Tsvetaeva's clips, Pushkin's nib: what literary museums of the capital keep

March 8

Literary museums stand out among many Moscow museums. In them, you can get acquainted with the history through the biography of your favorite writer or poet, see their belongings, feel the atmosphere of the place where they lived, which means you can better understand his or her works. This mos.ru article covers seven museums that work for booklovers.

Bulgakov museum

Apartment 50 at 10 Bolshaya Sadovaya Street is a legendary and mysterious place. This is the first Moscow address of Mikhail Bulgakov and the prototype of the "bad apartment" in which Woland lived with his retinue. By the way, this communal apartment appears in "Psalm" and "Moonshine Lake" stories, and in the "Zoyka's Apartment" play. Where else but at this address had the first and only Bulgakov memorial museum in Russia to appear.


A room in a huge communal apartment became the writer's first living quarters in Moscow. He wrote his first Moscow works here at nights. In 1990, the Bulgakov  Foundation was established. its main goal was to open apartment 50 to visitors. This happened in 2007. The museum continues developing, holds exhibitions and other cultural events both in its own space and at other venues.

“I have two favorite exhibits,” Maria Kotova says. - “The first one is a bookshelf with two sirens Bulgakov bought at a flea market when he just moved to Moscow and got a room. In my opinion, this is a very significant exhibit that plunges a visitor into the atmosphere of early 1920s. The second exhibit, very beautiful and important for Bulgakov's work, is the writing cabinet behind which he wrote The Master and Margarita. He did it by candlelight - the writer did not like cold electric light."

Marina Tsvetaeva House-Museum

The Marina Tsvetaeva House-Museum is located in the very center of Moscow, a stone's throw from New Arbat Avenue. Marina Tsvetaeva lived in a one-and-a-half-story apartment of an old mansion, which is more than 150 years old, for eight years. With her husband Sergei Efron and daughter Ariadna, Tsvetaeva moved into apartment No. 3 in 1914. At various times, she called this place “a well of comfort and magic”, then “strange” and even “terrible”, because both happy and difficult years of her life passed here: from the first fine years of marriage to the period of post-revolutionary poverty and hunger - her youngest daughter became its victim. The apartment in Borisoglebsky Lane was a place not only of life, but also of creativity for Tsvetaeva: she wrote many of her books here.

In Soviet times, the house was occupied by communal apartments, the building was quickly destroying. Thanks to many years of efforts by Nadezhda Kataeva-Lytkina, it was saved from demolition, the architecture and memorial status were restored. The Marina Tsvetaeva House-Museum cultural center was opened here in 1992, the year of the poetess's centenary. Kataeva-Lytkina became the first scientific supervisor of the museum.

Today, museum holdings have more than 50 thousand items. Among them are: personal belongings of the poetess and her nearest and dearest - for example, clips bought in Paris at the exhibition, Marina Tsvetaeva's dress and her sister Anastasia's icon-case.

Photo by Yulia Ivanko, Mos.ru

In recent years, the museum has created two major projects: The Lecture Hall at Home (lectures done by famous speakers in four directions: theater, music, architecture, literature) and “House Theater Laboratory of Alisa Grebenshchikova”. In 2020, the museum hosted more than 150 online events, which were watched by 140 thousand viewers.


A special place is occupied by excursions, where the museum staff turn a visit to the memorial space into a unique one-man show. Over the years, the house-museum hosted evenings with the participation of Svetlana Kryuchkova, Alisa Grebenshchikova, Konstantin Bogomolov, Anatoly Bely, Tatyana Drubich, Svetlana Surganova, Nina Shatskaya, Pyotr Nalich, students of workshops of Brusnikin, Ryzhakov, Radomyslensky. Musical evenings are held regularly in the museum, with old baroque instruments, a grand piano and an organ played.

Photo by Yulia Ivanko, Mos.ru

“On the other hand, the museum is a multi-genre space having exhibitions, and theatrical excursions, and performances, and concerts, and a reading competition, and lectures - we seek to connect all work forms with the poet’s heritage and traditions of creative evenings of our home,” the museum director explains.

K.G. Paustovsky Museum

The first museum exposition was placed from 1975 to 1986 in a club under Moscow Motor Pool No. 10. The museum moved into the building - a wooden architecture monument on the Vlakhernskoye-Kuzminki estate territory later.

First exhibits were collected by members of the literary and drama club of school No. 456. They were in numerous expeditions to places related to the life and work of the writer: Solotcha, Sevastopol, Odessa, Leningrad, Kiev, Tarusa.

The museum appeared thanks to the direct participation of students and admirers of the writer's work - Bulat Okudzhava, Margarita Aliger, Alexei Batalov. Today, it is an important educational and scientific center that studies Paustovsky's work, holds conferences with the participation of Russian and foreign researchers, publishes his works in Russia and abroad.


The museum seeks to develop new formats of work - theatrical and interactive excursions, museum classes for family and school groups, travel games through the exposition, art therapy classes, and concert programs.

“To actualize Paustovsky's work in the modern cultural context, we use various methods and means. Special attention is paid to our exhibitions. The museum seeks to choose themes focusing on a specific target audience, for example, lovers of poetry, fine art, history or nature - the diverse heritage of Paustovsky and the museum's holdings allow touching many topics important and interesting today. We also create virtual exhibitions on the Virtual Russian Museum website, we work a lot on social networks,” the museum director says.

Mayakovsky State Museum

The Museum appeared on October 15, 1938 in Mayakovsky Lane (then Gendrikov Lane). The poet was living here with Osip and Lilya Briks from 1926 to 1930. A room in a communal apartment in Lubyansky Proezd became Mayakovsky's first own Moscow dwelling. The poet acquired it in March 1919. After Mayakovsky got an individual apartment, the room on Lubyanka became his work-room. The poem "Well!" has lines describing it:

“I live in the houses of Stakheev, now Veesenkh.

