The museum's collections contain items transferred to the Lavra in the late XX-early XXI century. Most of the items were donated to the monastery or museum by clergymen, parishioners, artists, collectors, and organizations.
Russian icon of the XVI-XX centuries.
Painting and drawing
Religious paintings, drawings and watercolors of the XIX-XX centuries.
The collection consists of small wooden plastic, elements of the church interior, wooden sculpture, furniture.
The collection includes vestments of the clergy of the XVIII-XX centuries, embroidered vestments for icons of the XIX-XX centuries, banners and anti-coins of the XVIII-XX centuries.
Church utensils made of metal
Liturgical vessels, vestments for icons and the altar, censers and lamps, dishes and bowls for donations, chains and household items of the XVIII-XX centuries.
Originals and copies of archival documents, printed publications on the history of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Black-and-white and color positives of the XX century, illustrating the history of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Collection of documents by A. F. Dostoevsky
The collection includes memorial items and documents from the personal archive of Andrei Fyodorovich Dostoevsky (1908-1968), the grandson of the writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, the initiator of the creation of the Leningrad Dostoevsky Museum.
The museum of the Alexader Nevsky Lavra was opened in December, 2013. It was founded in commemoration of 300-years anniversary of the monastery. The museum is situated in the historical buildiong of the sacristy of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. The new exposition of the museum was created in 2017, and it represents the collection of the religious cultural heritage. It includes the icons and religious paintings, the arts and crafts, historical documents and photos and other objects, that represent the history of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Museum before the Revolutionary Upheavals (1909-1922)
The beginning of the twentieth century in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra was marked by preparations for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. By this time, many shrines and artistic treasures had gathered in the monastery. These factors increased the urgency of creating a museum in the monastery. By the beginning of the twentieth century, there were already seventeen diocesan museums in Russia, and their number did not stop increasing. On April 17, 1909, the creation of the Ancient Repository was approved by Metropolitan Anthony of Ladoga and St. Petersburg (Vadkovsky). In May 1909, the Spiritual Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra appealed to the organizing committee of the All-Russian Congress of Artists with a request to assist in the organization of the Ancient Repository. The Committee, chaired by Count A. Golenishchev-Kutuzov, included artists-art historians A. N. Benois, A. A. Karelin, the most famous architects V. A. Pokrovsky, I. A. Fomin, A.V. Shchusev and the author of many publications on the history of ancient Russian art V. T. Georgievsky. Already in June, Archimandrite Theophan (Tulyakov) acquainted the committee members with the collections available in the Lavra.
The south-western tower of the monastery complex was allocated for the museum. It previously housed a library and a monastery sacristy, for which a new heated building was built in 1910, designed by architect L. P. Shishko. Archimandrite Filaret was appointed head of the museum. The main work on the construction of the ancient repository was entrusted to the artist Andrey Andreevich Karelin and the novice of the Lavra Fyodor Mikhailovich Morozov, who since his stay in the monastery collected Lavra antiquities-objects that have fallen out of use. In the organization of the museum, A. N. also took part. Benois, V. T. Georgievsky and the icon painter M. V. Tyulin, as well as the editor of the magazine "Old Years" Baron N. N. Wrangel, his employee P. P. Weiner and the son of the famous jeweler A. K. Faberge. Using the experience of organizing the historical and art museum in Nizhny Novgorod, A. A. Karelin managed to organize the selection of objects and their classification in a short time.
In 1910, the museum was opened to the public.
In the same year, a "Brief inventory of the Ancient Repository"was published. Today it is one of the most valuable documents on museum attribution and testifies to the numerous and often unique exhibits removed from the Lavra in the 1920s, some of which are now in the State Russian Museum.
In 1910, the collection of the ancient repository consisted of more than 1,500 exhibits. Among the most valuable and interesting are memorial items, such as a walking stick made personally by Peter I, the bed on which the first Russian emperor rested while staying in the monastery, gifts from Catherine II, Paul I and other reigning persons. The most ancient monument was the cap (crown) of the holy Prince Alexander Nevsky made of crimson velvet, with ermine fur and a pommel in the form of a cross. The exhibition also featured a wooden architectural model of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, made according to the first project of Theodor Schwertfeger (today it is located in the Research Museum at the Russian Academy of Arts).
In 1910, the collection of the ancient repository contained 21 sections:
The Holy Holy Grand Duke Alexander Nevsky (shrouds, icons, and other images).
Their Imperial Majesties (busts, portraits, engravings).
Archimandrite and first abbot, Archbishops and Metropolitans (portraits, engravings, lithographs).
Icons (enamel, etc.).
Items that have a connection with the name of Alexander Nevsky.
Church items and items of religious use.
Books and sheet music.
Certificates, columns, diplomas, plans.
Paintings and portraits.
The funeral Board.
Models and projects.
Lamps, chandeliers, sconces, candlesticks, etc.
Decorative carvings, etc.
On March 16, 1910, at the invitation of A. A. Karelin, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, President of the Imperial Academy of Arts, visited the museum. This day was considered the day of its official opening. In her letter to Metropolitan Anthony, she pointed out that the museum had made a "deeply gratifying impression"on her. Vladyka gave his blessing to expand the Ancient Repository.
The museum was open daily from 14 to 16 hours, except on the eve of public holidays.
Gradually, the museum was replenished with new valuable exhibits. For example, in 1910-1913, the Lavra Hieromonk Gabriel donated an old wooden Crucifix, and the head of the Synod archive, the historian K. Ya. Zdravomyslov-old tin vessels of the XIII-XIV centuries. In 1913, at the request of Morozov from the Academy of Arts, the museum received photographs from the expedition of P. V. Sevastyanov to Mount Athos, as well as plaster casts from ancient bone carvings and types of sacred subjects stored in Western European museums.
In 1912 and 1915, the museum took part in grandiose historical and art exhibitions.
On March 24, 1917, according to the decree of the Spiritual Council, the Ancient Repository was closed to the outside public due to the revolutionary upheavals.
The museum was finally closed in 1922 in the midst of a campaign to seize church valuables, during which the material values belonging to the monastery were confiscated "for the benefit of the starving". Some of the exhibits were transferred to the Russian Museum: icons (a significant part of them belonged to the Old Believer tradition), vestments and other items. One of the oldest such exhibits is the cover on the shrine of St. Alexander Nevsky, brought from Vladimir to St. Petersburg together with the relics of the blessed prince in 1724. The cover was made in the middle of the XVII century and depicted Alexander Nevsky in monastic attire, which contradicted the iconography of the saint in the synodal period (Alexander Nevsky in princely attire). The cover was kept in the Lavra Sacristy, and then in the Ancient Repository.
After the closure of the Ancient Repository in 1922 and the transportation of some of the exhibits from it to the Russian Museum, the defenders of the Lavra Museum immediately began to prepare a project for its renewal. Now the Ancient Repository was planned to be placed on the second floor of the new sacristy. However, this idea was realized only after 90 years.
Re-creation of the museum
The modern ancient repository of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra was recreated in December 2013, in the year of the 300th anniversary of the monastery, after an almost 90-year break.
The ancient repository of the Lavra owes its existence in many respects to the works of Lidia Ivanovna Sokolova, secretary of the diocesan commission for canonization. Since 2008, she has painstakingly collected materials, accepted exhibits, and agreed with experts on dating and attribution.
The first temporary exhibition that marked the opening of the museum was the traveling exhibition "Non licet vos esse. You should not be", dedicated to the persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church in the post-revolutionary decades. In January 2017, the permanent exhibition of the museum was opened, which remains in the museum to this day.