Years of the Great Patriotic War
During the years of the Great Patriotic War and the Siege of Leningrad, the research and production activities of the TsNIGR museum ceased in the museum.
In connection with the immediate threat hanging over Leningrad, the museum staff took all possible measures to preserve the collection fund. Starting from the first days of the war, all employees were switched to work related to the preparation of collections, inventory and equipment for safety from bombing and destruction. The most valuable scientific geological collection materials, mainly monographic paleontological originals, as well as unique samples of minerals and minerals, were packed in boxes and transferred for storage to the cellars of the Leningrad Mining Institute, where 479 boxes containing about 80 thousand samples were sent. The exhibition samples from the museum showcases were also removed and placed in store cases of showcases, and partially packed in 275 boxes and transferred to the basement of the VSEGEI building. Large hand-made specimens remained in the halls of the museum, covered with special wooden caps. This time-consuming and painstaking work was carried out for two and a half months. In addition, from the wooden storage shed located in the courtyard of VSEGEI, some of the boxes with the collections went to cover the windows on the first floor of the building and about 2,500 boxes were taken to the outskirts of the city. Packing of collections, devices, equipment was carried out according to a detailed plan. Each exhibition theme, each separate collection was packed in boxes, on which the number of the showcase and the number of the exhibition window were placed, from where the samples were taken. Such a system of packaging after the end of the war made it possible to restore the expositions in the halls of the museum as soon as possible.
Efficient employees of the museum were mobilized for defense work, some of them were assigned to duty during air raids. In connection with wartime conditions, a significant change was made in the staff of the museum: starting from the middle of the 3rd quarter of 1941, some employees left Leningrad, some were mobilized into the Soviet Army, and part of the staff was reduced. The director of the museum, academician P.I. Stepanov, was summoned from Leningrad and P.N. was entrusted with the management of the museum. Varfolomeev.
By August 25, 1941, 27 of the 64 people on the staff of the museum remained, of which 7 were completely released from work in the museum, because. they were included in the MPVO teams and the VSEGEI fire brigade. Thus, the operational work of the museum was carried out by 20 employees, who, in addition, were on shift duty around the clock to protect museum property and inventory.
In difficult conditions, without heating and lighting, in the harsh winter of 1941-1942. employees continued their work. The conditions became more and more difficult, and the forces remained less and less. B.P. died of starvation and disease. Asatkin, N.A. Bashmakova, A.V. Belolikov, V.F. Belyavskaya, S.V. Bogolyubova, G. T. Weber, E.S. Vorobyov, K.G. Iossa, G.O. Mikhalyunas, V.N. Nikiforova, L.N. Peskova, A.V. Faas. Defending his native city, the guide A. T. Zakharov died at the front.
Museum halls in 1941-1942
During the period of shelling and bombing in December 1941, fragments from shells damaged the central domes of the building, partially the attic and glass ceilings of the central hall, about 40 windows were knocked out.
Broken windows were blocked up with plywood panels, the halls of the museum were gradually cleared of broken glass, crumbling plaster and debris. On April 24, 1942, as a result of artillery shelling, one of the large shells, breaking through the roof of the building, exploded in the attic. The huge area of the ceiling was destroyed, glass was broken in almost all windows and showcases of the central halls of the museum. The glass domes of the building were almost completely destroyed, which is why the halls of the museum suffered from rain and snow in the future. Every day I had to board up the windows with plywood, cardboard, remove dirt and debris from the parquet floors. More than 80 windows were boarded up.
By May 1942, 12 people remained on the staff of the museum: the oldest employees of the museum: P.N. Varfolomeev, acting director of the museum, T.E. Wolf, 3.D. Grigorieva, A.I. Evgenova, N.N. Lobasheva, M. I. Yakhontova - senior researchers, L.A. Istratova, T.M. Malchevskaya, K.A. Revunova, A.P. Soboleva - junior research fellows, N.A. Gusman, E.I. Polonskaya - accountants, V.P. Kumpan, A.N. Timofeeva, V.N. Nikiforova - collectors, A.G. Osipova - courier.
