Street exposition dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Museum-Estate of L.N. Tolstoy “Yasnaya Polyana”

The “Ural Locomotives”
interactive museum and exhibition centre

The “Ural Locomotives” plant produces freight locomotives and modern passenger trains, which run in different parts of our country. The Bureau “Metaforma” developed and implemented the concept for the Interactive Museum and Exhibition Centre.

«My address is always: Tula»

Life stories in objects: “Metaforma” presents a new project – an exhibition dedicated to Pavel I

On 26 March, the Gatchina Palace (Leningrad region) opened an exhibition dedicated to the 220th anniversary of the death of Pavel I: “Service to God and the Fatherland”. The series of exhibitions dedicated to the great emperor consists of four exhibitions.

It will run until February 2022.

The scenography part was curated by Viktoria Tarasova, creative director of the “Metforma” Bureau of Museum Scenography.

The narrative of each exhibition is built around an object that symbolically identifies its owner and is a “mute witness” to the stories and events of his life. The objects demonstrate the multifaceted nature of Pavel I.

The series started with the exhibition “Service to God and the Fatherland. Uniform”. 11 (24) March is a Memorial Day for the death of Pavel Petrovich. The uniform was kept with his belongings, which on the night of the murder were in his bedroom in the Mikhailovsky Palace. This is the uniform of an officer of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, whose chief was Pavel I. It is specially decorated with the distinctive imperial insignia of the Order of St Andrew.

Pavel I was crowned in a similar uniform, thus establishing a tradition for all subsequent Russian emperors that lasted until 1917.

At the bequest of Empress Maria Feodorovna the uniform was given to Constantine Pavlovich and after his death in 1833, together with his bed, jackboots and other personal effects of the Emperor, it was taken to the Gatchina Palace and placed in the Oval Office of Pavel I, where it remained until 1941.


The creative team at the “Metaforma” Bureau of Museum Scenography chose a novel method of constructing each exhibition as part of a whole. The dominant subject in the narrative series of a particular exhibition is organically woven into the subjects of the other exhibitions in the series, referring to each other. A unified visual image is created, which is also quite malleable and modifiable for each of them. This approach helps bring us closer to understanding the contradictory personality of Pavel I.

According to Viktoria Tarasova, “Approaches to creating an exhibition of a single object can be very different, but what they have in common is that even a single object can convey multiple meanings, reveal multiple plots. In the case of a series of exhibitions, it became important to give each object a voice in its own right and, at the same time, form a unifying element, reflected in the approach to the scenography of all the exhibitions. The personality of Pavel I is multifaceted, and the objects selected by the museum’s curators can reflect these facets – you just have to give them that opportunity. This opportunity is provided through an approach universal to all exhibitions, where the scenography is built on a combination of three ‘layers’ of narrative and space: subject – event – protagonist”.

We would like to believe that through the comprehensive approach of museum scenography we have been able to more fully reveal the personality of Pavel I and his life path through an object that is undoubtedly linked to individual choices, actions and decisions.

261 national and regional media representatives were invited to the opening. Project participants gave interviews and shared details of its implementation.

And here are the strengths of this project — our team. Some, however, have been left out of the picture – but that’s only because they are so busy working. Together we are more than just strength – together we are labour, determination, creativity and strategy. Only the unity of minds and hands, their concentration helps to achieve success!


We would also like to thank our partner Epson for providing the equipment to demonstrate the additional visuals.

Read more about the exhibition:

«Leningrad Militia»: an exhibition at the Okhta Teenage and Youth Center

Kola History Museum

The museum is dedicated to the history of Kola and its inhabitants.
The exposition includes 2 levels of narrative:

A HISTORICAL, one that tells the story of Kola as a place with a long and rich history, a PRIVATE, one dedicated to the people who lived here at different times in history.

How to create a diversified virtual experience

We continue our series of reports from Digital Summit 2021.

Our focus today is creating the right virtual experience for your visitor.

In the pandemic, museums were forced to close their doors and rethink interaction with their audiences. This has led to digital projects for the widest sections of society.

What most museums have done? They tried to copy the physical experience into a virtual format. This is a logical move, because many people still look at the museum as a physical building with a physical collection. But for some audiences, this approach has proved frustrating.

