The Novgorod Museum Reserve was founded in 1865 and is one of the oldest museum centers in Russia. It includes nearly all museums and churches opened for visiting in Novgorod the Great and its environs. Its most interesting expositions are in the center of the Novgorod Kremlin, in the building of public offices.
The building was constructed in 1781. Originally, it was intended for the governors of Novgorod governorate. But since 1809 it housed the public offices of various state bodies of the governorate. Later, the building also housed the Cadet Corps of Count Arakcheyev.
Several museum rooms are devoted to artifacts found on the territory of the ancient Novgorod Republic, as well as the history of Novgorod the Great since the time of its foundation by prince Rurik. There are a lot of interesting exhibits at the museum: stones with petroglyphs carved by ancient people, birchbark manuscripts, stone crosses of the early Middle Ages, weapons, utensils and many other things.
Several rooms of the museum are devoted to the exposition «Russian Icon» where you can see the works of Novgorod icon painters of 11-19 centuries. The most ancient and valuable icons include the icon of the apostles Peter and Paul (11 century) from the Cathedral of St. Sophia, the first signed Russian icon of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Maker (13 century), the icon of Sts. Boris and Gleb (14 century).
By all means should you visit the rooms devoted to the Novgorod wood carving. There you can see wood-carved crosses, as well as figures of Jesus Christ and saints