The Museum of Artillery, Engineering and Signal Corps is one of the largest military and historical museums in the world, which owns a precious collection of artillery armaments and ammunition, small arms and bladed weapon, military engineering equipment, means of military communication, battle banners, military uniforms, battle paintings and drawings, awards and badges as well as archival documents that prove the history of Russian artillery development and feats of arms of Fatherland defenders. Painting, graphic and sculptural collections of the museum are particularly impressive.
The museum exhibits include artworks reflecting the heroic events of Russia, portraits of Emperors, Grand Dukes, famous generals, as well as cited for bravery soldiers and officers. The museum halls are decorated with canvases of the most famous Russian painters of battle scenes: B. Villevalde, N. Dmitriev-Orenburgsky, A. Sharleman, A. Safonov, P. Kovalevsky, F. Rubo, A. Popov, N. Samokish, and M. Grekov.
The exhibits are displayed in 13 museum halls with a total of 17,000 square meters (183 square feet). At present, museum resources consist of 850,000 showpieces. Many of them are undoubtedly valuable monuments of science, technology, art and integral parts of cultural heritage of Russia. For instance, here you can find earliest examples of Russian artillery of the 14th to 16th centuries — Ustyuzhensk iron hand canons, the first dated bronze weapon made by master Jacob at the end of the 15th century, Russian rifled guns of the 16th and 17th centuries, which were far more advanced than their Western analogs. An invaluable contribution to the domestic technical development were inventions of design engineers of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, such as Zotin, Karelin, Engelhardt, Maiyevsky, Baranovsky, Plestzov, Myasoyedov, Mosin, and Fyodorov.
The museum preserves the world's first dynamo-reactive systems of L. Kurchevsky dated back to 1920's and 1930's, the idea of which was used by the Germans and the Americans only in 1940's. The world's largest collection of small arms and bladed weapon was assembled in the museum, including samples of Kalashnikov weapon, many of which were donated to the museum by the outstanding weapon designer personally.
Among the rarities of the museum, there is a ceremony kettledrum chariot for carrying the artillery flag, canons of poteshnyi regiments of boys-soldiers under Peter I, military awards of Russian Emperors, gifts received by Russian army regiments, artistically designed silverware and goods made of crystal, including those produced by Faberge Company, personal arms of Alexander I, Nicholas II, Ataman Platov, Napoleon Bonaparte, Marshal Murat and other Russian and Soviet generals and warlords.
Visitors are particularly interested in the external exposure of the museum opened after the reconstruction of November, 2002. Its largest part is located in the Kronverk courtyard in the area of over two hectares (five acres). The external exposition is blended with the Kronverk building into a single architectural ensemble. It is unique in its comprehensiveness, historical and scientific value. About 250 showpieces are located in open areas: artillery, missile, engineering equipment and military communication means. They include domestically produced and foreign items that range from ancient to modern ones, such as self-propelled, towed and anti-aircraft artillery, in particular, for nuclear warheads firing.
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