Golden Khokhloma Museum, Semyonov

Golden Khokhloma Museum near Semyonov, Russia celebrates the unique national handicraft which helped to place Semyonov on the map. Today, this tourist complex attracts admirers of traditional Russian handicrafts from all over the world.

Wooden products decorated with the festive Khokhloma design, distinguished by its bold tones of red, black, gold and green and intricate depictions of natural patterns, are recognized the world over. While widely regarded as a general trademark of Russia, Khokhloma is created almost exclusively in the Volga Region, including Semyonov.

The key elements of golden Khokhloma paintings, including ornamentation, choice of colors and technical secrets, were well established by the end of the 19th century. As the art of golden Khokhloma developed in Semyonov in the late 19th-early 20th centuries, it elevated the obscure village near Nizhny Novgorod to national recognition. The magnificent products painted by Semenov artists are distinguished from Khokhloma of other towns by their brightly gilded drawings that depict the beauty of Russian nature. Especially popular among local artists is the image of a wriggling twig which is applied to a gilded background.

In February 2009, Golden Khokhloma Museum and Tourist Center opened in one of Russia’s largest centers for artistic wood painting, the famous Golden Khokhloma Factory. The museum, located inside a fairy-tale mansion, introduces visitors to the history of Khokhloma and of Semyonov. Visitors can tour three halls which trace the evolution of the craft through displays of unique 18th-21st century Khokhloma items, award-winning painted products and exhibits honoring respected artists in the region.

Visitors are particularly delighted with the unique and luxurious Royal Room, which contains paintings depicting scenes from various stories, a large collection of hand-carved dining utensils emblazoned with imperial symbols and a magnificent 3-meter-high royal throne.

Young visitors will be delighted by the collection of dolls and other traditional toys, at the center of which is a giant matryoshka nesting doll that stands more than one meter in height and consists of 72 hand painted dolls. Created in 1970, it has no analogues in the world and remains one of the most striking displays in the museum.

Another highlight of the museum are the Khokhloma painting workshops, where you will learn about the differences in various types of wood, discover the secrets of making uniquely bright Khokhloma paints and learn how to turn a wooden block into a spoon. In addition to the permanent exhibitions and master classes, educational and entertainment events are also organized regularly.

For those interested in taking a piece of Semyonov home with them, a unique branded gift shop with a rich assortment of affordable Khokhloma products is located inside the Golden Khokhloma Museum.