Culture ministry to reorganise museums, restore Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts

The museum venue will receive much-needed attention for its structural integrity, renovation and safeguarding of exhibits. Photo via Georgian National Museum., 22 Apr 2021 - 15:28, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia's newly appointed Minister of Culture, Sport and Youth Thea Tsulukiani has revealed her ministry's plans to restore the Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts as part of a reorganisation of the Georgian National Museum network.

The venue, housing some of the major exhibits including early Medieval religious iconography and accessories, items of historical architecture and monumental painting, will receive some much-needed attention 100 years after the founding of its original predecessor and seven decades after it found home in its current building in Tbilisi.

Speaking at a press conference at the museum on Tuesday, Tsulukiani called the announcement a "significant day for the culture ministry" and the project a "major generational endeavour". The minister's unveiling of the plan came as part of her announcement of a reshuffle of museums across the country.

'The Nativity', dated back to the 1090s from the Ateni Sion in East Georgia. Copy by S. Mirzashvili from 1936. Photo via Georgian National Museum.

Closed over the recent years due to the need of a major renovation, the move to restore its vaults will take "very significant human and financial effort", Tsulukiani told the press briefing while noting the scope of the venue in its past capacity of up to 140 thousand exhibits.

While the building housing the items will be the central point of the project - a "thorough study" of its structural sustainability is in the plan - its famous exhibits will also need to be verified by local and foreign professionals to determine if they can be moved safely.

The culture minister told local press UNESCO experts would visit Georgia before June to assess some of the most valuable historical icons from the vaults of the museum for effects of corrosion and other risks.

'Abstract Composition', a 1927 work by painter David Kakabadze found in vaults of the museum. Photo via Georgian National Museum.

Named after art historian and scientist Shalva Amiranashvili, the museum is part of the Georgian National Museum (GNM) network and houses exhibits of Georgian, Russian, European and Oriental culture, works of Georgian painters, items of jewellery craft and embroidery, and more.

As part of Tsulukiani's announcement of its reorganisation, the GNM will be split into four museum groups, with the Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery and the Sighnaghi Museum of History and Ethnography forming one of the clusters.

The Museum of Sports and the Giorgi Chitaia Museum of Ethnography will be organised separately, with the rest of the venues under GNM aegis grouped with the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia.

A four-person directorate will manage the new formations, with their work coordinated by the GNM Director General.