To the 225 anniversary of the Department
of Museum Attendants
The history of the Department of Museum Attendants dates back to Catherine
II time when there appeared the necessity to register, keep in good condition
and restore works of art bought by the empress. The first record of this
service was found in the fiscal report of 1774 kept now in the Russian
Archive of Ancient Acts in Moscow.
On 1 of February 1794 Catnerine II signed an edict establishing a new
class of court attendants and defining the succession of the post of the
court attendant from father to son. On 25 of February 1839 a school for
children of the court attendants was founded.
In 1796 Paul I decided to separate the Hermitage from the Imperial Court.
Six years later grand chamberlain count D.Buturlin was appointed by the
imperial ordinance to attend to the collection of pictures available in
the Hermitage. In the act of 1825 "On adopting rules for the Hermitage"
there is a direct instruction for the attendants to accompany visitors
and prevent them from touching anything or approaching pictures and other
articles in the most polite way. In 1854 it was decided not to follow
visitors but to watch after one room and see that museum exhibits are
preserved. From the middle of 1863 new rules for managing the Hermitage
Museum were adopted together with the new staff including posts of "gallery
attendants" of the first and second class. Today the Department of Museum
Attendants consists of 303 members, many of them have been working in
the Hermitage for more than 25 years.