Online and offline culture: what was 2021 like for the capital's institutions

January 13

The coronavirus pandemic made adjustments to activities of the capital's cultural institutions. They had to reshape their work and pay more attention to the online format. Meanwhile, the city actively supported organizers of cultural leisure providing financial assistance. For example, in the first half of 2021 alone, Moscow museums received over 400 million rubles of the budget funding to cover life-sustaining expenses. These funds, among other things, allowed organizations to save jobs during quarantine and continue scientific activities. Representatives of two Moscow museums spoke about how they managed to cope with difficulties and adapt to the new reality, as well as about plans for the near future.

Coverage expansion and new projects

The Museum of Moscow changed to online mode in 2020.


Thanks to online events, the coverage of the institution in social media almost doubled: in 2021, about a million people followed the museum's events on Facebook and Instagram.


“The total number of the museum's page views on its own resources and on the partners’ resources also increased — in 2020 about six million people watched and read us, and in 2021 the figure was close to seven million. The size of our online partner projects also increased along with the coverage expansion. Within the framework of such a project in 2020 we recorded city tours for a YouTube channel, and in 2021 we released a film dedicated to the legacy of VKhUTEMAS (Higher Art and Technical Workshops) in one of online cinemas,” Anna Trapkova shared the information with us.

According to her, despite all the difficulties associated with the pandemic, the museum continued scientific and fund works.

“Of course, the extra-budgetary income decreased — we could not hold mass events. However, thanks to assistance extended by the Moscow Department of Culture, we keep the number of jobs and the level of salaries at the same level as they were before the coronavirus pandemic,” Anna Trapkova said.

The museum also received money for scheduled repairs. Supported by the Moscow Department of Culture the institution began to cooperate with the Praktika Theater in summer of 2021. Two museum premises — the auditorium in the third building and the entire second building — were transformed into modern theater spaces. Several premiers have already been performed here.

It is planned to open the main display in the third building of the museum, where the History of Moscow for Children and Adults exhibition is currently running, that covers the period up to the early 18th century. The new display will show the entire history of the city: from the moment of its foundation to the 20th century. The opening is scheduled for the end of the first half of 2022. And today visitors can see the Remove the Stuffed Fox exhibition — about the of Soviet local history museums formation. It is open until March 20. In addition, everyone can visit the Moscow: Designing the Future exhibition. The display introducing the audience to the landmark ideas and city sites, will be open until May 14.

Baby boom and online popularity

The Moscow Zoo also faced considerable difficulties during the pandemic. For the first time ever, it was closed to visitors.


The staff was fast to reorganize methods of work: lectures, educational programs, excursions, animal observations and exhibitions were adapted to online format. This allowed the Zoo to save the audience and continue the dialogue with visitors.

“We were able to launch our own production of videos with stories about zootechnical work, about animals as such and other aspects of the institution's activities. And now the number of video views exceeds the number of real visitors by over 10 times. In particular, we built partnership with the media center of the Moscow Department of Transport. The Zoo participates in the formation of news feed broadcasting on monitors of the Moscow metro carriages and ground transport,” Svetlana Akulova said.

The quarantine period also brought good news to the Zoo: in absence of visitors many animals produced offspring. Many Zoo inhabitants listed in the Red Book — Amur tigers, bush dogs, Przewalski's horses, wolverines, Humboldt penguins, flamingos, black storks, horned ravens — gave birth to baby animals and birds.

And the scientific department continued research aimed at improving the welfare of the captive-born animals. Using unique experience of isolation, the staff began to study the effect of quarantine on behavior of their animals.

As for financial assistance from the Moscow Government, these funds were used to cover the Zoo's loss of income, as well as to pay salaries to employees, purchase animal feed, and maintain the property and territory of the institution. Speaking about the Zoo's plans for the near future, Svetlana Akulova said about a new exhibition of venomous snakes to be opened in the old territory. Moreover, the Zoo will be replenished with new inhabitants — wild Kiangi donkeys and Poitou donkeys, cheetahs, walruses, sea lions and sea hare will settle here soon. A new entrance through the Barricadnaya metro station, a pedestrian bridge and the Pinnipeds pavilion complex will also be put into operation.


If you continue to use our website, you are agreeing to accept the use of cookies on your device. Cookie files ensure the website’s efficiency and help us provide you with the most interesting and relevant information. Read more about cookie files.
Accept ccokies