If your travels take you to New York City, you might want to consider extending your stay a few days to visit the Russian History Museum near Jordanville, New York. The museum is located on the grounds of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Monastery, which is an additional reason why a visit to Jordanville is worth the trip.
The Russian History Museum’s latest exhibit, The Last Days of the Last Tsar, introduces Nicholas II and his family, and their life prior to the Russian Revolution. The exhibit details their days in captivity from the Alexander Palace to Tobolsk, and finally, in Ekaterinburg. The exhibit shows in, poignant detail, with objects from their captivity: embroidery, books, clothes hangers, blouses, icons, and pieces of jewelry are just a few.
Charming watercolors by Gleb Botkin, the son of Dr. Eugene Botkin, the family’s physician, are included in the exhibit. Gleb was friends with the imperial children and created stories and drawings for them before the revolution. He continued this when he and his sister went with their father to Tobolsk, where they lived near the imperial family. Since Gleb and his sister were not allowed contact with the family, Gleb gave the drawings to his father to show the children, and took them back to his quarters.
Although several objects, such as the Botkin drawings, are on loan by private collectors, the majority are in the collections of the Russian History Museum. Among the items in the museum’s care are objects obtained by Nikolai Sokolov who led the investigation into the death of the Imperial family and their loyal staff. Sokolov visited Yekaterinburg eight months after the family’s execution on 17 July 1918, and found remainders of their life and death in Yekaterinburg. Interestingly, several items in the “The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution” exhibit at the Science Museum, London are on loan by the Russian History Museum in Jordanville.
What the Russian History Museum exhibit does, more than anything else, is show the closeness and love the family had for each other, and for their retainers who volunteered to join them in captivity. Their faith never wavered as the days went by from March 1917 to their last day of life on 17 July 1918.