56 Shpalernaya street (metro station “Chernyshevskaya”)
From 10.00 to 19.00

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History

The exhibition “The Water World of St. Petersburg”, situated in the old Water Tower at 56 Shpalernaya Street, was opened in 2003. It was a present made by Vodokanal for the 300th anniversary of the Northern Capital.

Opening of the museum in the industrial facility embodied ideas to combine the old and the new, the functional and the art. The Water Tower building creates conditions for perception of the museum exposition in close connection with the city industrial environment, its specific aesthetics, its cultural tradition. However, continuance of traditions includes not only keeping strict St. Petersburg style and reconstructing historical interior but also the history of the museum creation.

While designing the future museum, a drawing of 1929 was found in the Water Tower at the Main WTP with the inscription: “Former museum building”. It means that there was a museum in this building before. After the long archive search it was found that the proposal of E.A. Ganneken, Manager of Water Networks, to create a special museum was reviewed during the technical meeting of St. Petersburg Water Pipelines Company on November 8, 1900. The museum should have been “a help for water network development and better illustration of history and state of water supply activity in terms of operation in the capital”. The exhibition was supposed to collect samples of different items used for building and operation of water networks; samples of unusual damages at the networks and house pipelines; water treatment methods, drawings, models, machinery and also “everything related to the history of establishment and operation of water networks in St. Petersburg in general”.

On 11 June 1901, S.P. Pyata, Chief Mechanical Engineer, represented to the Manager of Water Networks “a short list of manuals and patterns which are desirable to be in the museum” in order to popularize water business, to train new and young technicians and students of some educational institutions visiting the Main WTP on annual basis.

On 12 June E.A. Ganneken, Manager of Water Networks, offered to locate a museum on the third floor of the Water Tower (it was not used for its direct purpose from the beginning of the ХХ century) at the meeting of the City Executive Commission for Water Supply.

On 19 January 1902, Ganneken gave an order to the Chief Mechanical Engineer “to take measures in order to prepare the building for the museum of St. Petersburg Water Networks by February this year”. Next year, four cabinets, four showcases, a writing desk and a desk for drawings were in the list of the museum property. The documents confirming continuous development of the museum collection can be found in the archives. When Mr. Ganneken, Manager of Water Networks, retired in 1910, the correspondence related to the museum was reduced and then it was stopped completely in a year. It is only known that in July 1911 the Technician R.I. Khmelevskiy took the responsibility for the museum instead of the Engineer R. Rose.

In 20-ies – beginning of 30-ies of the ХХ century, the city Museum of Housing and Utilities Infrastructure with a section dedicated to water supply and wastewater disposal was situated in Anitchkov Palace (then the Palace of Pioneers was opened there). Nobody knows where the exhibits of the former city water networks museum disappeared. They could not be found in St. Petersburg museum funds...

A new exhibition “The Water World of St. Petersburg” was opened in the Water Tower in 2003. One more exhibition “The Underground World of St. Petersburg” appeared in the left annex to the Tower.

In 2006, at the International Forum of European Museums held on 10-14 May in Portugal, the Water World of St. Petersburg was awarded the title of “the European Museum 2006” and was marked very high for “its great achievements in the raising of social significance of museum collections”. The museum officially represents Russia in the European Association of Water Museums.

St. Petersburg Vodokanal opened one more exhibition “The Universe of Water” in five years after the museum opening in the Water Tower in 2008. The first visitors were able to get familiar with the exhibition when Vodokanal celebrated its 150th anniversary. “The Universe of Water” is also located in the industrial building - the former clean water reservoir of the Main WTP.

E.A. Ganneken, Manager of St. Petersburg water networks

S.P. Pyata, Chief Mechanical Engineer

Main Water Treatment Plant, at the turn of XIX-XX centuries

Water Tower today