The Museum reserve began to take shape in March 1920, when the Commission of custody over the monuments of art and culture at Hrodna Provincial Administration undertook searching and collectiing monuments of history and culture for the State Museum. The Museum collection was very diverse: ancient tile, products of Hrodna manufactories, portraits of kings and magnates, paintings on religious themes, icons, carpets in the technique of double weaving, folk belts, Porazava black smoked ceramics, documents of the XV – XVII-th centuries, books of the XV – XIX-th centuries. The Archaeological collection was even then distinguished from others. During World War II a part of the collection was looted.
In the postwar period the subjects of acquisition expanded with materials about the events of the twentieth century wars, famous countrymen, representatives of science, culture, industry of our region. The collections of the city Museum of nature were included in the museum funds.
The Museum collection is intensively replenished by the materials of archaeological research, works of fine art, rare editions. The Fund collections cover the entire spectrum of local studies. The monuments of history and culture of Central and Western Europe are also stored here.
The main reserve of the Museum keeps over 188,000 items, the auxiliary scientific one – more than 30,000 units. The Museum fund contains 54 collections.
The Fund of archeology constitutes the fifth part of the Museum’s collection. It consists of five collections: “Archaeology of the Stone and Bronze Ages,” “Archaeology of the Iron Age”, “Archaeology of the Middle Ages”, “Archaeology of the New Age”, “Archaeological Documentation”. The majority of the fund presents the materials of archaeological excavations in Hrodna region: the stone tools from different locations of Paniamonne (the territory of the Nioman basin), the objects from settlement Garanj excavations, from the excavations on the Castle Hill and near Kalozha, or Barys and Hleb Church in Hrodna, from the burial mounds of Kreva, Lida and Mir Castles. Apart from the local materials the fund collection includes the items from Druskeninkay (Lithuania), Augustava, Surazh, Suwalki (Poland), a few finds from Pompeii and Carthagen, stone arrowheads and spears from North America.
The Ethnography section presents the following collections: “Ethnographic clothing and footwear”, “Ethnographic instruments for work”, “Ethnographic household tools and dishes”. The collections preserve men’s and women’s shirts of linen embroidered with black and red pattern, aprons, skirts, woolen skirts, vests, namitki (special linen head-dresses), scarves, caps, kerchiefs, agricultural tools and others. Significant place (more than 60 units) is given to the woven towels of Hrodna region (late XIX-th – mid XX-th centuries), which are found in almost all types of weaving and interknitting, characteristic to the Belarusian weaving on the handloom.
The following collections: “Numismatics”, “Bonistics”, “Faleristiсs” are included in the Numismatic fund. The collection “Numismatics” displays the coins of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of the XV – XVIII-th centuries, the Russian coins of the XVI – early XX-th centuries and the ones of the Soviet Union, 19 coin stashes found in Hrodna and Hrodna voblast. The collection “Bonistics” covers the period from the banknotes of Tadevush Kastyushka uprising times to the modern money and consists of the banknotes of the Russian Empire, Poland, Germany, the USSR and the Republic of Belarus.
The collection “Weapons and ammunition” presents the swords of the X –XVI-th centuries from the Old Russian and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania periods, the spears, broadswords and cutlasses of the XVII – XX-th centuries from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish- Lithuanian Commonwealth, Western Europe, the Russian Empire, the East; guns, mortars, rifles and pistols of different systems and the times of production of Polish, West-European, the Russian Empire and the United States’ origin, as well as the weapon of the First and Second World Wars and others.
The fund “Prints” includes such collections as “Rare books”, “Rare periodicals”, “Hand-written books”, “Publishing sheet”. These editions of the XV-XXI-th centuries are in Latin, Greek, Old German, Old Church Slavonic, Polish, French, Belarusian, Russian and other European languages. Among the most valuable items there are 3 incunabulas and 2 paleotypes.
