Summer in the city: ultimate VDNKh museums guide

June 2

Cosmonautics and Aviation Centre

Cosmos Pavilion housing Cosmonautics and Aviation, Russia's largest Space Museum Complex, is open now after a large-scale renovation completed in April 2018. 

The building was erected in 1939 as a hangar with agricultural machinery exhibited. In 1954, the pavilion was completely rebuilt. The expanded exposition was named  'Mechanisation and Electrification of the USSR Agriculture'. Since 1956, the pavilion has mostly housed mechanical engineering displays. In 1961, the building held a temporary 'Urban Planning' exhibition. Between 1967 and 1991, the pavilion and the surrounding area housed two exhibitions running at the same time — 'Cosmos' and 'Engineering'.

Presently, Cosmonautics and Aviation Centre displays more than 120 samples of aircraft and space machinery previously not exhibited in museums, with more than 2,000 archival documents, photos and videos about the development of the space industry in the USSR and Russia.

Space Boulevard zone has scaled-down space ships, rocket engines, automatic stations and satellites, including Mir and Almaz space stations.

'Design Bureau' section introduces visitors to scientific development that made space flights a reality. Here you will find models of launch vehicles and spacesuits made in various years. Young visitors may take part in master classes and listen to lectures at the educational centre.

'Cosmodrome of the Future' site offers spacecraft cabin game simulators and exercisers  to make a virtual flight through the Solar system in a 16-m high Space Sphere and learn more about the Universe in the Monolith module.

Besides, the centre hosts 'Cosmos Pavilion: Between Sky and Earth' exhibition dedicated to the history of its construction and design. Several hundred charts, photographs and drawings tell about people who have contributed to the creation of one of the most impressive VDNKh pavilions, the specific features of Cosmos  architecture and how the building has changed over time.

Cosmonautics and Aviation Centre is open daily,  except Monday, 11:00 am till 10:00 pm.

Slavic Writing Centre Slovo

Slovo Centre, dedicated to the history of Cyrillic writing, opened in Agriculture Pavilion No.58 (Ukrainian SSR) quite recently — on 24 May. The total area of the exhibition exceeds 1,000 sq m. It comprises four large sections telling about the origin and development of writing from ancient times to the present day, about the way the texts affect the formation of culture, the Cyrillic alphabet, speech (lexical features of different regions of Russia) and Russian folklore.

Slovo is a unique museum space in Russia. It displays originals of the first textbooks written in Cyrillic: 'The Grammar' by Melety Smotritsky, 'The Arithmetic' by Leonty Magnitsky, ABC books, primers and copybooks of the 19th — early 20th century, and replicas of the Ostromir Gospels, Francysk Skaryna's Bible and 'The Sermon on Law and Grace'.

In addition, there are many multimedia and interactive opportunities to explore the exhibition: information booths provide the information about the centre's exhibits and even the history of how each letter of the alphabet developed, historical chronicles, excerpts from themed performances and films to watch and Russian epics and  lullabies to listen to.

Slovo's halls have modelled fragments of an Orthodox Church of the 10th–11th centuries and a cell of a medieval monk-scribe; old writing desks of different times, and the walls have a detailed historical infographics.

A lecture hall is to open soon in the Slavic Writing Centre. It will host classes in history, Russian literature, cultural studies and philology, master classes for adults and children, themed meetings and discussions.

Moscow State Museum of Oriental Art

This April, 'The Roerichs. Preserving Culture' permanent exposition of the Moscow State Museum of Oriental Art was opened in Healthcare Pavilion No.13 to tell  about travel, research and artworks by Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich.

The exhibition displays more than 400 paintings by the artists. There are also sculptures and Tibetan icons (thangka paintings) brought by Nicholas Roerich from his expedition to India and Central Asia in 1928.

The exhibition's name is closely associated with one of the most important Nicholas Roerich's activities,  since he not only travelled and conducted cultural research of Oriental art, but also  promoted the idea of the need to protect archaeological monuments. In 1928, he initiated signing of an international treaty on historical monuments protection. Known as the 'Roerich Pact', this document was signed in 1935 by 21 North and South American countries, and in 1954, the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict was adopted under the Pact.

'The Roerichs. Preserving Culture' collection is displayed in a renovated building: experts have restored the historical look of the pavilion — they dismantled metal false facades, recreated the plaster moulding in the main hall, lamps, openwork screens on the arches and other elements after survived fragments and historical photographs.

