Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal
1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati
Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Adults $9.75, seniors 60 and older $8.75, children 3-12 $6.75.
If the names Nicholas, Alexandra, Anastasia and Rasputin are burned into your memory from high-school history class, here's a chance to make that history come alive.
On Jan. 29, Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal opens "Nicholas and Alexandra: At Home With the Last Tsar and His Family," an intimate look at the royal home of the last czar of Russia. It is the first exhibition of the Romanov family's personal belongings to tour in America. The exhibit runs through May 1.
"It's a truly fascinating part of history," observes Charlie Howard, senior director of marketing for the museum. "People kind of know how the last czar and his family died. But not as many people know how they lived."
Hundreds of heirlooms rescued from the Alexander Palace near St. Petersburg will be on display, including family photo albums, watercolors, religious icons, decorative arts, textiles, books, furniture, clothing, tapestry, porcelain, place settings and even toys and dolls from the rooms of Princess Anastasia and the czar's other children.
Rare valuables such as a Faberge "Imperial Basket of Lilies of the Valley" are represented in the collection, as are home movies taken by the czar, an avid cameraman.
The exhibit provides an insider's backdrop to a tale of palace intrigue and impending doom, revolution and murder. But beyond the tragedy is the story of the Romanov family and the lush lifestyle they enjoyed.
"Nicholas and Alexandra" is also a personal portrait of perhaps the most powerful couple in Russian history.
Says Howard: "It's one of the world's great love stories."
In connection with the exhibit, the museum center is hosting a series of events, under the label "A Russian Winter," featuring music, dance, lectures, film and acti-
vities for children.
All the programs will center on compositions created during the time period of the Romanov dynasty.
This month, events scheduled for the museum's rotunda include a performance of Russian ballet by the Cincinnati Dance Academy (at 2 p.m. on Jan. 22, free) and a performance of Russian string quartet compositions by the Cincinnati Chamber Music Society (2 p.m. on Jan. 29, free).
For the kids, try the "Bedazzled and Bejeweled" art session, where youngsters will decorate their own FabergÃ©-inspired jewels (1 p.m. on Jan. 8, $8).
Future highlights of the series include "A Romanov in Cincinnati," as Cincinnati's own Michael Romanov Ilyinsky talks about his famous family (7:40 p.m. on Feb. 24, free), and a Rachmaninoff concert by organist Clive Driskill-Smith on the museum center's rarely heard concert organ (7:30 p.m. on Feb. 28, $18).