The exhibition allows to trace the evolution of family album tradition throughout more than a century of its history, starting from the dawn of Russian photography and ending with the time of total infatuation with it during the Soviet era, and to see how the modern approach to creation and decoration of family albums had been formed.

In 1839, when the first photo cameras appeared in Russia, photography started to gain popularity as a means for creating portraits. The early daguerreotype became a family relic that continued the row of ancestral painted portraits in noble houses.

At first, only the wealthy people could afford the work of professionals from photographic studios. The day of posing for photographs in such studios used to be a big event for the whole family. By the end of the nineteenth century, with the development of the photography technique, the number of photo studios increased. Photographs the size of a visiting card became affordable and widespread. From then on small photographs could be seen on the pages of family albums.

The exhibited photographs depict anonymous stories as well as scenes from the lives of famous Russian families, including pictures from the albums of lady-in-waiting E. P. Eiler, count D. I. Tolstoy, noblemen Safronov and Rostovtsev, sculptor V. А. Beklemishev, merchant Nemchinov, doctor G. А. Dmitrovsky, astronomer Е. L. Krinov, chemist and archeologist V. N. Kononova, artist M. V. Dobuzhinsky. Such archives keep memories of family lives and are characteristic signs of their times.