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New exhibition marking 100 years since the death of Russia's last Tsar opens at the Science Museum

  • 2018 marks 100 years since the murder of the Romanov family, the last rulers of Russia
  • Featuring rare artefacts never seen on public display in the UK, the exhibition will explore the huge influence of medicine on the Romanov family
  • The exhibition will also reveal the science behind solving one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century 
  • The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution runs from 21 September 2018 – 24 March 2019

21 September 2018 – 24 March 2019
Free, ticketed
sciencemuseum.org.uk/thelasttsar

Associate Sponsor: JSC Russian Railways 
Media Partner: The Telegraph 

The Science Museum today opens its new exhibition The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution. Investigating the role of science in the lives and deaths of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, this exhibition takes visitors behind the scenes of one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century. 

Set against a turbulent backdrop of social upheaval and war between 1900 and 1918, The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution will explore the significant influence of medicine on the private lives of the imperial family during this period and the advances in medicine and forensic science over 70 years later that transformed the investigation into their sudden disappearance.

Four objects from the exhibition The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution

Rare artefacts, including the family’s personal diaries, private possessions and jewellery found at the scene of their murder, and two Imperial Fabergé Easter Eggs presented by the Tsar to his wife just a year before the fall of the imperial house, will help bring the personal lives of autocrat Nicholas II and his family to life. For the first time, photographic albums created by an English tutor to the Tsar’s nephews, and now part of the Science Museum Group collection, will be on public display, providing a fascinating glimpse into the daily lives of the Romanov family. 

From the treatment of their only son and heir Alexei’s life-threatening haemophilia B, a rare blood condition and infamous ‘royal disease’ passed down from Queen Victoria, to the Tsarina’s fertility and the Red Cross medical training of the Tsar’s daughters, this exhibition will explore the imperial family’s contrasting reliance on both the latest medical discoveries of the time as well as traditional and spiritual healers. The family’s determination to keep Alexei’s illness a secret compelled them to take controversial measures that ultimately contributed to the fall of the 300-year-old dynasty. 

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, said:

“This exhibition marks 100 years since the end of the Romanov dynasty and explores one of the most dramatic periods in Russian history, all through the unique lens of science. Our curatorial team have brought together an exceptional, rare and poignant collection to tell this remarkable story. I want to thank all our lenders in the UK, Russia and America for making this exhibition possible.” 

The investigation into the disappearance of Tsar Nicholas II, his family and entourage following the revolutions of 1917, started in July 1918 and the case remains open today. One hundred years later, this exhibition will take visitors behind the scenes to uncover the science behind the investigation into one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century.  

Visitors will be able to examine evidence from the scene of the execution – from the dentures of the imperial physician, a single diamond earring belonging to the Tsarina, to a chandelier from the house where the family were executed – and delve into the remarkable modern forensic investigation which set out to piece together the events of that night. 

This investigation was one of the first occasions that forensic DNA analysis was used to solve a historic case, involving the best British experts under the direction of Dr Peter Gill from the Forensic Science Service.  Blood samples from relatives and advances in DNA profiling and 3D reconstruction helped to positively identify the remains of the imperial family and enabled the investigation to reach convincing conclusions. 

The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution will open on Friday 21 September 2018. For further information and to book free tickets visit the Science Museum website.

Ends

For press information, interviews and images please contact Robert James in the Science Museum Press Office on 020 7942 4401 or email robert.james @sciencemuseum.ac.uk 

Notes to Editors 

The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution
21 September 2018 – 24 March 2019
Free, ticketed
sciencemuseum.org.uk/thelasttsar
@ScienceMuseum 
#thelasttsar

Image captions and credits:
1.    Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna’s maternity dress, 1903–1904, The State Hermitage Museum
2.    Steel Easter Egg, 1916, The Moscow Kremlin Museums
3.    Radiograph of Emperor Nicholas II. Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A Countway Library of Medicine
4.    Nicholas II Forensic Facial Reconstruction, 1994, c. Sergey A. Nikitin 

About the Science Museum

As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement.  For more information about the Science Museum visit  sciencemuseum.org.uk.

Associate Sponsor: JSC Russian Railways

Russian Railways is one of the world’s largest railway companies, transporting passengers and freight across Russia and internationally. It operates one of the world's largest railway systems, with a total length of 85,300 km, including 43,400 km of electrified lines. The company provides 45.5% of the entire Russian transport system cargo turnover (and 87% excluding pipelines), handling over 1.2 billion tonnes of cargo every year, as well as 1.1 billion passenger journeys. It has strong financial ratings, significant international experience, and a very large scientific and engineering base of expertise.

Exhibition Media Partner: The Telegraph

The Telegraph’s mission is to provide content that inspires people to have the perspective they want to progress in life. It delivers quality, trusted, award-winning journalism, 24 hours a day, across its digital and print properties as well as through leading digital partners.

Founded in 1855, The Telegraph has built a diversified commercial model, with equal strength in advertising, subscriptions and circulation, commerce, and events. In 1994, The Telegraph launched an online offering, the first UK publisher to do so. The launch in 2016 of a freemium digital subscriptions model, with clearly defined open and premium content, has enhanced its ability to offer both scale and engagement to support this diversified approach.

The Telegraph’s portfolio includes The Telegraph website and app, The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph print titles, and The Telegraph Edition app which offers a digital replication of the newspapers.
21.7 million Britons consume content across the portfolio monthly, with a growing global digital audience through 89 million browsers a month enjoying The Telegraph’s perspective on the world. Additionally, The Daily Telegraph is the UK’s bestselling quality broadsheet newspaper.
*NRS PADD December 2016. Adobe Analytics, February 2017.

About Discover South Kensington

Discover South Kensington brings together the Science Museum and other leading cultural and educational organisations to promote innovation and learning. South Kensington is the home of science, arts and inspiration. Discovery is at the core of what happens here and there is so much to explore every day. discoversouthken.com