Museum-Archives n. a. Dmitry Mendeleev
History of the Museum
The museum exhibition, located in the scientist's apartment at St. Petersburg State University, gives a detailed portrait of the life and achievments of D.I. Mendeleev. Mendeleev lived in this apartment from 1866 to 1890 - the period in which he was a professor at St. Petersburg State University. Mendeleev's University apartment furnishing was not fully preserved: only Mendeleev's study was restored with the help of archival photographs at the General Department of Weights and Measures. Office furniture as well as the library and part of his archives were purchased from his wife in 1911. Since that year, a memorial museum has been organised in the three rooms of Mendeleev's former apartment. The museumâ€™s founders, including some of Mendeleev's closest pupils and colleagues, put a lot of effort into the description and systematisation of his archives. A small exhibition was organised in the rooms adjacent to the study. In 1930, the Russian Chemical Society initiated the restoration of memorial items belonging to Mendeleev. In 1952, the museum premises were significantly expanded, thereby allowing the creation of a new exhibition. Mendeleev's archives were also supplemented.
The archives â€“ a collection of Mendeleev's manuscripts, letters, working drafts, diaries and notebooks â€“ include over 14,000 storage units. At the moment, it is the largest collection of documents concerning his life and activities.
Another part of the archives is Mendeleevâ€™s art collection. Mendeleev was fascinated with visual arts, and was on friendly terms with many famous Russian artists of the time: I.N.Kramskoy, A.I.Kuindzhi, I.E.Repin, I.I.Shishkin, N.A.Yaroshenko and others. Therse artists were all former participants in "Mendeleev's Wednesdays" â€“ informal intellectual gatherings at the Mendeleevs. The archive is adjoined by a vast collection of the scientistâ€™s research tools â€“ about 200 storage units, most of them created under his original design.
Mendeleev's study is located in the same room where it was during the scientistâ€™s lifetime. Mendeleev moved from the University apartment in 1890 and there is little data on the layout of the study in 1866 - 1890. Therefore, Mendeleev's home study was modeled after photographs taken by his colleague F.I. Blumbach in 1903, borrowed from the General Department of Weights and Measures. A visitor entering the room may obtain a rather clear idea of the environment where the great scientist once worked. In the middle of the study there is a desk with the things Mendeleev used for his studies: a pen, glasses, paperweight, and rulers. But the main attraction for every visitor entering the study is its large library.
Mendeleev's personal library collection reflects his scientific, socio-political and aesthetic interests. The many notes in the margins and blank pages of his books put Mendeleev's personal library on par with the museumâ€™s archival materials. Most of the volumes were bound under the direction of Mendeleev himself. His volumes contain collections of small books, articles, prints and brochures; on the spine of each volume, the subject, year of issue and volume number are noted with the initials 'D.M.' The names of each volumeâ€™s articles are listed on the inside cover. Mendeleev catalogued his library by both author and subject. Thematically speaking, the books mainly concern the natural sciences, primarily chemistry. The collection of works concerning the development of production forces of Russia is also quite broad. Many articles and books are prefaced with presentation inscriptions addressed to Mendeleev. The collection of Mendeleevâ€™s own works, including some of his manuscripts, portraits and drawings, occupies a special place in the library.
In the summer time, the museum is open from Monday to Thursday from 11.00am till 4.00pm. To visit the museum, please call in advance, +7 (812) 328-9744.
Entrance from the Mendeleevskaya Line.