The Alexander Palace (Russian: Александровский дворец) is a former imperial residence at Tsarskoye Selo, on a plateau around 30 minutes by train from St Petersburg. It is known as the favourite residence of the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II, and his family and their initial place of imprisonment after the revolution that overthrew the Romanov dynasty in early 1917. The Alexander Palace is situated in the Alexander Park, not far from the larger Catherine Palace. Today it is undergoing renovation as a museum housing relics of the former imperial dynasty.
When it appeared that the Soviet Navy intended to vacate the complex, the Alexander Palace was included in the 1996 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund (WMF). With funding from American Express in the same year, WMF helped with emergency renovations to the roof over the Nicholas II wing of the palace, comprising approximately one-third of the building’s total roof structure. In the summer of 1997, a permanent exhibition was opened in the left wing of the building.
The Alexander Palace is now an exhibition space dedicated to the final years of Tsarist Russia. For this new use, certain elements of the Reception Room, Nicholas II's New Study and Alexandra Feodorovna's Drawing Room have been recreated and provide a backdrop for exhibitions of historical costumes, weapons and objects of applied art. The portrait of Alexandra Feodorovna has been returned to its original position. In Nicholas II's study, where the working environment of the last Russian emperor has been recreated, hangs a portrait of Alexander III painted by the Russian artist Valentin Serov. In another section of the palace, visitors can see clothing once worn by the last imperial family of Russia and uniforms related to the court of Tsar Nicholas II. Restoration is ongoing.
Recently more rooms have been brought back to their former glory with furniture and artworks returned to their original positions from other museums. In 2010 the three largest public rooms in the middle wing were reopened, following restoration: The Semi-Circular Hall, The Portrait Hall and The Marble Drawing Room.