The Nikolay Ostrovsky cultural centre ‘Integration’Russian: Kulturnyi tsentr «Integratsiya» imeni N. A. Ostrovskogo or Культурный центр «Интеграция» имени Н. А. Островского (previously called Humanitarian Centre ‘OvercomingRussian: Preodolenie or Преодоление’) is an unusual museum dedicated to people who have overcome a serious disease and left a lasting mark in history. Its exhibits tell the story of improving social integration and opportunity for people with disabilities.
Writer Nikolay Ostrovsky is the author of the novel “How Steel Was TemperedRussian: Как закалялась сталь”, famous in Soviet times. The book, describing a man’s fearless fight for his ideas, became a manifesto for several generations. It has been published many times and has a million editions. The book has been translated into 75 languages. The famous words, “Man’s dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years”, are a citation from this book. Nikolay Alekseevich was only 32 when he died and prior to his death, he was bed bound for nine years. He became a writer when he was totally immobile and blind.
A part of the permanent section of the museum is Nikolay Ostrovsky’s memorial apartment where the writer spent the last year of his life. There are two rooms in it, which have preserved their authentic interior and the writer’s personal possessions. The hall in front of the apartment tells the story of Ostrovsky’s hardships in life and his fight against his health disorder. Particular attention is drawn to the story of the impact the novel “How Steel Was Tempered” had on soldiers during the Great Patriotic War. The window cases display the personal possessions of the heroes who perished on the battle field, with N. Ostrovsky’s book, destroyed by shell splinters, found next to them.
Nikolay Ostrovsky’s life inspired the museum team to expand the displays and open a new section called “Overcoming”. This section tells the story of certain people who learned to live even when their life seemed unbearable. The personalities described here faced serious hardships, but didn’t let their illness bring them to their knees. They did not give way to despair and managed to fulfill themselves in literature, journalism, pedagogy, and other spheres.
Various tours describe the history of the building in Tverskaya streetRussian: ulitsa Tverskaya or улица Тверская, Z. Volkonskayawriter, poetess, singer and composer, a prominent figure of Russian cultural life of the first half of the 19th century’s literary and musical salon, N. Ostrovsky’s heroic life. Museum visitors are offered walking tours of the capital within the framework of the quote, “Moscow, do you remember our names…” and unusual interactive “blindfolded” excursions.
Apart from the main display, other exhibitions are often held in the museum. They are dedicated to people who have created something outstanding despite their poor health.
THE HISTORY OF THE MUSEUM BUILDING
The museum building is located in an ancient street in Moscow and simultaneously bears the features of three different epochs. Outstanding people lived there in different times, including the Dutchess Zinaida Volkonskaya, the millionaire merchant G. Eliseev, and the writer, Nikolay Ostrovsky. Every one of them left a considerable mark on the history of Russia.
Knyaginya Zinaida Volkonskaya, the “queen of music and beauty”, as Pushkin would call her, lived in the house in 1924-1829. Her literary and musical salon was one of the most famous in Moscow. A. Pushkin, V. Zhukovsky, E. Baratynsky, A. Delvig, V. Kukhelbeker, V. Odoevsky, F. TutchevRussian poets and writers, Adam Mitskevicha Polish poet, A. Alyabieva Russian composer, and many others frequented it. It was here in 1826 that a farewell party for the DecembristsRussian revolutionaries who led an unsuccessful uprising on Dec. 14 1825’ wives who were about to follow their husbands to exile in Siberia, took place. In 1829, Volkonskaya moved to Italy for good. After her departure, the house changed hands for many years.
The mansion’s new lease on life started in the late 19th century. From 1898 to 1917, the famous millionaire merchant G. Eliseev owned the building. A considerable part of the premises was used as a shop. Exotic fruit, the finest wines, rare varieties of coffee, tea, and spices were sold in the luxurious interiors of the house. In the Soviet times, the shop continued operating as Grocery Store #1Russian: Гастроном № 1, though Muscovites have always called it EliseevskyRussian: Eliseevsky or Елисеевский.
A part of the house has been used as apartments since 1918. Writer Nikolay Ostrovsky lived in one of them in 1935-1936. Ostrovsky passed away on 22 December 1936. In 1940, his flat was converted into the museum.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com