Despite the lack of forces, all the museum staff, in addition to performing their direct duties, participated in citywide work: the construction of defense structures in the vicinity of Leningrad, the arrangement of vegetable gardens, the preparation of firewood for the winter, and the cleaning of streets from snow. In addition, the staff conducted educational work: lectures were held mainly in the Naval Hospital No. 2. For the needs of the defense industry, all doublet collection material was systematically analyzed and samples of the required types of mineral raw materials were selected.
Shelling and bombing complicated and worsened the general condition of the museum premises: landslides and dampness had a destructive effect not only on the preservation of museum furniture, but also on certain types of collection materials, for example, salt collections, certain types of pyrite ores, fossil coals, etc.
The war caused significant damage to the museum, and during the years of restoration work, the employees of the museum, VSEGEI and the library, from which special teams were organized, began to heal these wounds. Tons of garbage, dirt, glass fragments, chunks of crumbling plaster, bricks were taken out of the offices, halls of the museum, the VSEGEI building and the library.
Start of restoration work, 1944
Skeleton restoration of a duckbilled dinosaur, 1945-1946
Some took out the garbage, others mastered the profession of glaziers and, suspended on cradles, glazed the domes of the building and the windows of offices and exhibition halls. Various specialties were mastered; everyone strove to quickly create at least minimal conditions for the performance of their direct duties. The first stage of work was completed, then, at the end of the war, special construction organizations completed the restoration of the museum building and premises.
Starting from September 1944, the staff of the museum was increased to 28 people. The "backbone" of the museum consisted of employees with long production experience who survived during the difficult years of the blockade.
In 1945, all collections were moved from the basements of the Mining Institute, checked and certified. It was found that only 35 boxes with collections perished during the war - about 7% of the total. Geological collection materials, card indexes, manuscripts and valuable publications stored in the cellars of VSEGEI have been fully preserved.
In the first post-war years, almost all expositions were restored in their pre-war appearance, for which it was necessary to look at more than 400,000 samples, write more than 20,000 exhibition labels and a thousand full houses, and prepare the appropriate graphics. On November 1, 1947, the TsNIGR Museum was reopened to the general public.
Unfortunately, Academician P.I. Stepanov, who had been in charge of the museum for about 30 years, was unable to return to museum activities due to deteriorating health, and in August 1947 he died. In his person, both the museum and domestic science have lost an outstanding organizer, a remarkable scientist and a highly professional expert in museum business.
In 1949 - early 1950, the museum was managed by Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences V.P. Rengarten. In April 1950, P.N. was appointed director. Varfolomeev. The scientific activity of the museum was directed by the museum council, which was headed in 1954-1962. stood Deputy Director of VSEGEI A.P. Markovsky.
In connection with the expansion of the geological knowledge of the country's territory and the accumulation of new factual material, it became necessary to re-plan the expositions of the regional department. In 1954, a working commission was established under the chairmanship of S.A. Muzylev, which included the leading specialists of VSEGEI - L.I. Borovikov, E.P. Bruns, V.N. Vereshchagin, N.P. Luppov, K.N. Paffengolts, A.P. Rotai, T.N. Spizharsky and others.
Renovation of expositions in the halls of regional geology
Updated expositions of the halls of minerals
The commission proposed a new scheme for the geological zoning of the country's territory, in accordance with which the existing collection material was redistributed and newly incoming collection material was located.
In the future, as new geological information became available, expositions on regional geology were updated one by one. K.N. Paffengolts, L.I. Red, B.P. Markovsky, P.K. Chikhachev, V.R. Martyshev, V.P. Nekhoroshev and other geologists of VSEGEI.
In 1959, a re-exposition of exhibitions was held on mineral deposits on a genetic basis; leading specialists of VSEGEI - P.M. Tatarinov, N.K. Morozenko, P.P. Borovikov, V.G. Grusheva, D.V. Rundkvist, N.N. Sarsadskikh, N.N. Kurek and others.