The Belarusian Culture Ministry operates 150 museums. Around 1,500 more museums were set up at secondary education facilities and centers of additional education for children and youth. The full list of Belarusian museums is available at.
The collections of 150 state-run museums hold more than 374,000 works of visual art. Some exhibits are on the State List of Historical and Cultural Values of the Republic of Belarus.
Leading art museums of Belarus
There are thirteen state art museums in Belarus. Moreover, a number of big museums have art museums and separate expositions in their structure.
The country’s leading art museum in terms of status and the variety of collections is the National Art Museum, the successor of the State Art Gallery of the BSSR and the State Art Museum of the BSSR. At present, this is one of the best art museums of Eastern Europe. It boasts more than 30,000 works, including extremely valuable collections of ancient Belarusian art, the Belarusian art of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Russian art of the 18th – 20th centuries, Western and Oriental art.
The branches of the National Art Museum are also of great interest. They include “The Wankowicz House. Culture and Art of the first half of the 19th century” in Minsk, the Museum of Belarusian Folk Art in the village of Raubichi, and the Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya Museum in Mogilev.
The National Center for Contemporary Arts is the country’s largest state facility that preserves and promotes Belarusian art of the late 20th – early 21st centuries. The holdings of the museum comprise more than 5,000 works that frequently go on display in Belarus and at prestigious exhibitions abroad.
The Vitebsk Modern Art Center was set up in 1998. Ever since it has preserved and developed the traditions of the Vitebsk art school which is associated with world famous artists Marc Chagall and Kazimir Malevich. One of the most cutting-edge exhibitions in the country was set up at the branch of the center, the Museum of the History of Vitebsk People's Art School that owes its fame to the UNOVIS avant-garde group of artists. The holdings of the Vitebsk Modern Art Center have more than 3,000 items.
The Maslenikov Mogilev Regional Art Museum dates back to 1990. In 1996, it was named after People’s Artist of the Republic of Belarus Pavel Maslenikov whose works laid the basis for the museum’s collection. There are more than 5,000 items in the holdings of the museum. Apart from Maslenikov’s works, they include works by Belarusian artists from the 17th century to the present day.
The Shklyarov Vetka Museum of Old Believers and Belarusian Traditions is the only museum in Belarus that focuses on the traditional culture of old believers from the southeast of Belarus. Its collections of old believers’ icons and applied art are unique in their fullness. As many as 243 items from the holdings of the museum were added to the State List of Historical and Cultural Values of the Republic of Belarus.
There are several monographic museums in Belarus. The Azgur Memorial Museum-Workshop was set up in Minsk in 1996. The famous sculptor’s workshop, turned into a museum, not only displays 283 works of the master, but also makes visitors familiar with Zair Azgur’s methods of work.
The Marc Chagall Museum opened in Vitebsk in 1991. It includes an art center and a museum estate where the artist spent his childhood and youth. The museum exhibits Marc Chagall’s graphic works and features a library with more than 6,000 books.
The country’s art museums not only preserve the cultural heritage of the nation, but also demonstrate treasures of the Belarusian art abroad and make Belarusians familiar with masterpieces of national and world culture.