Entertaining a 5 year old at the Hermitage

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The Hermitage is one of the great museums of the world, boasting an astonishingly vast collection of art, totaling 3 million pieces, including the world’s largest collection of paintings. And you thought the Louvre was cool.

Built by Catherine the Great and opened to the public nearly a century later, the museum is housed among several buildings around Palace Square, most notably the Winter Palace, a massive monument clearly built with the intention of showing the West that Russia was cool too:

Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia
There’s another 40% of the building to the right that the camera couldn’t include.

To say the Winter Palace is big is to do a disservice to the concept of scale. You could wander around all day long and still not finish perusing the exhibitions. And that’s not even the complete collection. Only a small percentage of the artwork is on display at any given time.

But perhaps the most alluring exhibit is the palace itself. A stately masterpiece on a grand scale, the Winter Palace took a century to build, and looking at the intricate craftsmanship that went into each and every minute detail, it clearly wasn’t due to a slow production schedule:

Mmm, pretty stairs.
Only the finest Slinkies are allowed to grace these steps.

Rivaling its Western contemporaries in size and ornate decoration, the Winter Palace is a strange, beautiful reminder of humanity’s unhealthy history of political power struggles, lavish royal lifestyles, and grandiose artistic competition.

They don't like it when you yell that in there, though.


But what if you don’t care?

If for some reason you’ve found yourself deeply immersed in hundreds of years’ worth of art history, architecture marvels, and other wonders of human imagination, but you also happen to be a five year old, you might find yourself in a bit of a predicament.

So what’s a precocious little kid to do in the midst of cryptic placards and endless lines of marble sculptures?


The floor is lava! The floor is lava!!!!

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