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Three educator-scholars from Russia's Hermitage Museum to visit campus

Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor
(217) 333-5491;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Central Illinois residents will get a rare glimpse of the collections of Russia's Hermitage Museum this month, without having to travel halfway around the world to do so.

Three educator-scholars on the staff of the world-renowned Russian museum will visit the University of Illinois March 20-29 to present public lectures, teachers' workshops, programs for area schoolchildren and an Elderhostel unit on Russian art and architecture. Irina A. Kureeva, head of the Hermitage’s School Centre department, and School Centre scholars Leah Livshits and Natalia Krollau, will be guests of the UI’s Russian and East European Center. Their visit is co-sponsored by a number of other campus units and supported by area businesses, including Jumer’s Castle Lodge, Hawthorne Suites, Silvercreek Restaurant and Courier Cafe.

"This visit is unique," said REEC assistant director Lynda Park. "They’ve never done anything like this in the United States.

The Hermitage Museum, located in St. Petersburg, was started in the 18th century as a repository for the collection of Empress Catherine II. In the 20th century, it grew to become one of the largest museums in the world, with more than 3 million items. The collection, which includes artworks and other cultural and historical objects from Russia, Western Europe, Asia and other parts of the world, spans the centuries – from Paleolithic to contemporary time periods.

Among the programs planned by the Russian visitors are three public lectures:

March 20, 7 p.m., 101 International Studies Building, 910 S. Fifth St., Champaign. Kureeva will discuss "The Hermitage, Past, Present & Future." The lecture will be in Russian; English translation will not be provided.

March 22, 7 p.m., Room 62, Krannert Art Museum, 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign. Krollau will give the Spurlock Museum Guild Presentation, "The Hermitage Museum Collection and Mission: Two Hundred Years of Endurance and Change."

March 28, 7 p.m., Room 62, Krannert Art Museum. Livshits will give the Program for the Study of Religion CD-ROM Presentation on "Biblical Subjects in Art in the Hermitage Museum."
For more information about the visiting Russians’ itinerary, including teachers’ workshops and visits to area schools, contact Park at 333-1244 or