The National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus (the State Art Gallery from 1939 till 1957, the State Art Museum from 1957 till 1993) – the largest collection of the Belarusian and foreign art within the country – is located in the centre of Minsk, at Lenin Street, 20. More than thirty thousand works of art – creating twenty miscellaneous collections and comprising two main representative ones: the one of national art and the other of monuments of art of the countries and nations of the world – can be found on exposition, at the branches of the Museum and its depositories.
The Museum’s official history begins on January, 24 in 1939 when under the Resolution of the Council of People’s Commissars of the BSSR the State Art Gallery has been created in Minsk. It was located in the fifteen halls of the Highest Communist Agricultural School’s edifice.
As a result of the Declaration of Independence of Belarus and right after the collapse of the Soviet Union (the USSR), the Museum’s status and its cultural policy were thoroughly changed: since 1993 the Museum has been called the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus.
In the 1990s the Museum has been a large scientific, cultural and educational centre of Belarus. Since 1994 the Museum has kept its own archive; since 1989 it also houses the restoration workshops with a numerous staff of the restorers – professional specialists in different spheres. The rich library funds of the Museum are being constantly enriched with the latest special-purpose literature.
In 1999 the problems concerning the exhibition areas of the Museum were partly solved: in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Republic the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus came into possession of a neighbouring five-storeyed building at Lenin Str., 22.
In 2000 another one Museum’s branch was opened in Minsk for the audience – “The Vankoviches’ House. Culture and Art of the first half of the 19th century”.
A museum is not only pictures and canvases, but it is also represented by people. It is due to their efforts that new masterpieces are being created, exhibitions are being organized, books and catalogues are being published, and works of art are being preserved, restored and advertised to the public. Nowadays the Museum has a staff of more than two hundred people.
Like any living creature, the Museum is continuously growing by enlarging its funds. The collection of the prerevolutionary Russian and Belarusian, of West-European, of Oriental, and of the Soviet Belarusian art nowadays includes more than 30 thousand works of art.
The Museum has entered the 21st century having excellent prospects of its further development and conversion into the largest exhibition complex in the Republic with a considerable research potential and restoration resources.