It is indeed difficult to give a single definition of a museum, and opinions differ. But one thing is certain: a museum is, first of all, about interaction. The functions of a museum are currently being redefined. A museum ceases to be just a majestic temple, where you have to be quiet and preferably inconspicuous while admiring the works of art. The position of the visitor in this interaction is gradually transformed into an active. Museums are becoming a public space not only for encounters with art, but also with educational programmes and lectures, a place to spend leisure time with family and friends.

It’s the same with digital – it’s no longer enough for the online visitor to simply show the exhibits. Surprise him, make him fall in love with the collection! In a virtual format, the task of attracting and retaining attention comes to the fore. This is where an unconventional approach comes into play. Try to focus the user’s experience on aspects that are not available to them in the museum itself.

A great solution from The National Gallery – a video presentation of Lake Keitele in the form of a five-minute relaxation session. A sensory experience that some have compared to poetry and yoga in its effect on the senses. You can watch the video here.

This is an example of going beyond the ordinary and being creative, making the user feel and experience the artwork, even if they can’t see it in person. There are many tools to convey emotions and you can use them in your practice of building virtual communications.

Think like a Product Manager: How IT can help a museum

We continue our series of reviews of MuseumNext Digital Summit 2021 reports.

When the pandemic struck, the interest in museums on the Internet increased sharply. But after a few months, it started to decline in the same way. Why did this happen? Museum content just could not get through the information noise of games, videos, interactive online learning. Yes, these are the museum’s main competitors in the digital space. They help you better understand the world and are a huge resource for learning and entertainment. They cannot be ignored; they are difficult to compete with. It is difficult because museum has little experience of traditional internet content. Whereas museum used to be open to visitors physically, it now has to compete for attention on the web. Museums have found that they need a more thoughtful and structured approach to presenting information.

Unfortunately, museum’s current investment in communication often does not pay off. This can range from educational activities, to conceptualising displays, to designing user experience, to presenting digital content. Sometimes material provided by museum are not used to their full extent; even more often they are not used at all. Why?

This is an extra burden on the people who are adapting material. Often museum sends in documents of hundreds of pages. It is difficult to use and justify the time spent on them. The result is a huge missed opportunity for a museum itself, its audience and its cultural mission as a whole.

Take a look at Ikea. This is what a piece of material from museum should look like – clear, accessible and concise. It is something that people are willing to learn and use.

Clearly laid out instructions for assembling the shelving unit Expedit, Ikea.

Try looking at museum activities from a different angle. For example, you produce a product for the education market. Whether you like it or not, it means that you are competing in a crowded space for people’s attention.

How museum can be successful?

According to Lisa Bernstein, Education Consultant at Doctrina Education Consulting LLC, you need to think less like a museum and more like a Product Manager.

You might wonder what a Product Manager, an IT professional, has to do with? What does this post  have to do with museums?

No need to be tied to a specific position. First of all, it is about a person who is responsible for a kind of product a company makes and how valuable it is to both a customer and a business. Be guided not by what museum wants, but by the needs of your audience.

It is important to understand that there are people behind a product.

A product manager always puts his users in the centre.

Lisa Bernstein believes that in order to create a useful product, three questions need to be answered:

  1. Who your users are?

A product manager develops user personas and user stories, applying data from interviews and surveys.

  1. What problem are your users trying to solve?

When your solution aims to close a need, it is most likely to be used. Apply the “Jobs to be done” concept adopted by IT companies. It gives an understanding of what work you are helping your  user to do.

  1. How can you please your users and what more can you do for them?

Here, it is important to understand what problem you are solving. If people don’t understand or like something, they are unlikely to be interested in the information you are trying to convey. At the same time, if there is nothing wrong with the flow of information, but your user is not ready to absorb it at the moment, you also risk losing their  attention. How do you know what information is clear and available to the user, and at what time? This question is difficult to answer until you have answered the previous ones.

In order to increase your presence and influence, we recommend that you draw on the expertise of professionals from other professional fields. It is never a waste to push the boundaries of your thinking and perception, and go beyond accepted boundaries.




