Traveling companions of spacefarers: The Cosmonautics Museum opens the Dolls are not Toys exhibition

December 19, 2021

The Dolls are not Toys exhibition will be opened in the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics on December 23. It will show the first doll that was in space, stories will be told about the toys that space crews take on board, as well as about which astronauts inspire doll-makers. The exhibition is held in partnership with the Section of original dolls of the Creative Union of Artists of Decorative and Applied Arts.

"A toy for each of us is a time machine that takes us to the times of carelessness and happiness, when the New Year was one of the most desirable holidays. We were waiting for it holding breath and sincerely hoping for a miracle. It was this atmosphere that we tried to recreate at our exhibition, but, of course, we did it in relation to the space. Come and make this unique journey in space and time," said Tatiana Gevorkyan, Head of the Scientific and Exhibition Department of the Cosmonautics Museum.

The exhibition displays unusual original dolls, gives a chance to recall the flying away Olympic Bear and see his follower — wolf Zabivaka — the mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The First Doll in Space

The first toy to fly into space was a matryoshka doll. It belonged to the daughter of Sergei Korolev's friend Mariana Korneeva. Matryoshka made a flight to the Earth orbit in 1962 aboard the Vostok-3 spacecraft and returned to Earth together with Andriyan Nikolayev.

Back home, the cosmonaut returned the toy to the girl. And he gave Sergei Korolev a photo with a matryoshka doll on his arm with a commemorative inscription: "My "traveling companion" in space. 15.08.1962". This photo is an exhibit in the collections of the Cosmonautics Museum.

Mishka the Cosmonaut

Before the 1980 Olympics, it was decided to send its mascot, the Olympic Bear, into space. The Organizing Committee sent three "cosmonaut candidates" and a letter to NPO Energia with a request to make one of them a crew member. A bear created by Valeria Litvinova from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky was chosen for the flight. He received a ticket to space, passed a "medical examination" and even got a bag with the Olympic pennant inside it.

A new participant in the space flight was presented to the Soyuz-29 crew before launching the spacecraft. The bear caught the fancy of the astronauts and spent 140 days in orbit instead of a month planned. He was entrusted with an honorable mission — to meet the participants of the Intercosmos expedition with a tube of honey.

Weightlessness Indicators

Toys are real assistants at work for astronauts. Launching a spacecraft into orbit takes a little less than nine minutes, and then weightlessness occurs. Since astronauts are firmly strapped in at this moment, it is difficult to feel the moment of weightlessness. The first indicator of weightlessness was an ordinary pencil that Yuri Gagarin took with him into the spaceflight. The later idea was using a soft toy.

Each cosmonaut can take up to three indicators into space. They are attached to the control panel by an elastic band. Once the toy starts floating, it means that weightlessness has come. It also means that the spaceship entered orbit, we can congratulate each other and wait for the docking. The exhibition guests will see the weightlessness indicators of astronauts Roman Romanenko, Fyodor Yurchikhin, Ivan Wagner and Oleg Artemyev.

Space as Inspiration

A separate part of the exhibition is occupied by original dolls of masters from different regions of Russia, as well as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Spain. 46 doll-makers presented works in different techniques and from different materials. They created images of designers and astronautic science theorists, heroes of their favorite films, animated series and literary works. Among them are toylike Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Yuri Kondratyuk, Yuri Gagarin, Alexey Leonov, Valentina Tereshkova and other space legends.

The Dolls are not Toys exhibition will be open until April 12, 2022. To visit the Museum of Cosmonautics, you must show your QR code and ID.


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