The display is housed in the part of the Winter Palace overlooking the main courtyard that once contained the childhood rooms of Emperor Nicholas I’s sons Konstantin, Nikolai and Mikhail. The Gazprom public joint-stock company acted as general sponsor for the creation of the new display.

The opening of the first phase of the display is timed to coincide with some notable anniversaries – 300 years since the proclamation of the Russian Empire and also 300 years since the signing of the Treaty of Nystadt that brought the Northern War to an end and formally returned lands lost in previous Russo-Swedish wars. At the same time, the display will be the start of a large-scale project devoted to the 350th anniversary of the birth of Peter the Great, which will take place in May 2022.

The display contains many paintings, sculptures and works of applied art, scientific devices and instruments that came from the palace collections of Peter the Great, his niece Empress Anna Ioannovna and his daughter, Empress Elizabeth. The exhibits placed in the halls of the first phase are devoted to the personality of Peter himself, the history, culture and art of Russia at the time of the sweeping reforms that he introduced.

Hall 156 (the Rotunda) tells about Russia’s victories in the Northern War (1700–21) that ended 300 years ago with the signing of the Treaty of Nystadt. In the centre of the hall is a model of the Triumphal Column glorifying the success of the Russian forces. On display alongside are the painting of The Battle of Poltava that Peter the Great commissioned from Louis Caravaque and a bronze bust of the first Russian emperor created by the sculptor Bartolomeo Carlo Rastrelli. Hall 157 contains paintings by Russian artists of Peter’s day and foreigners who worked in Russia. They are mainly portraits of members of the Emperor’s family and prominent statesmen. One showcase holds a unique wax bust that recorded Peter I’s appearance with documentary precision. The exhibits in Hall 158 come from the memorial collections of the “Study of Peter the Great” and “Gallery of Peter I”. Here visitors can see items made by Peter himself, the Tsar’s costumes, walking sticks, seal and other personal belongings of the Emperor.

On 28 December the opening ceremony will be available for viewing online, while on 29 December the curator Natalia Bakhareva, a senior researcher in the Department of the History of Russian Culture, will conduct the first online guided tour.