The collection “Documents” is rich in manuscripts in Old Belarusian, Polish, Latin and other languages, on paper and on parchment. Among them one can find the Privileges of Grand Dukes of Lithuania and Polish kings – Sigismund the Old, Stefan Batory, Uladzislaw IV Vasa, August II and others. The earliest document is the Act of 1507 signed by Aliaksandr Jagiellonchyk.The significant bulk of documents contains the family archives dated by the XVI-XX-th centuries of the Azhahovskiya, the Pachobuts, the Ahinskiya, princes Chatviartinskiya; the private acts of nobility and burghers of the XV-early XX-th centuries. and their contemporary copies, private letters, the letters of municipal and guild authorities, the inventories of churches of different confessions, monasteries and nunnies.
The collection “Manuscripts” is of significant value as it consists of the letters and diaries written by Belarussian writers Vasil Bykaw, Mikhas Vasiliok, Piatro Hlebka, Jakub Kolas, Larysa Heniyush, Maxim Tank, Yanka Mawr, Vasil Tawlay, Danuta Bichel-Zahnetava, by Polish author Eliza Azheshka and others. The local lore notes about the history of Hrodna, Vilnia and other localities of Hrodna region by the Museum’s founder Yazep Yadkowsky are of great interest.
Fotofund presents lots of pictures of almost all of Hrodna Photo Workshops of the end of XIXth and the beginning of the XXth centuries which belonged to I.G.Zapolski – Downar, L.Kazlowsky, I.I.Sadowsky, Z.Karasik, M.Rubinshteyn, K.Marawsky, L.M.Gelgor. The photoes that tell about the history of Hrodna, the historical events that took place in it, about the wonderful people of Hrodzenshchyna, family photoes сonstitute the bulk of it: these are the archives of the Bahdanovichy, Liokanty, Kaladzinskiya families, of Raman Salavey, Isaac Kapitsa and others.
In the art collections Western European black-and-white art of the XVII – XX-th centuries and copper casting of the XVI – XIX-th centuries are represented. The collection “Painting” contains the works by V.Mazurowsky, Yu.Klever, L.Lagoryo, R. Falk, K.Malevich, by Belarusian artists P.Sergievich, V.Tsvirka, L. Shchamialiow, A. Marachkin, K.Kachan, I.Pushkow, M.Pluzhnik, V.Savitsky, V.Shcharbakow, V.Kudrawtsaw, U.Holub, A.Bahustaw, M.Bandarchuk, U.Kachana, V.Ilina, S.Yankowsky, S.Grynevich, A.Silvanovich et al. The pride of the collection “Graphics” are the works by A.Van Dyck. The collection “Icons” presents the icons of the XVII – early XX-th centuries, painted mostly by Russian painters of Nowgarad, Moscow, Smalensk, Rastow-Suzdal Schools. The collection “Arts and Crafts” keeps some product samples of the largest porcelain manufactories in Germany (Mason, Berlin), Russia (the Imperial Porcelain Factory, Gardner’s factory). The special sash from Yan Paskhalis workshop in Lipkava (near Warsaw) and the liturgical vessels of the XVII-XVIII-th centuries are obviously valuable articles.
The Natural History fund presents five collections: “Vertebrates” (bisons, a polar bear, saiga antelopes, chimpanzees, a lion, a marabou, a demoiselle, crocodiles, an iguana, etc.). “Invertebrates” (mollusks, butterflies and exotic local beetles and crustaceans), “Plants” (herbaria and dummies), “Geology” (rocks, minerals), “Paleontology” (imprints of plants on coal, fossil mollusks prints in rocks, bones of a mammoth and a woolly rhinoceros). The funds of Nature department were formed originally from the collection St.Zhywna who brought it from America (1924) and the materials from the former Hrodna Museum of Nature .
Such Museum collections as “Household Personal Things and Household Utensils”, “Maps and Plans”, “Posters and Bills”, “Musical Instruments”, “Postcards” and others impress with their quality.