After leaving the oh-so-chic Faberge, my next mission is finding the Museum of Hygiene, a Soviet-era relic that would appeal to my taste for the quirky. I head to Italyanskaya Street, which is right around the corner from the Faberge Museum. I stumble upon the sign below and assume I have accomplished my mission.
It's a natural mistake to make. One sees a microscope, and understands the Cyrillic to read "Museum Russia Levsha". I don't know what Levsha means, so I'm thinking maybe he's a famous Soviet doctor. Thus, I go in, pay my admission (300 rubles--same as
the entry fee to the Hermitage), and come upon a caboodle of microscopic masterpieces.
|A wee Winnie the Pooh, Piglet|
and Eeyore sitting on a walnut shell
I'm talking teeny-tiny works of art--all less than 1 millimeter in size, and all viewable only through a microscope. Clearly, this is not the Museum of Hygiene. No, I have discovered the Russian Levsha, founded by the International Craft Guild of Masters.
|Microscopes lined up inside|
the Russian Levsha
|A miniature masterwork by Vladimir Aniskin|
After peering through dozens of microscopes, it's time to continue my quest for the Museum of Hygiene. And there it is, located just down the block. Housed in yet another St. Petersburg palace (circa 1755), the interior definitely hearkens back to Soviet days.
|I translate this as|
"Profane the Nature"
Russian speakers, please correct me.
The museum was founded in 1919, shortly after the Russian Revolution. It was part of the plan by the new Soviet of the People's Commissars to drive home the importance of health and hygiene.
Aside from numerous posters depicting warnings against all sorts of evil, there's Pavlov's Dog. I kid you not. An encased Pavlov's Dog, which should ring a bell to my intelligent audience, is the centerpiece of an exhibit covering conditioned reflexes. I must admit, looking at the caged beast inspired a gag reflex in me.*
|Unconditionally, this is Pavlov's Dog.|
*More on Pavlov's dogs here.