The Museum is open 11:00 am till 08:00 pm on Tuesday, Friday and weekends and 12:00 pm till 09:00 pm on Wednesday and Thursday. Ticket offices close 30 min before the end of the Museum's closing. The Museum is closed on Monday.

Фото: VDNKh

Cinema Museum

Located in a snow-white pavilion on the bank of Pond No.3, the State Central Cinema Museum only appears to be very small, but its collection, based on the Museum All-Union Cinema Promotion Department in 1989 and actively replenished ever since, comprises 2,900 films, more than 46,000 photographs and 15,000 posters, 16,000 sketches and drafts for films and more.

The former Processing of Agricultural Products Pavilion, that has been hosting the Cinema Museum since 2017, has three cinema halls to run films from the Museum's archive, and the rooms for themed exhibitions, halls for lectures, meet-the-artist events, master classes, a cafe and a shop.

There are two permanent exhibitions running here — 'Labyrinth of History' dedicated to the first century of the Soviet and Russian cinema development, and Sergei Eisenstein's memorial office.

Besides, until 9 July, 'Volleyball on Sretenka' exhibition will run — a  screenwriter Anush Vardanyan's  project inspired by Yuri Vizbor's song; and until 27 July it will host 'Dmitry Andreev. Cutter of Illusions' exhibition, where you may view a collection of historical costumes created for various films.

The Сinema Museum is open 12:00 pm till 09:00 pm. Visitors admitted until 08:00 pm. The Museum is closed on Wednesday.


Moscow Model

In September 2017, Moscow Model Pavilion opened on VDNKh's Lilac Alley. The architectural layout covering 368 sq m comprises more than 20,000 buildings on the scale of 1:400.

Models of buildings and facilities are stunningly precise — they even have bas-reliefs and panels on the facades and wall cladding on the buildings. Spasskaya Tower chimes of the Moscow Kremlin strike in due time, and when recreating the surface of the Moskva River, experts managed to convey the effect of ripples on the water.

Visitors may choose how to illuminate streets and buildings: the system recreates natural, day or night, city illumination. The pavilion also features themed light shows.

The work on the model started in autumn 2012 and it is still underway. The model workshop is located at the  Dom na Brestskoi (House in Brestskaya Street)  exhibition centre. In June, there will be an open day with tours of the workshop.

All drawings, terrain, building models, lighting and layout management systems have been created by a team of 60 people. Work on the Moscow model is to be completed in 2020. Visitors will have an opportunity to view the area within the Third Transport Circle, all railway stations, Vorobyovy Gory and the area of the developing ZIL industrial zone. The total area of the model will account for 945 sq m. It is expected to be the largest city model in the world.

Moscow Model Pavilion is open daily except Monday, 10:00 am till 08:00 pm. Admission is free. Free guided tours of the Pavilion start every Saturday and Sunday at 02:00 pm.

'VDNKh in Fashion. 1939–2019' exhibition

In honour of VDNKh's 80th anniversary to be celebrated in August 2019, fashion historian Alexander Vasilyev has prepared 'VDNKh in Fashion. 1939-2019' exhibition. It will tell about the key fashion trends of the last 80 years and view the most outstanding outfits. How did Moscow residents dress up during the Khrushchev Thaw, Brezhnev stagnation or perestroika? What was in fashion in the 1990s and early 2000s?

The exhibition also includes photos of different years, made at VDNKh.

The exhibition will run from 29 May till 29 September, 11:00 am till 10:00 pm, except Monday.

Фото: VDNKh

Polytechnic Museum

While the historical building of the Polytechnic Museum on Novaya Square is under reconstruction, the exposition of one of the oldest scientific and technical museums in the world may be viewed in VDNKh's Pavilion No.26.

The biggest section is occupied by the project 'Made in Russia' highlighting outstanding inventions and researches of Russian scientists and covering seven topics relevant to modern science, such as 'Beyond the Earth', 'New Anthropogenesis', 'Analogues of Nature', 'Illusions', 'Radio+', 'Nuclear Energy' and 'Plasma Energy'. The exhibition allows not only to evaluate the contribution of Russian researchers to the world science, but also to understand the relationship between different scientific fields.

Visitors to the exhibition can view a model of the first Soviet atomic bomb RDS-1, Popov's lightning detector, electric arc, plasma loudspeaker, unique holographic installation of Yuri Denisyuk and much more.