The year of the pandemic or how museums survived the quarantine

11 March is the official date of the outbreak of coronavirus infection that was recognised as a pandemic. On the anniversary of this event, we decided to highlight its impact on museums.

The quarantine measures have seriously affected the work of museums. There has been much discussion about this situation. For example, an online webinar organised by UNESCO and ICCROM took place in June 2020. It focused on the work of museums after the pandemic (to review the recording click here ). The European NEMO Centre (Network of European Museum Organizations) surveyed 650 museums from 41 countries during the pandemic and presented its findings.

According to the study, which involved mainly European museums, 92% of them did not receive any visitors and suffered significant financial losses.

75-80% of income has been lost by the major museums, which have been badly affected by the global decline in the tourism industry. Cultural tourism now accounts for 40%, which means that 4 out of 10 tourists choose a holiday destination based on its cultural offerings.

3 out of 5 museums reported losing an average of €20,000 per week due to closures.

San Diego Natural History Museum


It has to be credited to the fact that reliance on a diversified range of income sources makes European museums flexible. According to the survey, museums relying on private funding are more vulnerable. So far, most museums are experiencing a significant drop in income and are struggling to address the problem. Museums in 12 countries report that discussions are underway to establish a cultural emergency fund, while in 8 countries a reserve fund already exists. Museums in 15 countries state that their country has no emergency funding scheme.

According to the survey, all museums have managed to retain their core staff. About 70% of museums have changed staff tasks to meet current needs. However, 3 out of 10 museums have suspended the contracts of freelancers and 3 out of 5 museums have frozen their volunteer programmes completely.

Museums have been forced to change their approach to workflow. About 50% of museums said that more than 80% of staff worked from home during quarantine measures.

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium


More than 60% of museums have increased their online presence after being shut down due to demands to comply with social distancing, and only 13.4% have increased their budget for online activities.

More than 70% of museums have expanded their social media activities. Most are considering offering more podcasts, live streaming and themed games.

Attendance at virtual tours and online exhibitions has increased significantly. Almost 80% of museums mainly use Facebook and almost 20% use Instagram to promote themselves. Half of the respondents said their museum provides one or more new online services now.


The world’s biggest museums have set up a “representative office” on the Internet


British Museum, London


Palace of Versailles, Paris 


Louvre, Paris


Vatican Museum, Vatican (Rome)


National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul


The relevant organisations and stakeholders are advised at this stage to focus all efforts on improving museums’ digital literacy: creating digital applications, digitising collections. Equally important is shaping dialogue between museum and society, as it was museums that helped to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness during the pandemic. Moreover, dialogue between the museums themselves and working together in all directions to overcome further crises is essential.

And, of course, the return of visitors is important. Many museums said during the quarantine that the exhibits were physically in need of an audience.

Most museums have already started operating with safety measures in place – pre-booking, limiting the number of visitors, regulating visiting routes and times, making personal protective equipment compulsory.

Art Psychotherapy in Museums

Museums not only provide new information and emotions but also contribute to improving the psychological state of a person.

We bring to your attention the article “Art Psychotherapy: How Museums Are Helping People Explore Their Mental Health” published in INDEPENDENT, a British journal.

The psychotherapy in museums allows patients to connect to the artwork and inspires creativity, says Alison Coles Alison Coles is a lecturer in art psychotherapy at the University of South Wales. This article originally appeared on The Conversation

The idea of receiving psychotherapy in a museum might seem unusual. However, art psychotherapists are increasingly looking towards the rich resources of museums and galleries to aid them in their clinical work.

Art therapy, or art psychotherapy, sees people expressing their feelings and experiences through art, as well as (or instead of) through words. It can be used to help people of all ages, living with a wide range of emotional or physical conditions.

NHS art psychotherapists usually work in designated therapy rooms in hospitals or outpatient centers, but for our recent study, we wanted to explore how conducting art psychotherapy in a museum could be beneficial to a group with complex mental health difficulties.
Research has found that people “see themselves” in museum objects and that reflecting on our responses to objects can tell us something about ourselves. For example, an object can evoke powerful emotions, or symbolize an aspect of our current or past experiences. So we wanted to tap into museum objects to help our participants develop greater self-understanding. To our knowledge, this was the first time that museum objects would be used for this kind of art psychotherapy for adults accessing NHS mental health services.

