The Schusev Museum of ArchitectureRussian: Muzey arkhitektury imeni A.V. Schuseva or Музей архитектуры имени А.В. Щусева in Moscow is located in the very centre of the town, within a walking distance of Red Square. The neighbouring building is the famous Lenin LibraryRussian: Biblioteka imeni Lenina or Библиотека имени Ленина, the ManegeRussian: Manezh or Манеж is located across the road, and the heart of Russia – the KremlinRussian: Кремль – is behind it. It is the first specialized architectural museum in the only place dedicated to the preservation of Russia’s architectural legacy. The museum is a sacred place for Russian architects as it preserves the very fabric of Russian architecture.
The museum repository reflects the history of a whole millennium of Russian architecture. Its collection comprises about a million exhibits. Some of the exhibits used to be kept in the Donskoi MonasteryRussian: Donskoy monastyr or Донской монастырь in Moscow until the 1990s. It was there that the museum’s history began as far back as 1934. Today all the repositories are housed in the building in Vozdvizhenka streetRussian: ulitsa Vozdvizhenka or улица Воздвиженка. Another building of the Museum of Architecture is Melnikov’s HouseRussian: Dom Mel'nikova or Дом Мельникова, which stands apart from the rest of them. This landmark building belongs to the Soviet Avant-Garde, where the founder of the style Konstantin Melnikov (1890-1974) lived with his family not far from the ArbatRussian: Арбат. Thanks to its unique architecture it has become a world-famous building.
At the very core of the museum collection are architectural graphics, models, measurements drawings, lithography, sculpture, furniture, objects of arts and crafts. Among the latter there are even frescoes, in particular, ones from the Kalyazinsky MonasteryRussian: Kalyazinskiy monastyr or Калязинский монастырь in the Tver Regiona federal subject of Russia, its administrative center is the city of Tver, which had been taken out before the monastery was flooded. Unfortunately, most of the collection is kept in repositories. When the Donskoi Monastery was transferred under the direction of the Russian Orthodox Church and the exhibits previously kept within its walls were moved to the building in Vozdvizhenka street, many of the exhibition halls were rebuilt into repositories. For the past 20+ years the museum has existed in rather cramped conditions.
Exhibitions and Lectures in museum
The museum houses several small permanent displays at present, while other exhibitions change once a month on average. Among the permanent museum displays are a fragment of the legendary model of the Grand Kremlin PalaceRussian: Bolshoy Kremlyovskiy dvorets or Большой Кремлёвский дворец by Vasily Bazhenova Russian neoclassical architect, graphic artist, architectural theorist and educator (which is absolutely worth a look), an unusual David Sarkisyan memorial study (David Sarkisyan, who untimely passed away, was the museum director from 2000 to 2009); the Sculpture CourtyardRussian: Skulpturnyi dvorik or Скульптурный дворик – an exposition of park and garden sculpture in the open air and exhibition of authentic fragments of iron casting which decorated the legendary Triumphal ArchRussian: Triumfal'naya arka or Триумфальная арка by Joseph Bovean Italian-Russian neoclassical architect.
Temporary exhibitions in the museum present prominent architects’ retrospectives and thematic selections of sculptures, photos, graphics, and other artwork. Here you can learn about naval architecture, for example, or take a fresh look at the familiar cityscape, for instance, at the way the famous Moscow buildings and metro stations were built and what they could have looked like. When you plan a visit to the museum, take a look at the What’s On section on its website.
Today the museum comprises three exhibition venues: EnfiladeRussian: Anfilada or Анфилада, RuinaRussian: Руина annex, and Aptekarsky OrderRussian: Aptekarskiy prikaz or Аптекарский приказ. The Enfilade is literally a succession of rooms with five-meter-high ceilings, authentic doors, parquet-work, and lamp shades. The building itself is an architectural landmark of the epoch of Russian classicism (18th century). It is a former estate of the noble family the Talyzins. It used to consist of the main building and two annexes. One of the annexes has survived and was given the poetic name Ruina"Ruin". It is one of the most romantic places in the museum. It has bare brickwork walls dating from previous centuries, no window frames (only window apertures instead) or floor coating (with wood covering running in all directions instead) – these half-ruins create a very special atmosphere for exhibitions.
The museum hosts lectures; there is a Children’s Centre where school students learn the basics of architecture. There are opportunities to take part in excursions both for children and adults.
Virtual Museum of Architecture
Lacking an opportunity to open a large-scale permanent display, the museum has opened virtual access to its archives on the Internet. The project is called the Virtual Museum of ArchitectureRussian: Virtualnyi muzey arkhitektury or Виртуальный музей архитектуры. It is accessible at vma.muar.ru in two languages – Russian and English. It showcases the history of Russian architecture from the 10th to the 21st century. Each section tells the story of landmark constructions of a particular epoch, presents contemporary photos of monuments with selections of historical documents from the museum collection. An application for smartphones in Russian, English, German, French, and Chinese is also available. It offers 3D-excursions around mansions of old Moscow and long-gone monasteries of the Kremlin (Voznesensky and ChudovRussian: Вознесенский, Чудов) and lets you admire the aborted project of a giant construction process of the 20th century called the Palace of the SovietsRussian: Dvorets Sovetov or Дворец Советов.
Photo: The Museum’s Press office© 2016-2018 moscovery.com