The Polytechnic Museum is open 11:00 am till 07:00 pm on weekdays and 11:00 am till 09:00 pm on weekend.


Buran Interactive Museum Complex

In July 2014, Buran spacecraft was transferred from Gorky Park to VDNKh. A year later, the layout was repaired and an Interactive Museum Complex was created on its basis. The orbital rocket plane has a model of the command module with a control panel and a cosmonaut's chair in, and the pavilion attached to the layout hosts a cinema hall and an exposition with the spaceship drawings and parts displayed.

Tours of Buran start with a film about the legendary ship. Then the visitors are introduced to the design of the rocket plane, and in its bow guests may experience virtual landing of the ship on the Baikonur Cosmodrome from a height of 80,000 m, with the help of a special interactive program. The program simulates the real landing of Buran on 15 November 1988 — it was its first and last space flight.

Visitors are free to try space food: borsch, rassolnik, kharcho, meat puree, pork with vegetables and various desserts in tubes.

The Museum complex is open daily from 11:00 am till 08:00 pm.

Moskvarium Oceanography and Marine Biology Centre

More than 12,000 marine and freshwater creatures inhabit Moskvarium, one of the largest oceanariums in Europe, with sharks, seals, stingrays, caimans, turtles, jellyfish, octopus, sturgeon fishes, Japanese carps, giant arapaimas, scary piranhas and many more.

In addition to the permanent exhibition, the complex covering 53,000 sq m has a comfortable room with a water stage for unique shows with marine mammals and circus artists. Dolphins, walruses, sea lions and killer whales are the biggest stars of water performances. The swimming centre with dolphins, unique for Moscow, is open all year round in the oceanarium. The Knowledge Hub for children and adults holds daily lectures in marine biology, insightful classes, themed tours and quests.

There is also 'Jaws. 400 Million Years Underwater', a permanent multimedia exhibition about sharks, running in the oceanarium. Space covering 500 sq m offers exhibits from different museums and institutes of Russia, VR attractions, interactive projections and unusual objets d'art.

Moskvarium is open daily 10:00 am till 10:00 pm. The ticket office closes at 09:00 pm.


The Robostation interactive pavilion is located in the National Education Pavilion No. 2, near the Friendship of Peoples fountain. Robots of various professions meet guests: children and adults may have a chat with KIKI, a robot promoter, pet Paro, a baby seal robot, designed to help Japanese hospitals' patients relax, watch the work of Baxter, a robot builder, and admire a roboaquarium, the first in Russia.

In total, Robostation collection comprises more than 20 robots from different countries. In addition to the traditional sightseeing tour, the pavilion hosts themed tours for robotics fans: 'Professions of the Future', 'Robots of the Deep Sea', 'Robots Superstars'. There is also a special pavilion's ground with every day robot builders dance shows.

September through May, Robostation hosts classes of Kulibin Pro Technical Creativity Shop, one of the Moscow children's technoparks. And during the summer holidays, the Moscow robo-camp is to open within Crafts Shop. The curators will teach children the basics of robotics, conduct themed tours, organise meetings with representatives of various engineering professions and show fascinating scientific films.

Robostation is open daily 11:00 am till 08:00 pm.

Beekeeping Museum

How does a beehive work? Why is the life of a worker bee more interesting than the life of a Queen bee? Are wasps really harmful and useless insects? What is the difference between a bumblebee and a bee? How does the quality of pollen taken from different flowers affect the taste of honey? Guests of the Beekeeping Museum will get the answers to these questions and learn much more.

Reconstructed premises of Pavilion No. 28, built in 1954 and renovated in 2017, feature a scientific and historical section, multimedia and interactive game rooms, a honey laboratory and a buffet where you can buy different varieties of honey.

The scientific and historical section presents exhibits telling about the history of wild-hive beekeeping — ancient and modern tools used by beekeepers, beehives of different epochs, detailed infographics about bee species and honey plants, and multimedia stands with information about beekeeping development from ancient times to the present day.

Animatronic power-driven layout will tells visitors about body parts that make up a honey bee. The multimedia hall is designed to show scientific documentaries and cartoons, on the VR play area you may work on a virtual apiary, and in a honey laboratory you may check honey quality with microscopes and other professional devices. A beehive with live bees and Big Beehive installation feature the centrepieces of the permanent exhibition.


Latest Events

Giulia Olivieri's concert at the Scriabin Memorial Museum

November 22
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

'La Traviata' at Helikon Opera Theatre

November 21 – 24
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