When Gordon B. Lankton, former CEO of Nypro, Inc., opened the Museum of Russian Icons on October 15, 2006, dignitaries from all over the globe attended the gala. Speeches from the Russian Consul General from New York and the staff from the Russian Embassy in Washington DC, friends and museum colleagues from Russia and the US mingled to admire what was then a magnificent collection of 350 Russian icons. In the ten years since that day it has grown to over 1,000 icons and artifacts that span six centuries, and become the premier collection of its type outside of Russia.
The Museum, in Clinton, Mass., will kick off its 10th anniversary on October 15th with free admission and lots of fun: crafts, scavenger hunts, birthday cake, spotlight tours, and more. Plus, the first 50 parties through the door at 11:00AM will receive a free gift bag.
The party continues that evening at 7PM with a concert at the Church of the Good Shepherd, next door to the Museum, with Zingaresca Duo, featuring two Russian-Roma guitar virtuosos. Oleg Timofeyev is a pioneer in the revival of the 7-string guitar. He has recorded more than a dozen and has performed concerts around the world. Vadim Kolpakov is equally stunning playing the 7-string guitar, singing, and dancing. He has performed extensively in the US and Europe, at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kremlin, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2008, as a member of the Kolpakov Trio, he joined Madonna on her “Sticky and Sweet” world tour. Tickets for the concert are on sale on the Museum’s website.
Lankton bought his first icon, an image of St Nicholas, at a flea market in Russia in 1989 just after the fall of the Soviet Union. This icon is still prominently displayed at the Museum. Icons are sacred images used for prayer by the Orthodox Christians. The earliest icon in the collection dates from the 15th century and the icon collection spans seven centuries, and includes contemporary examples of this ancient art. During communist rule icons were banned and hidden or destroyed. Gordon Lankton came along at the perfect time to begin collecting them.
In 2008 the state-of-the-art museum building was expanded to include a library and more gallery space. In 2010-2011, another expansion allowed for a temporary exhibition gallery; an auditorium for lectures, programs, and rentals; and the Russian Tea Room. In ten years, the Museum has welcomed over 100,000 people from all over the country and the world.
“Our temporary exhibition programs have been extraordinary,” says Kent dur Russell, CEO and Curator. ‘Treasures from the British Museum’ (which travelled to the Chrysler Museum to attract over 50,000 visitors), Treasures from the State Tretyakov Gallery and Andrey Rublev Museum in Moscow, Palehk boxes from the Palehk State Museum Russia and many shows based on our own collections have attracted audiences far and wide. Our current exhibition of Tiffany stained glass windows is so popular we have extended it until November 6.”
Gordon Lankton chose Clinton for the location of his museum to give back to the community that had supported him during his time at Nypro. Since opening in 2006 the Museum has had a positive economic impact on Clinton, and become part of the cultural fabric of the region. It received American Alliance of Museum accreditation in 2015.
The 10th anniversary celebration will continue with a “Royal Lecture & Reception” on Saturday, December 3. The lecture, by Nicholas Nicholson, a Senior Vice President at Freeman’s Auction in Philadelphia, will focus on two icons that will be on display at the Museum: the “Mother of God of the Sign” by Fabergé, and “Image Made Without Hands” by Kurliukov. Both were gifts for the wedding of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Younger (1890-1958). Nicholson will also talk about the extraordinary life of the Grand Duchess. The lecture will be attended by Prince Dmitri Romanoff Ilyinsky, great-nephew of Grand Duchess Maria and the senior male descendant of the House of Romanoff.
Upcoming Programs at the Museum of Russian Icons:
Animation as Artifact: the Cultural Significance of Russian Cartoons Saturday, September 24, 2-4PM, Members $8, Nonmembers $12
This program, part of the “Framing Cultures” series, will look closely at the multi-faceted role the art of animation has played in Russian society since the beginning of the 20th century: technological innovation, artistic expression, economic commodity, uplifting entertainment, and a vehicle for showcasing Russian values, achievements, traditions and character to its children and the world at large. Presentation and discussion will be integrated with screenings of classic cartoon animation.
Tiffany on the Mend: the Conservation of Stained Glass Saturday, October 1, 3:00-4:30PM
Members $8, Nonmembers $12, Register by calling 978.598.5000 x121
A Talk by Mary Clerkin Higgins, Stained Glass Artist and Conservator
Stained glass is a treasured and fragile medium. Time takes its toll and skilled intervention can be required to restore the light and artistic energy the original artists brought to their works. This talk will show numerous examples of stained glass before and after conservation treatment, detailing the problems encountered and solutions employed.
Book Launch: Icons: The Essential Collection by Sr. Faith Riccio.
Sunday, October 2, 2:00-3:30PM, Free with Admission
In partnership with publisher Paraclete Press, the Museum Shop presents the launch of “Icons: The Essential Collection” by Sr. Faith Riccio. Accompanied by several of her icons featured in the book, author Sr. Faith will talk about her experience writing icons and compiling the book. A Q & A with Sr. Faith will follow her talk. Light refreshments will be served. Reservations preferred. Call 978.598.5000 x121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FIRST THURSDAY PROGRAM: Adult Craft Night
Thursday, October 6, 5:00-7:30PM, Free with Admission
Take a break from viewing art to make some of your own! Join other adults for conversation and creative activity to relax and rejuvenate. No artistic experience required. Activity is ongoing, so arrive any time after 5PM. Admission is FREE to Clinton residents/employees (with ID).
Happy 10th Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, October 15, 11AM-5PM, FREE ADMISSION
The Museum will kick off its 10th anniversary on October 15th with free admission and lots of fun: crafts, scavenger hunts, birthday cake, spotlight tours, and more. Plus, the first 50 parties through the door at 11:00AM will receive a free gift bag.
10th Anniversary Concert-Zingaresca Duo
Saturday, October 15 7-8:30PM Church of the Good Shepherd, next door to the Museum
Zingaresca Duo, features two world-class Russian-Roma guitar virtuosos. Oleg Timofeyev is a pioneer in the revival of the 7-string guitar. He has recorded more than a dozen and has performed concerts around the world. Vadim Kolpakov is equally stunning playing the 7-string guitar, singing, and dancing. He has performed extensively in the US and Europe, at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kremlin, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2008, as a member of the Kolpakov Trio, he joined Madonna on her “Sticky and Sweet” world tour. Tickets for the concert are on sale on the Museum’s website.
The Museum of Russian Icons inspires the appreciation and study of Russian culture by collecting and exhibiting icons and related objects; igniting the interest of national and international audiences; and offering interactive educational programs. The Museum serves as a leading center for research and scholarship through the Center for Icon Studies and other institutional collaborations. It is the only museum in the US dedicated to Russian icons, and it is the largest collection of icons outside of Russia.
Museum hours: Tue. - Fri., 11AM to 4PM, first Thurs of the month to 8PM, Saturday and Sunday 11AM to 5PM, closed Mondays. Admission: Adults $10, seniors (59+) $7, Students $5, Children (3-7) $5, Children under 3 Free. For more information please visit www.museumofrussianicons.org.