‘No more than five visitors’: how Kazanorgsintez museum operating during pandemic

During the coronavirus pandemic, exhibitions in Russia as well as around the world are minimised. The traditional Museum Night this year was online. Museums of industrial enterprises have also changed the specifics of their operation. So the museum of Kazanorgsintez PJSC isn’t holding excursions for large groups anymore. Director of the museum Guzel Khaliullina told Realnoe Vremya about a unique collection of the Tatarstan petrochemical flagship, visitors of exhibitions and changes in the exposition by 2022.

Mrs Khaliullina, could you tell us who initiated the opening of the museum of Kazanorgsintez?

The museum opened on the territory of the enterprise on 5 November 1977 on the instruction of the factory management. Nazhiya Abdulkhakova chaired the initiative group, she worked then as the head of the central laboratory. Workers of the enterprise did a great job collecting material for the museum. The employees shared photographs with the staff of the enterprise. It was important to save the archive on the factory’s history, illustrate the achievements and results of the staff to new employees.

Where was the museum located?

A room in the administrative building on the territory of Orgsintez was given for the first museum. In 2003, employees of the Tatarstan National Museum and Museum Centre production and creative complex updated the exposition of the museum. In 2005, the exposition moved to the administrative building outside the enterprise. This helped to increase the number of visitors because there was no need to apply for a permit to access the territory of the company anymore.

What were the first exhibits of the museum?

Photos of the construction of plants. A photo of a clear field instead of which Kazanorgsintez is located now was the first image. Working surveyors are pictured in the photo.

How many exhibits does the collection of the museum have?

We have collected about 2,900 items. Mainly it is photos of milestones, documentaries, banners, awards, gifts given to the enterprise, samples of products manufactured by the company. Any worker can present the museum something. Mostly photos are shared. If they have a historical value, they show people who are important for the factory, we find a deserving place for them on the stands. We digitalise photos to save them for descendants.

What’s the most interesting exhibit in the museum?

It is the Order of the October Revolution. According to an order of the Panel of the Supreme Council of the USSR, the factory was awarded the Order of the October Revolution for the early performance of tasks of the five-year plan and socialistic obligations, achieved successes in expanding production capacities of chemicals on 8 January 1971. The factory was awarded Red Challenge Banners for accomplishments in a competition among enterprises of the Ministry of Chemical Industry. The Central Committee of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League awarded the factory’s Komsomol organisation a memorable Red Banner for active help in the construction, launch and mastering the production of chemicals.

What others exhibits arouse museum visitors’ interest?

The miniature of the factory interests many. Its colourful illumination attracts attention. Polyethylene granules, polyethylene pipes in different diameter, which are used for water, gas supply, can be seen in the museum.

Interactive museum by 2022

Who mainly visits the museum?

Workers of the enterprise and students of Kazan National Research Technological University, Kazan Federal University, Kazan State University of Culture and Arts, Professional Lyceum No. 79 and schoolchildren regularly visit the museum of history.

The International Museum Day was celebrated on 18 May. Did you plan any events by this day? How do you usually celebrate the birthday of the museum?

In 2019, a big reconstruction took place in the building of the history museum: the roof, ventilation system, air conditioning, security, fire alarm were replaced, a minor repair was done in the rooms. Now we prepare for the 45th anniversary of the museum, which will be in 2023. In 2020, we plan to create a new project on a multimedia exposition of the history museum of Kazanorgsintez PJSC with an original architectural and creative design. It will meet modern tendencies and principles of exposition creation. Planners are using the latest developments in multimedia and interactive technologies.

Technical equipment of the museum is selected to provide a chance to transmit all technical, historical, social aspects of the factory on the limited area of the museum.

How can citizens of Kazan who don’t work at Kazanorgsintez get to the museum?

If a visit of large groups is scheduled, it is necessary to submit a request in the name of the vice director general of HR and general affairs. Any person who wants to familiarise with the exhibits can visit the museum on working days, during working hours.

What has changed in the museum’s operation during the coronavirus pandemic?

We have suspended the reception of large excursion groups. No more than five people — in masks and gloves — can look over the exposition at the same time. We are also working with means of protection. We are doing wet cleaning indoors with disinfectants every two hours.

By Yekaterina Kharitonova. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov