History of the Museum
It so happened that one of the most important towns in the history of Belarus - Navahradak - had not had a museum until Belarus became independent. However, even before the Museum opened its doors, many people were interested in the history of the town, they collected material evidence of the past. Local historians Raman Letska, Tatsiana Tsaruk, Barys Besarab, as well as scientists - natives of Navahradak - Vyachaslau Chamyarytski, Mikola Nikolaeu, Mikhail Kastsyuk contributed to the creation of the museum. An initiative group was formed, and the town committee of the Communist Party of Belarus decided to establish a museum, which was founded on August 25, 1987. Nina Shurak, an employee of the ideological department of the party's town committee, was appointed as a responsible person for collecting museum objects. It took 5 years from the foundation of the museum to the opening of the exposition. At that time, Belarus gained independence, and the exposition of the new museum was created on the wave of growing interest in its own history. During the opening of the origins of statehood, the museum became a center of research and promotion of the historical and cultural heritage of Navahradak as the center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuan
On September 12, 1992, a museum exposition was opened. It presents the history and culture of the Navahradak region from the origins of the town to the middle of the 20th century. The collection includes about 22,000 items of museum value, including 14 collections.
The museum exposition represents the history of the town and Navahradak Castle. In the middle of the thirteenth century Navahradak became the place of coronation of the Mindoūg (Mendog) and the center of unification of the lands on which the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was later formed. The high level of economic development of the town and the development of trade relations are demonstrated by the materials of archeological excavations carried out in Navahradak in the second half of the twentieth century by St.-Petersburg archaeologists led by F.D. Gurevich, and the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus under the leadership of T. Bubenko in the late twentieth - early twenty-first century.
During the times of the first Rzeczpospolita, Navahradak played a significant role as the venue for the Seimas and sessions of the The Lithuanian Tribunal— Supreme Court of Appeal of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The town had the Magdeburg rights and was the center of the voivodeship. The exposition presents the original edition of the materials of the Tribunal sessions from the second half of the 18th century, versions of the town's coats of arms at different times.
From 1921 to September 1939, the town again became the voivodship center in the second Rzeczpospolita and experienced an economic and socio-political growth. At the same time, it was a typical shtetl where the majority of the population was Jewish.
The museum exposition emphases the multicultural and multi-religious nature of the region, where Tatars, Poles and Jews for centuries lived next to Belarusians, and Christianity, Islam and Judaism coexisted without conflicts.
A significant part of the exhibition dedicated to the theme of the Great Patriotic War, with a focus on the events in the town and region during the occupation by Nazi Germany. From September 1941 until the liberation on July 8, 1944, Navahradak was the center of the Gebit Commissariat within the General Commissariat of Belarus. The activities of the occupation regime are presented in the sections«Forced Labor under Nazi Occupation», «History and Destruction of the Navahradak Jewish Community». The sections«Resistance», «Navahradak inhabitants — participants in the battles for Warsaw, Berlin and the war with Japan», «Liberation of Navahradak» complete the exposition
Ethnography is an important part of the exposition. The ethnographic collection of the museum is diverse. It includes various household items, including a collection of towels.
The exposition also presents the Navahradak traditional garment. It has its own distinctive features:
- a combination of red and black colours in embroidery;
- different variants of a stylized rose are often found next to the traditional geometric ornament for Belarus.
The interior of a peasant house of the beginning of the XX century, the integral elements of which are a Russian stove, wooden and wicker furniture, pottery, represents traditional village housing. Handicraft pottery production developed in the Navahradak region in the villages of Karnyshy and Bratsyanka until the middle of the 20th century.
A separate hall in the museum is dedicated to outstanding figures of the Navahradak region who have made a significant contribution to the development of art, literature, science, public opinion and European culture. The first Belarusian memoirist Fyodar Yeūlashoūsky and the first folklorist Salamon Rysinski were born in Navahradak lands.
The founder of art photography Jan Bulhak was born in the village of Astashyn in Navahradak district (now Karelichy district). The photos of Jan Bulhak recorded the development of Navahrudak in the 1920s, landscapes and manors of Navahradak district, he left encyclopedic memories of the way of life of the Navahradak nobility of the early twentieth century.
Joachim Litavor Chreptowicz, the last Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the first Minister of Foreign Affairs in the history of our state, a member of the Education Commission - the first Ministry of Education in Europe, founder of the famous library in Szczorsy, reformer in education and agriculture, he not just created a model farm, but he also influenced the development of public opinion, the formation of the worldview of Adam Mickiewicz and other figures of the time.
Jazep Drazdowicz, a Belarusian artist from Vitebsk region, worked as a drawing teacher at the Navahradak Belarusian Gymnasium.
At present, the Museum is a platform for various programs and projects that allow dialogue in society. Museum collections — are not just a treasure trove that are the basis for studying the history and culture of the region, but they also serve as a basis for developing contacts and strengthening ties between generations and cultures.