Tuesday, December 23, 2014

'Winter Holidays' at the Museum of Russian Art


This holiday season exhibit at the Minneapolis Museum of Russian Art is called "Winter Holiday Traditions in 20th Century Russia." One of the world’s largest collections, it was offered to the small museum by Kim Balaschak, who found the ornaments mostly at flea markets when she visited Russia over several years.

I have few photos because it wasn't clear whether they were allowed or not. I asked upstairs and the answer was no, but people were taking photos downstairs, so I took a few.

Ornaments of the WWII period reflect the scarcity of wartime materials. It was interesting how many were war weapons and vehicles, something you wouldn't see on a Western tree.


Instead of sparkling glass balls we are used to seeing on a Christmas tree, onaments of cotton, cardboard, and glass depicted Young Pioneers, Soviet leaders, the space program, Arctic explorers, airplanes, Russian fairy tales, Father Frost.




Seven hundred items were on display this year and different ones will follow for the next couple years. The last two photos are of reproductions in the gift shop.




  1. Cynthia, enjoyed your photos, even if they were illegal! ;-) We bought some matrushka dolls (not sure if that's the right spelling), when we traveled in Russia, and some street artwork that was really inexpensive. We gave a set of the dolls to my mother and to my husband's mother, and kept one for ourselves. With both of our mothers now gone, we have all three. MerryChristmas

  2. Interesting the Russian traditions at Christmas.
    How are your decorations coming along for the gathering of "Clan Reimer"?
    Has young and upcoming decorator, Mason, decided to have instead of the holly in the
    hallways to have displays of beautiful white toilet paper ( well it could be classified as falling snow)
    as the theme for 2014!!!
    Oh I am so wicked - look out HELL - I will be down there soon - ha ha.
    Our Christmas day weather here in Brisbane is expected to be fine - max. temperature 30 Celsius with
    a late change in the afternoon if possible rain and storms. That should be great for the Christmas beach, parks and
    pool parties. Certainly better than the usual sauna weather.
    Aussie Col

    1. Ooops - that "if possible rain" - should be "of possible rain".
      I think the work of the devil is interferring with my train of thoughts and writings. ha ha.

  3. Cynthia Russian ornaments and Christmas decorations are very nice. I love them very much. What a pity that we can't visit this country. Waht a shame is not too safe for and we have to get visaas as members of European Union. I was only once there it ia amazing country but people are friendly but most of them are very poor. My country is paradise for them

  4. It's so interesting looking at objects from other countries. Looking at the similarities as well as the differences.

  5. Hi Cynthia, just stopping by to wish you and yours a very happy Christmas. Thank for sharing your photos, too. What an interesting exhibit. Peace.

  6. Just stopped by to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  7. Nice photos, and I would have taken them as well if others were taking them...
    Merry Christmas.

  8. That is interesting to see the Russian decorations. Every country has its own it seems, the Nordic countries have many hand and homemade decorations.

  9. Interesting! I am glad you go to all those exhibits so I can enjoy them too! :)

  10. Cynthia, thank you for this! The photos are NOT illegal and I hope that you will come and take more this year. The Museum of Russian Art is organizing another exhibition of Soviet winter holiday ornaments, which opens November 19th, 2016 and runs into early February 2017. I will be there for the opening Saturday, November 19th and it would be my pleasure to meet you. Kim Balaschak, collector.