Every April 18th the world celebrates the International Day for Monuments and Sites. The slogan of this day has become “Let’s Protect Our Historical Motherland”.
This day, also known as the World Heritage Day, was established in 1982 by the Assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) created at UNESCO. The holiday is celebrated since 1984 in order to draw public attention to the issues of protecting and preserving the world’s cultural heritage. It also gives a chance to learn more about the diversity of the world’s heritage, and about the efforts being made to protect and preserve it.
By now a Museum and Education Complex has been created at South Ural State University. More than 10 sites feature most diverse monument exhibits: Museums of Geology, and Archaeology, Museum of Rocket Technology, Art Museum, Museum of Journalism, and others.
Director of the SUSU’s Museum and Education Complex Nadezhda Ivanova shares on why architectural monuments are important, and what SUSU is famous for.
– Why are architectural monuments important?
‒ We should look into the meaning of the word “monument” itself (from Greek or Latin it is translated as “to remind”). So, we’re collecting and preserving things that depict the history of not only our university, but of our city and region too; things that relate about crucial events, and first of all, about people and discoveries. It’s important that this “memory” never gets destroyed, we need to carefully preserve it and study it. Reservations and conservation areas are like temples that adorn the land and cities. I believe that changes in society and state must not destroy the monuments of the previous periods. These should be kept as they in their own way tell us about those times, people and events. There exist cities in which every single building is an architectural monument. In our city, for example, we have the famous pedestrian Kirovka street, which is a cultural and historical center. It is being constantly transformed, new objects are being added. Today, besides the 19th century architecture, it is adorned by more than two dozens of modern art works which in their theme relate to the history of our city, its distinguished personalities and outstanding events that happened here.
– What monuments does SUSU have?
‒ Our university has its own special image. We honour its history, people who established it, and graduates who made it famous; there are many memorial sites and plaques, monuments and historical sites. Of course, we should give credit for it to the university administration since it mostly comprises our graduates who are proud of their university’s history and achievements. The monument to a steel worker installed at the entrance to the main university building has many student traditions and legends related to it. And the main building of SUSU is a true jewel of our city’s main street. A beautiful garden square with perennial spruces, and the well-kept surrounding area are the favourite spots of our university students.
– What is the Museum of SUSU History?
‒ I, as an archaeologist, have always been especially interested in ancient things ‒ ancient weapons, pottery, and jewels which dated back a couple thousand years and more. But when life gave me an opportunity to participate in forming the exhibit of the university history museum, it became clear that its history means its people – teachers and students. They are the ones who are writing the university’s history book, adorning its pages with achievements, discoveries and their further work, the gift of which was presented to them by our university. The museum’s exhibit includes a huge number of documents, photos, albums, and publications. Its archives are constantly expanding thanks to the employees, lecturers and students. Once I held a tour for the freshmen of the Automobile and Tractor Engineering Faculty, and the next day one of the students brought a unique Automobile and Tractor Engineering Faculty badge of the 60s. It turned out that both this guy’s father and grandfather also studied at this faculty. Not so long ago, two international students presented us a gypsum sculpture specially made for our museum.
– What in the Museum of SUSU History deserves a special mention?
‒ I’m being often asked what is the object of greatest value in the Museum of SUSU History. Of course, that would be the authentic documents: commendation lists, letters of appreciation, and certificates of honoured workers and scientists of our university, autographs of distinguished scientists, rare photographs, memoirs, manuscripts, rare editions and publications.
– What plans does the administration of the SUSU Museum Complex have?
‒ Some day all museums and museum sites of our university will be combined into one collection, will have a digital archive of all documents and materials, and maybe, one big exhibit. But for now all the employees and directors of the museum’s divisions are fulfilling an all-time task of organizing proper safekeeping of the materials in store, digitalizing them, studying and publishing the museum’s collection, promoting work with students, teachers, employees and veterans of our university, and expanding the museum’s collection.