We predicted, based on findings from arts in health and art therapy case studies, that a museum setting could help inspire creativity among group members. There is also evidence that a non-clinical space could help people to feel more connected to each other and their local community, and less “set apart” by their mental health difficulties.

Working for ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, we delivered a program for seven adults aged 18-25 at two museums in Gloucester over 18 weeks. Each session lasted for 90 minutes and started and finished in a private education room at the museums.
The group members explored the museum exhibitions and then made some art using a variety of different materials.

In the beginning, we suggested some tasks (such as finding three objects to represent their past, present, and future), but as the weeks went on they increasingly found objects they connected with. At the end of each session, there was time for verbal reflections, as a group.
Speaking to the group members after the final session, and having observed the sessions as they went along, we discovered just how effective the use of museum objects can be, particularly for self-exploration. Susie (all names have been changed to protect identities) saw her desire to “wipe away the past and start again” reflected in a Victorian writing slate, and drew a modern-day device for making images and then erasing them. She also took inspiration from a model of a cross-section through the earth, drawing herself as a person with three layers and labeling it “what I show to others”, “what those close to me get to see”, and “what I feel about myself that hardly anyone knows”.

Another person who attended the sessions, Ellie, was inspired by a repaired Roman pot. She made a collage that expressed her sense that she was “piecing together bits in my life”. Caroline, meanwhile, made a timeline of her life (including some very traumatic experiences), saying that “I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t seen the timeline in the exhibition, but it felt very significant to do it – like putting things in place before moving on”.

Although not all the group members made artworks during the sessions, they still found therapeutic value in their encounters with the objects in the museum. Tasha, for example, was not always able to create art in the group but still reported that “using objects for self-reflection was useful”.

Several of the group members said that the exhibitions encouraged playfulness, as well as inspiring their creative work and that this “meant that the group loosened up”. Some said that they felt less defined by their mental health difficulties because the sessions were not held on NHS premises. Our museum sessions also encouraged independence and helped participants to feel valued and connected to the world outside mental health services.

As one participant put it: “You feel like you are a real person working on your personal goals rather than just a patient going through treatment… You wouldn’t necessarily have thought that pulling objects out of museum boxes and wandering around looking at artifacts would help you feel better or make progress in recovery, but you would be surprised.”

Building on this work, art psychotherapists from the ²gether Trust have since delivered two more museum-based therapy groups, for adults of all ages, and we have written about our experiences of how we worked in these settings. We are keen to continue to “flex” our practice, stepping out of the usual therapy spaces, and to encourage fellow art psychotherapists to explore how this rich therapeutic resource can help other people too.

Corporate Museums’ Competition

The corporate museums’ competition is completed!

We participated in a jury of the competition having carefully listened and evaluated more than 60 (!) participants’ speeches. The expert Irina Kiryukhina made a speech containing thoughts on the topic of the Corporate Museum Birth, and we also published a short memory on the topic of the event. You can download it here.

Brief information about the competition:

Organizer: RASO-Perm (the Perm Representation of the Russian Association for Public Relations).

All participants

Photo and video reports are presented in the Corporate Museum contest group.

Media 1
Media 2

We are grateful to the initiator of the competition, the President of RASO-Perm, Natalya Nechayeva for the unprecedented enthusiasm in building a community of enterprise museums. And we also congratulate the winners of various nominations: Anna Trepalova, Olga Kubareva, Yevgeniya Babakayeva, Andrey Andreyev, Olga Bozhedomova and all other participants.

P.S. A short afterword. The world of museums of enterprises is as diverse as the world of “classic” museums. It contains fashionable giants and very small inconspicuous projects, as well as teams and individual enthusiasts. The gap is sometimes simply incomparable. At the same time, a huge number of corporate museums are hidden from everyone, and only their employees know about them. We urge enterprises and corporations to recognize the importance of their museum as a strong communication tool and pay due attention to it! And we urge representatives of the world of culture to be open to dialogue and joint projects with this “parallel museum world”, which usually contain rather a real “museum influence” but no “real” museum specialists.

