Museum of Lace (Музей кружева)

The lacemaking in the Vologda Region began to develop dynamically in the XIX century. Primarily it was the craft of the women from not very rich families in Vologda. Women weaved lace and put it up for sale. The lacemaking wasn’t the primary source of income, but it allowed urban low-income families to earn some money. But there were the people who had the lacemaking as the livelihood.

In 1840-1850th, craftswoman Anfia Fyodorovna Bryantseva opened a new method of plaiting, which was named the Vologodsky manner. Her daughter Sofia Petrovna Bryantseva had been teaching this original method to all interested people, including the young ladies and the lassies from the villages. Sofia Bryantseva taught to make the lace more than 800 people; next, the alumnae conveyed their knowledge further.

The Vologodsky manner progressed under the influence of fashion trends by efforts of the Bryantsevs family. Vologda lace was the only one in Russia that, at one time, caused such a lively trade. It became a symbol of Russian lace, and craftswomen of other lace centers in Russia sometimes sold their lace under the guise of “Vologda”.

In the 1860s, everyone in Vologda weaved lace. Older women weaved, young women weaved, and even girls of 5-7 years old sat for bobbins. In the villages, lace craft began to spread very quickly from the 1870s, and by the beginning of the XX century, there were already about 16 thousand families employed in it. In the village, they were engaged in lacework for 7-8 months a year (that is, time, except for fieldwork). Usually, each did the work at home; sometimes, the women gathered to brighten up the work time by conversations.

Craftswomen bought material for weaving from buyers, who also purchased the ready-made lace from masters. The earnings of lacemakers were meager.

By the end of the XIX century, the Vologda lace craft developed so much that it became the largest in the country. Peasant women willingly switched to this occupation because low yields of flax and cheap factory fabrics that had penetrated the countryside reduced the sale of linen and canvas products.

The village worked more productively than the city, being content with lower wages, lowering the already low prices of urban lacemakers. In 1880-1890, the lace craft in the city gradually faded away, while in the villages, it was rapidly developing.

Urban lacemakers gradually abandoned this craft when it became extremely unprofitable and switched to better paid urban professions. While the peasant women had nowhere to go, they continued to work hard for many hours to earn a living, barely making ends meet.

The Lace Museum was opened in Vologda in 2010. The exposition of the museum is dedicated to the traditional folk craft of the Vologda Territory and the world tendencies of lacemaking in the XIX-XX centuries.

The exposition of the museum is located in a historical monument – a city estate of the 19th century. The two-story manor house is the largest civil building on Kremlin Square. At different times, the building housed various institutions, the longest – the Vologda branch of the State Bank.

Museum collection

• Lace in cult objects of the XVII-XIX centuries

• Lace in peasant costume and ethnographic textiles

• Lace products of 1920-1940s years

• Lace centers in Europe and Russia • Author’s works of artists of the association “Snowflake”

Open hours and price

Wednesday – Sunday from 10.00 to 17.30

Days off Monday, Tuesday

Ticket price 120 rubles

How to get to the Museum of Lace

Vologda, Kremlyovskaya Ploshchad, 12

In the Russian language – Вологда, Кремлевская площадь, 12


The Museum of Lace website in the Russian language

We recommend visiting nearby

Vologda Kremlin 0.25 km walking


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