Have you ever wanted to know why do house cats roam the halls of the Hermitage? Watch the episode and do listening activities.
Think of the unusual places you would not expect to find a cat. Read the historical notes on the topic of the episode.
The first mention of cats that came to live in the Winter Palace, the largest building of the State Hermitage Museum, which was built to the design of architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1754-1762, dates from the rule of Empress Elizabeth of Russia (daughter of Peter the Great and Catherine I). By the time of the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-96), the Hermitage has been home to hundreds of house cats, who kept the museum vermin free. Nowadays the cats are on the Hermitage account, and earn money through donations, but museum staff also make donations for their upkeep. This year (2015) 'Tomcat Day', regarded as the cats' holiday will be celebrated on April 25. It's a kind of open day when visitors can take part in cat-related games and competitions and can view artwork depicting cats, painted by children and students as well as by professional artists. Proceeds from the day go to the Museum Cat Fund.
Get prepared to make notes. Taking notes helps in identifying and then clarifying difficult or confusing points. Use the left side of the page to write down key words. Leave the right side blank to fill in later with the supporting details.
Listen to the first twenty seconds of the episode and inference what the next section will be about. List the main ideas for the whole episode. Watch the episode more than once to answer the comprehension questions.
О чём рассказала Мария Халтунен, помощник директора Эрмитажа?
О чём говорит волонтёр Тимофей?
After listening: Imagine that you are a volunteer in the Hermitage and are engaged in an interview on the topic. Answer the following questions:
Когда коты появились в Эрмитаже?
Эрмитаж – единственный мировой музей, в котором живут коты?
Зачем нужны коты изобразительному музею?
Кто кормит эрмитажных котов?
Известно ли туристам и посетителям музея о том, что в Эрмитаже живут коты?