Current directions of Museum activity

On October 4, we visited and spoke at the annual conference «Current trends in Museum activities» at the State historical Museum.

The section on inclusion and especially the master class, which was held in the Museum’s exposition, seemed to be the most striking one we visited .

If you are a Museum that is thinking about how to create an inclusive program for blind or visually impaired visitors,
Polina Zotova
Maria Sarycheva
Evgenia Malyshko
— here are experts whose experience you can turn to !

Well, if you are in Moscow at the same time , we strongly recommend you to get acquainted with the GIMA exhibition called «Touching story»

In the «Museum space» section, Victoria Tarasova, creative Director and curator of projects At the Metaforma Bureau of Museum scenography, made a presentation (video of the speech can be viewed at GIM media portal). On the example of various projects, Victoria said that at each stage of the Museum concept implementation, there is inevitably a conflict. This can be a conflict between architecture and exposition, between the concept and further work with information, between environmental design and graphic design. Only a holistic view of the project, which is assumed by the philosophy of Museum scenography , from the first idea to the production of the final unit of information, can help preserve the unity of the project .

Tatyana Nikolaeva, Head of Museum projects at the Artemy Lebedev Studio, member of the adit Presidium , read an interesting report on Museum navigation.

Brothers Amir and Nurlan Akhtamzyan are specialists who know everything about scanning and creating 3D replicas of Museum objects. Amir is a senior research associate at the state Darwin Museum, and Nurlan is a senior research associate at the Borodino battle panorama Museum . Their report can be viewed here.

Alexey Tikhonov from rosfoto urged the Museum staff to «create multimedia with their own hands «, or at least increase the level of ownership of the subject, because after the appearance of new exhibitions, they also need to be serviced. The video of Alexey’s speech can also be viewed on GIM media portal.

Finally, I would like to note that when talking about Museum design, there is a temptation to fall into the discussion of specific «narrow» solutions. We hope that over time there will be a greater departure of discourse in the discussion of the Museum space AS a whole, as a synthesis of all solutions and layers. After all, there is such a thing as «spatial experience» for a reason. We also want to hear more about the complex perception of the exhibition by the visitor, because in the end everything is done for him.

The Murmansk Regional Museum of Local Lore

Information about the museum (based on the materials of the site:

The work on creating a museum of local lore in Murmansk began in the first half of the 1920s. A prototype of the future museum – a local natural history corner – was opened at the initiative of professor Klyuge G.A. at the House of Fisherman and Reindeer Herder in the winter of 1924. At the time of creation, the museum collection totaled 500 objects, and there were more than 800 books in the library. On the eve of the Great Patriotic War, the museum funds contained 2,826 units of storage, and the library contained 3,202 books. During the Great Patriotic War, the funds and the library were evacuated to Monchegorsk, and a part of them was lost during the evacuation. A new exhibition was ceremonially opened in a modern building in 1957. The creation of the permanent exhibition went by stages from 1960 to 1992.

Currently, the museum funds number over 160 thousand museum objects. In the “Nature” section, there is the only exhibition of the seabed in Russia – a dry aquarium and a unique geological collection extracted during drilling of the Kola superdeep well. The history of the region, from ancient times to modern ones, is presented in the following exhibitions: “History of the region from ancient times to the XVII century”, “The household and everyday life of the Sami in the XVIII-XIX centuries”, “The Kola Peninsula in the XVII – early XX centuries”, “The October Revolution, the Civil War and the Intervention on Murman”, “The region in the period of 1920-1930”, “The Murmansk Region in 1945-1985”. The final section of the history exhibition is devoted to changes in the social and economic spheres of the region’s life in the 1980s.

Since March 14, 2019, the building of the Murmansk Regional Museum of Local Lore has been closed for reconstruction.

The Metaforma Bureau of Museum Scenography was set a task to develop and present a sketch concept of the museum re-exposure. In December 2019, we started the development of working documentation and further implementation of the project. The museum will have 60 new installations, and the richest object fund will gain expanded opportunities for exhibiting and information support. The work will be carried out in close cooperation with the museum staff to ensure the scientific credibility of all created materials, both graphic object and digital.

    Заявка на разработку проекта Давайте вместе сделаем ещё один замечательный проект!