The scale of Peter the Great’s reforms revealed by Presidential Library’s exhibitions

13 May 2022

On May 13, 2022 the Presidential Library hosted the grand opening of two exhibitions at once, dedicated to the 350th anniversary of the Russian Emperor Peter I.

“Creator of the Russian Welfare…” is the name of the exhibition located in the first exhibition hall. This is exactly how the 18th-century poet Alexander Sumarokov spoke about the first emperor of Russia, whose name is associated with epoch-making transformations for the country. By this date, the Presidential Library is preparing a collection of documents, the most interesting of which will be showcased in the historic building of the Synod.

The exposition materials reveal the history of the creation of the fleet and the regular army by Peter I and introduce reforms in the field of public administration: the establishment of the Senate and the Synod, the formation of the executive authorities - boards.

Visitors to the exhibition will see such monuments as “Civil primer book with moralizing”, “Honest mirror of youth”, on the example of the laws “on the wearing of every rank of people of German dress and shoes…”, “on shaving beards and mustaches of every rank of people, except for priests and deacons…” will be able to trace how the way of life of Russian society has changed.

Part of the documents is devoted to the personality of Peter I, the most important events of his biography, which influenced the formation of the emperor's worldview. The exposition also features materials spotlighting the memory of Peter, including rare images of historical places associated with his name.

St. Petersburg State University, a member of the Assembly of Peter's Museums in Russia, and the Presidential Library have prepared a separate exhibition project "Great Peter introduced science to us ...", spotlighting the emperor's contribution to the development of Russian science and scientific education. It is available in the second exhibition hall. In particular, here is the text of the emperor's decree on the establishment of the Academy of Sciences, a university and a gymnasium, which reads: "one building, with small losses, would have repaired the same with great benefit, that in other states there are three different ones...".

Rare book editions tell about the foundation of the first Russian printing house in Amsterdam and the development of domestic book printing, about Peter's acquaintance with European scientists Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Christian Wolf, anatomist and collector Frederick Ruysch, about the activities of the first academicians, the purchase of scientific instruments, the acquisition of collections, the formation of the library fund .

By the middle of the 18th century, on the foundation laid in the Petrine era, a scientific community had formed in Russia, a prominent representative of which was Mikhail Lomonosov. Part of the exposition tells about the achievements of domestic scientists.

The exhibitions “Creator of the Russian Welfare …” and “Great Peter introduced science to us…”, dedicated to the reformer tsar, will run until August 14, 2022. To visit the exposition please pre-register by phone (812) 334-25-14 or send an e-mail to