On August 10, 2016 a new permanent display was opened in the Farm Palace of Alexandria Ensemble. The cultural and historical project "Peterhof Summer Residents" occupies 15 halls and invites guests to plunge into the atmosphere of summer holiday on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland in the 19-20th centuries. With the help of more than 300 museum items curators tell a story of Russian summer holiday culture. Having a wide experience in innovative projects, Peterhof Museum-Reserve was able to recreate a unique atmosphere of a countryside life at the turn of centuries using modern technologies.
In the second half of the 19th century, the word "dacha" (summer house) came into wide use to describe vacation houses for urban families, and exceptional dacha world had started to arise around an imperial residence in Peterhof. Several Romanov generations spent their summer time in the Alexandria Ensemble of Peterhof, where they got some kind of freedom from court conventions, that restrained their way of living.
In Alexandria's "Private Dacha" (private summer residence) everyone had an opportunity to do his or her favorite activity: fishing, hunting, mushroom and berry picking, walking and horse riding, bicycling and outdoor games. Following Emperor's family, high society came to Peterhof, among them - Emperor’s escort, aristocrats, officials, generals and officers, wealthy citizens. Among the famous dacha dwellers (summer residents) were such families as Benois, M.G. Vrubel, M.F. Kshesinskaya, D.I. Mendeleev, N.A. Nekrasov, A.G. Rubinstein, F.G. San-Galli, S.M. Tretyakov, I.S. Turgenev, P.I. Tchaikovsky, and many oters.
New exhibition project tells about residents of summer Peterhof, and what was the dacha life in a town of Peterhof for court office. Usual social routine was maintained here: summer Peterhof residents got invitations for official events at the court, attended festive dinners and receptions. Besides social entertainments there were also simple dacha pleasures: swimming in the Gulf of Finland, bicycling in the park, picnics, visiting each other. And of course, summer on the dacha was inevitably connected to making outdors jam and flavourful fruit liquors: this was how the taste of dacha could be preserved for the long Saint-Petersburg winter.
Exposition unfolds accordingly to the routine of dacha life: from bustle of the capital and hustle on the railway station to the evening silence and tranquility of country holidays at the seaside. Guest of "Peterhof Summer Residents" project will go up on the veranda of typical dacha house, find themselves in the artist’s workshop, visit aristocrat’s cabinet and lady’s boudoir, children’s room, learn about entertainments and pleasures of Peterhof summer, its flavors, tastes and sounds, feel sadness from autumn parting with Peterhof.
Besides museum halls guests will visit some kind of cinema, where prominent citizens of St. Petersburg tell about peculiarities of summer dacha culture, among them Boris V. Averin, Sergey I. Bogdanov, Nikolai V. Burov, Daniil A. Granin, Yakov O. Gordin, Tatiana V. Chernigovskaya, Marianna L. Shreter. Project "Peterhof Summer Residents" is aimed at family audience and everyone, who is interested in Saint-Petersburg life at the turn of the century.