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The Armory Chamber gained the status of museum

22 March 1806

10 (22) March 1806 by decree of Emperor Alexander I «On rules of management and preservation in order and integrity of antiquities held in the Workshop and Armory Chamber”, the Armory Chamber, an ancient Russian treasure, gained the status of the museum.

The Armory Chamber in Moscow has been known since the early 16th century. For many years it has been engaged in manufacture, purchase and possession of firearms, jewelry, items of the palace everyday practice. Under Ivan III for storage of the Great Treasury between the Archangel and the Annunciation Cathedral was built a separate two-story brick building - Treasury Court, that combined the repository and production workshops.

In 1640, under the Armory was established icon painting workshop, in 1683 - a picturesque; in 1700, the Armoury Chamber was joined by the Golden and Silver Chamber. There worked the best Russian masters, including gunsmiths A. and G. Vyatkin, N. Davydov, I. Prosvit, a jeweler G. O. Ovdokimov, painters I. A. Bezmin, S. F. Ushakov, N. E. Pavlovets , engravers L. Bunin, A. Zubov, A. Truhmensky, as well as a number of foreign masters.

In December 1709, after the victory of Poltava, on the orders of Peter I all the flags and weapons captured in the battle were transferred to the Armory. In 1726 the Armory was merged with the Treasury Court, Stables Office and Master chamber and was named "The Armoury and Master Chamber". Eventually Armory lost its industrial importance and became just the storage of objects of great artistic and historical value.

In 1806 Armory was transformed into a museum. The staff recruitment and the museum creation had been managed by the actual privy councilor, supreme commander of Kremlin Building Expeditions P. S. Valuev.

10 (22) March 1806 the "Rules ..." elaborated by Peter Stepanovich and the staff members were approved by the Emperor Alexander I, which legally stated the integrity of the Chamber holding and the prohibition to sell or give away any items without special provisions of the emperor. Items, given away earlier, were ordered to be found and returned; as to new items, they were included in the holdings only upon the "imperial resolution". The responsibility for the safety of property was fully attributed to Valuev, and the annual maintenance of the Chamber was estimated at 10 thousand rubles.

According to the Rules, the museum was allowed to accept donations from individuals; the names of donors and their donations were published in the Historical description of Chamber assets.

On special orders of the emperor were appointed honorary members of the Master and Armoury Chamber. The first of these was the employee of the College of Foreign Affairs archive State Councillor A. F. Malinowski, who, in 1807 compiled the Historical description of ancient Russian museum, called the Master and Armoury Chamber in Moscow, where for the first time were published the most important museum collections.

After the decree of 1806, which gave the Chamber the status of the museum, under the leadership of V. Yu. Soimonov was made a full systematic inventory of the assets. Thanks to the efforts of Valuev to the Moscow Kremlin were returned objects, confiscated for the court and other departments, a priceless collection of St. Petersburg Armory, abolished by Alexander I in 1810, was also transferred to the Chamber.

The emperor decree announced, the work on the construction of the Armory Museum designed by I.V. Yegotov began. In 1810 the construction was completed, and in 1812 its interior decoration began, which was interrupted by war.

The first exposition of the museum opened only in 1814, when it was headed by one of the most famous and influential nobles of the time, Senator, member of the Council of State, a lover and collector of antiquities, Prince N. B. Yusupov.

To date, Armory is part of the Grand Kremlin Palace. It is housed in a building constructed in 1851 by architect K. A. Ton. Exposition of the Armory occupies 9 rooms on two floors and comprises about 4 thousand items of applied art in Russia, Europe and the East of 4th - early 20th century.

The museum holds ancient state regalia, tsar ceremonial robes and coronation dress, vestments of bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, the largest collection of gold and silverware by Russian craftsmen, the West European artistic silver, monuments by gunsmiths, a collection of carriages, horse ceremonial harness.

The Armory holds Europe's largest collection of symbols of government authority, such as the famous Monomakh’s Cap - a unique headdress, pinned on the heads of the Russian Tsars, who occupied the throne before Peter I. Among the pearls of the museum's collection are the famous Faberge jewelry.

Since 1991, the Armory makes part of the historical and cultural museum-reserve "Moscow Kremlin ".

Lit.: Гончаренко В. С., Нарожная В. И. Оружейная палата: путеводитель. М., 2009; Государственный музей Московского кремля. Альбом. М., 1993; Конькова Е. А. Московский Кремль. М., 2003; Мастерская и Оружейная палата в ведении Экспедиции Кремлевского строения (1806–1831 гг.) [Электронный ресурс] // Музеи Московского Кремля. 1997-2018. URL: ссылка; Оружейная палата [Электронный ресурс] // Музеи Московского Кремля. 1997-2018. URL:

From the Presidential library materials:

Дополнения к Дворцовым разрядам по поручению графа Дмитрия Николаевича Блудова, собранные из книг и столбцов преждебывших дворцовых приказов архива Оружейной палаты Иваном Забелиным. СПб., 1882. Ч. 1;

Полное собрание законов Российской империи, с 1649. СПб., 1830. Т. 29 (1806-1807). № 22054. С. 133;

Савваитов П. И. Описание старинных царских утварей, одежд, оружия, ратных доспехов и конского прибора, извлеченное из рукописей Архива Московской Оружейной палаты. СПб., 1865.