialist: to maintain accounts and promote the work of the community.

Camera Operator and Editor: to create small films about private museums for the YouTube account.

Project Manager: to manage all the listed specialists and to actively promote the project.

Once again I want to highlight: to maintain the spirit of the project that was started by me and my team, we need volunteers willing to give their time to this matter.

Sincerely, Director of the Association of Private Museums of Russia

Alexey Shaburov