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Home » News » Kul’ttovary – Bringing Culture into the Soviet Home Exhibition

Kul’ttovary – Bringing Culture into the Soviet Home Exhibition

Published October 2, 2017

The FSU Department of Art Education cordially invites students, faculty, and staff to discover Kul’ttovary: Bringing Culture into the Soviet Homean exhibition of Soviet cultural goods coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

Hosted by The Florida State Department of Interior Architecture and DesignKul’ttovary: Bringing Culture into the Soviet Home highlights how the Bolshevik government recognized the importance of sports, literacy, and the arts in building a new state and a new way of life following the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Communist Party’s first five-year plan set forth the twin goals of increasing the “cultural level” (“kul’turniy uroven”) of the urban and rural poor and connecting “cultural construction” (“kul’turnoye strioitelstvo”) with industrialization as mutual foundations of socialism. Through the 1920s and 1930s, tens of millions of peasants were relocated to cities and construction sites. Increasing their exposure to artistic and cultural activities was intended to raise self-esteem, inspire volunteerism, and encourage the discipline and accountability necessary for the Soviet planned economy.

The Russian term kul’ttovary translates roughly to “cultural goods.” Specified items, broadly available for purchase at affordable prices, would bring culture into workers’ and collective farmers’ homes. These were art supplies, radios, records and phonographs, musical instruments, sports equipment, photo cameras, and toys. For decades, each city or town had at least one retail store called “Kul’ttovary.” The kul’ttovary phenomenon was widespread in Russia from the late 1920s into the 1960s, at which point the previously ubiquitous Kul’ttovary stores yielded to shops with narrower specializations, consistent with broader changes in the Soviet retail industry. The objects selected for the exhibition were designed and manufactured in the USSR and are representative of the range of kul’ttovary common to almost every Soviet home.

Kul’ttovary: Bringing Culture into the Soviet Home was curated by Dr. Yelena McLane, a Specialized Faculty member in the Department of Interior Architecture and Design, and designed in collaboration with Interior Architecture and Design graduate students. The exhibit will be open September 28th through November 4th, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. in the William Johnston Building Gallery.


For more information, please contact Dr. Yelena McLane.