Magazine article ROM Magazine

Well Prepared: A ROM Staffer's Journey from Russia's Hermitage to Here

Magazine article ROM Magazine

Well Prepared: A ROM Staffer's Journey from Russia's Hermitage to Here

Article excerpt

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ROM Senior Preparator Oleg Sokruto emigrated from Russia in 2004 with his wife and son. Life in Russia, they felt, was becoming increasingly unstable. With corruption and criminality on the rise, the rule of law weak, and medical and educational services crumbling, "we saw that, in our lifetimes, we would not see positive change. We decided to establish ourselves in a new place," Oleg says now. They came to Canada.

He considers himself lucky to be here and, indeed, to have found work at the ROM without too much difficulty. Job hunting was new to him. "In Soviet Russia, we didn't have a problem looking for jobs. Jobs were looking for us."

While still in Russia, Oleg had been chief project architect at the renowned State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. "The Hermitage Museum is very different from the ROM. There, the project architect does everything--from design, to project management, even the installations. At the ROM, you have a structure where different departments divide the responsibilities." The biggest exhibition he worked on was a celebration of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, encompassing more than 800 artifacts, a massive undertaking. As part of his work at Hermitage Museum, he arranged showcases and installed oil paintings, sculptures, archaeological finds, costumes, and furniture for 250 national and international museum exhibitions.

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Now, a senior preparator at the ROM, Oleg was the lead in setting up the spectacular Mesopotamia: Inventing our World exhibition currently underway.

Despite his years of experience, Oleg and his team encountered a new challenge during the installation: The wall relief depicting the Battle of Til-Tuba comprises three large panels: one panel weighing "only" 700 kilograms, the other two tipping the scales at more than 1,800 kilograms each. …

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