Squatting into firing, at rest with eyes to the air gate,

To see better,

I swam in a little boat room for three thousand days."

It was the “little boat room” that became the center of the museum, which moved to Lubyansky Proezd from Mayakovsky Lane in 1974. His personal belongings were returned to the poet's room, and the furniture has never left it. The museum has carefully preserved all the exhibits related to the Mayakovsky’s life and work. A literary exposition and exhibition hall was opened in the museum, a research library was completely transported, a large reading room and a whole subdivision for reference and bibliographic work were created. In 1989, a new exposition was opened, for which the museum entire internal space was completely rebuilt.

The building is closed now overhaul, but sites are operating on Krasnaya Presnya and in Studenetsky Lane. Mayakovsky was living on Presnya with his mother and sisters Lyudmila and Olga from 1913 to 1915. This is the only one remaining of many rented apartments that the family changed after moving from the Caucasus to Moscow in 1906. Now, the memorial apartment presents a "Daughter" exposition dedicated to Patricia Thompson, Vladimir Mayakovsky’s daughter.

The apartment in Studenetsky Lane belonged to Lyudmila Mayakovskaya, poet's elder sister. In 1972, according to her will, the apartment, along with all furnishings and household items, was handed over to the Mayakovsky Museum. Thanks to her, museum's holdings were replenished with documents, letters, manuscripts of the Mayakovskys, as well as things brought by the family from their native Georgia. The apartment was mothballed and inaccessible to visitors for about half a century; it re-opened its doors recently - in September 2019.

The Pushkin State Museum

The decree on the Pushkin State Museum establishment in Moscow of was signed on October 5, 1957. The first exposition having opened on the poet's birthday, June 6, 1961, was prepared in a very short time. The museum gained huge popularity quickly. Visitors were attracted by the opportunity to get acquainted with the life and work of their beloved poet in beautiful halls of the Khrushchev-Seleznev estate.

Later on, the museum included two houses associated with the poet's stay there: the A.S. Pushkin Memorial Apartment in Arbat Street (in 1986) and the V.L. Pushkin House-Museum on Basmannaya Old Street (in 2013). Today the Pushkin State Museum is one of the largest literary museums in Russia and Europe. It includes two more museums dedicated to other writers.

Ivan Turgenev Museum is located in the estate on Ostozhenka, which was rented from 1840 to 1850 by Varvara Turgeneva the writer’s mother who became the prototype of the lady from "Mumu". In addition to household items, it contains Turgenev’s lifetime portraits, first publications and editions of his works, their illustrations. The Andrei Bely Memorial Apartment is the only museum in the world dedicated to this writer. It is located at 55 on the corner of Arbat Street and Denezhny Lane, where Bely was born. Writer's belongings can be seen here, such as an icon with the face of Seraphim of Sarov, a velvet hat, in which he is depicted on many photographs, and much more.

The Pushkin State Museum has an extensive collection of unique Pushkin materials - lifetime editions, documentary and manuscript sources, memorials associated with the poet’s warm circle, works of fine and applied art, interior items and everyday life of the eras presented by the museum.


The museum sees its main task in preserving the history and culture of the first third part of the XIX century, the literary heritage of Alexander Pushkin and his contemporaries. Education is one of the most important tasks: the museum and its branches receive dozens of schoolchildren, students and very young visitors every day. Special educational programs, master classes, exhibitions and thematic classes are being prepared for them. Openness is one more museum priority: the number of online projects, training courses and lectures has grown significantly over the past year.

“The arrangement, coordination and support of close interaction of members of the Pushkin Museums Community - a community of more than 20 organizations united by the name of the great classic - may be considered as another component of our mission” the museum director says.

Moscow State Museum of Sergei  Yesenin

In 1995, the Moscow State Museum of Sergei Yesenin was open in Moscow. Exposition was created by a group of enthusiasts and donated to the city. House 24, building 2 in Bolshoy Strochenovsky Lane remains the only official poet’s address in Moscow. His father lived here, and Yesenin himself not only lived from 1911 to 1918, but was also registered here. Sergei Yesenin's room is the exposition center. The emphasis is on the Moscow period of his life, but all his work is also represented.


It is no coincidence that the house in Chernyshevsky Lane became a part of the museum. Creative evenings and disputes young Yesenin attended were often held here. In 2014, another museum department of the was open, on Klyazminskaya Street. There is an exposition operating dedicated to Yesenin's creative heritage, traveling and exchange exhibitions, as well as concerts and creative evenings held.

Gogol`s house

The only Gogol Museum in Russia is located on Nikitsky Boulevard. The writer lived in this house for the last four years of his life, he worked here on the second volume of Dead Souls, he also burned a part of his manuscripts here.

Gogol first came to Moscow in 1832 and immediately fell in love with this city. “Moscow is my homeland,” he wrote to his friends, he visited it quite often. In 1848 he accepted the invitation of Count Alexander Tolstoy, the prominent statesman, to settle in his house on Nikitsky Boulevard.

In 1966, the building was transferred to city library number 2. Later on, two memorial rooms of Nikolai Gogol were open within it, the atmosphere of which was recreated according to his contemporaries’ reminiscence. In 1979, the library was named after the writer, and 30 years later the institution was transformed into the Gogol`s House. The new expanded exposition of the museum was open on March 27, 2009.

The museum contains genuine historical objects and works of art, as well as things that belonged to Gogol. One of the most frightening and sad exhibits is the death mask of the main mystic in Russian literature.


Source: mos.ru

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