It has been a while since updating. Much has happened. I am now tutoring private students in Russian after work. It is great fun.
Here is the link to a fascinating article about Russian Museum Lady Guards.
I grew up under watchful eye of these ladies, wondering the halls of Hermitage, Russian Museum, Museum of Ethnography and so on. They take their job seriously. They are interesting to talk to. If you want to know where the former sleeping chamber of Katherine the Great was, they will tell you. If you want to know what parts of the museum are hunted they will tell you too (in low whispers).
Most of these ladies had successful careers and appreciate art. They are the same crowd that becomes ushers in the theaters after retirement.