The Museum of the Theatre
The Opera Theatre Museum
The archive-museum depository in the Caravanserai Theatre, which was opened in 1851, was destroyed during the fire in 1874. There was an archive-museum fund of the same kind in the so-called “Treasury Theatre” (the building of the Opera House of today). In 1950 the depository was given an official status of a museum and Nunu Meskhi became its first director. After the fire in 1973 the museum exhibits were destroyed once more. In 1978 after the repairs the museum was placed on the 5th floor in the great hall, which at the same time was a depository, an exhibition hall and an office. During the years a lot of opera lovers made donations of exhibits to the museum and partially filled the shortage caused by the fire. Like all other museums, the Opera Museum has three functions mainly: that of archive-fund, of exhibition-exposition and scientific-educational. Quite a big and versatile fund is divided and put in order according to profile (opera, ballet), thematic (concerts, jubilees, tours, festivals), varieties of exhibits (posters, programs, booklets, photos, negatives, pictorial and graphic works, presents, sketches, a small library of books and magazines, personal files of former and current actors, memorial things, costumes and so on) and chronologically – according to seasons and years. In 2005-2015 about 40 exhibitions were put on dedicated to the opening or closing of the season, new performances, the famous opera and ballet actors, composers, choreographers, jubilee dates, premieres, New Year and gala concerts. The Museum took part in the exhibitions and projects of other organizations, collaborated with the operas of Scotland, Norway, Estonia and so on.
The Museum organizes a lot of excursions for foreign sightseers, for various organizations as well as for schools, college students or for individuals. The Museum takes part in children’s educational programs. It offers services to the opera theatre personnel and departments, consults, gives information and visual material to mass media, radio and television and individual representatives of the society, the authors of books, collections, films, to dissertation writers, teachers and students. In 2010 because of the repairs in the opera house the museum fund was temporarily placed in the State Museum of Theatre, Cinema, Music and Choreography to which with proper documentation a part of the theatre museum fund material was given (i.e. part of the material damaged or difficult to protect in the conditions of departmental museum). Part of the archive material preserved in the museum funds was given to the newly created archive in the opera theatre. In spite of the fact that the museum fund was partially closed, the museum continued doing its work in the three directions even during the years of repairs.
Now the Museum is placed in two rooms of the opera theatre. One is an office for the employees of the opera museum and archive, the other is a depository for museum and archive funds.
For the opening of the renewed opera, the Museum prepared four exhibitions dedicated to the new performances of the opera “Abesalom and Eteri” and of the ballet “Gorda” and to the history of the building of the theatre. In specially made niches memorial things belonging to the well-known persons were displayed. The Museum is also getting ready to join in the new educational program.
Since 2005 Rusudan Daushvili has been the director of the Opera Theatre Museum.