The two-storey construction that used to house Mariinsky orphanage doesn’t strike as a building of high artistic qualities but it is a typical example of durable government buildings of the second half of the 19th century.
At the beginning of the 40s of the 19th century Tambov Governor Pyotr Bulgakov suggested opening a shelter for orphans and the children whose parents could not support them financially. In response, Tambov gentry – mother and son Lyons donated their estate with a wooden house to the orphanage that was opened in 1847. It was called Mariinsky orphanage in honor of the reigning emperor’s daughter, Princess Maria Nikolayevna.
The money collected by the council of trustees in 1879 was spent on the construction of a new, two-storey stone building. At the beginning of the 20th century Mariinsky orphanage was home to 80-120 children aged 3-14, mostly girls. They learnt to read, write and to run a household. As teenagers, they were assigned to well-off families of craftsmen where they had a chance to acquire some profession or they were sent to to Andrey Nosov’s industrial school to continue their education. Some children were returned to their own families.
The budget of the orphanage was topped up with the funds raised at various parties, concerts, performances. The annual income raised at these events could be about 1000 rubles. Spring lotteries also brought considerable profits to Mariinsky orphanage. The profits were used for student scholarships. It was also possible to have garment done at the orphanage.
During the years of the Civil War children had to starve. The situation changed for the better only in the middle of the 1920s when the local NKVD authorities got in charge of the shelter.
In the middle of the 1950s the child care institution was moved to another place. The interior and the yard were reconstructed. The newly-reconstructed building opened its doors in spring of 1961 as Tambov regional art gallery and the school of cultural education which was later included into the structure of Tambov Music School named after S. Rakhmaninov.In 1983, the southern part of the building was given over to the regional children’s library that is still located here today.