The Romanovs: Legacy of an Empire Lost

Closing soon: In the modern imagination, the Romanovs are a family defined by their grisly murder in an Ekaterinburg basement in July 1918. Czar Nicholas II, who died there with his wife, children and servants, was Russia's last royal ruler, but not the only Romanov of note. The dynasty included Peter I the Great, who transformed a Baltic swamp into St. Petersburg, the Venice of the North; Catherine II the Great, whose cultured court dazzled all Europe, and Alexander II, a 19th-century reformer who was assassinated before his liberal ideas took root. Mounted for the 400th anniversary of the dynasty's founding, "The Romanovs" gathers more than 200 rare historical objects — china, books, letters, paintings, photos, clothing — that weave the family's story into the country's history. Most things have never been previously shown in the United States, including coronation dinner menus, family photos and even Anastasia's petticoat. Excerpts of Romanov home movies alone are worth a special trip as they show Anastasia and other royals at pomp and play — riding in parades, hunting, roller skating on the royal yacht. (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.; 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sun. $9 adults. Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Av. S., Mpls. Ends March 23. 612-821-9045 or

Mary Abbe