Museums

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The core collection consists of the exhibits that were on display in Moscow's pavilion at the National Exhibition of Arts and Industries in Nizhny Novgorod from the late 19th century on. Exhibits have been added consistently, so now the collection lists close to 800,000 items, including valuable archives, clothes, household objects, books, coins, paintings, and much more. The museum holds exhibitions all the time, and offers several educational programmes for children. The museum is located in the building of the former food warehouses, an important Empire style landmark, designed in 1835 by Vasily Stasov for the Provisions Authority.    

Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

The exposition on display keeps changing. Some objects continue to be used in films, and some are here for eternity. If you sign up for a tour, you will get a chance to see historical attires, coaches, retro bikes and cars, parts of props, and occasionally whole streets of props: a village street with a dirt road, or medieval street with gloomy facades. Sometimes you can get into the studios, but not when filming is in progress. The makeup room is fun with its countless fake ears, noses, bellies, arms, legs and other body parts.   

The State Museum of Oriental Art
This is a serious collection of artifacts, which had never been under the same roof before 1918. On display and in its cellars, the museum boasts some 150,000 art objects from a hundred countries of Central Asia, the Caucasus and Transсaucasia, Middle East and Far East. The Museum of Oriental Art does more than merely showcase Oriental cultures and history: a Research Institute with three dozen researchers is attached to it. If you are about to visit the Museum, it is a good idea to decide what you want to see. The exposition is split between countries and epochs to make navigation easier amid the plethora of artifacts. Each room has its own treasures: silks and painted partitions in the Chinese Room, dolls and puppets, including the famous two-dimensional theatrical puppets, in the Indonesian Room, house replicas in the Japanese Room, but you will find silks, gold-plating, swords and daggers almost everywhere. The museum offers well-organized lectures and applied lessons for children. This is a good place for the whole family to visit. When the kids are tired, send them to an origami class while you check out samurai armour.

This private collection of Soviet and post-Soviet art, collected by entrepreneur Alexey Ananyev, features the works of the Soviet Union's most influential artists, the trend-setters, the paterfamiliases of new genres, those whose art had inspired entire generations of artists: Isaac Brodsky, Aleksandr Deyneka, Yuri Pimenov, Sergei Gerasimov, Geliy Korzhev, Alexey and Sergei Tkachev, Tair Salakhov, and many others. The museum is housed in the building of what used to be a calico printing factory, started by a Swiss entrepreneur in 1823. The beautiful brick edifices on the river bank are the remnants of that factory. Now this is Novospassky District with offices, restaurants, health clubs, a fountain and a park. 

The museum is on the grounds of the Andronikov Monastery of the Savior, where the great Russian icon painter Andrei Rublev (1360-1428) had lived and worked, and where he was buried when he died. His grave is right by the chapel. The museum is a collection of some 5,000 icons, including priceless 15th-century masterpieces, such as the icons of Rublev's pupil Dionysius. The oldest icon on display is Our Savior of Gavshinka, a Yaroslavl icon which age is still debated by art historians. The museum was established in 1947, even though Soviet authorities generally frowned upon religion. The monastery stands on a beautiful hill overlooking the Moskva River, a good spot to watch the sunset.   

 Alexandra Krasnova/TASS

Formerly the Revolution Museum, this magnificent mansion on Tverskaya Ulitsa (Tverskaya Street) had once belonged to the local English Club. The classicist mansion, designed by Domenico Gilardi and Adam Menelas, was built in the second half of the 18th century. The museum's collection is rather motley and eclectic, but no less interesting for that. Most of it dates back to the revolutionary times of the early 1900s: homemade handguns, bayonets and explosives, an impressive collection of political posters, a few flags and the personal archives of prominent revolutionaries.

Marina Lystseva/TASS
This museum on the bank of the Khimki Reservoir is pretty small, consisting of a B-396 Project 641B diesel-powered submarine, a Skat amphibious landing vessel, an Orlyonok ram-wing assault craft, and a plaza with naval equipment and paraphernalia, e.g. an emergency buoy, a torpedo replica, and Hall's anchor with movable arms. All exhibits can be inspected in detail. Visitors are allowed inside the submarine.
Valery Sharifulin/TASS

The Battle of Borodino is one of the three largest historical panoramic paintings in Russia. According to a legend, the panorama stands where the house of a certain peasant named Frolov had stood in 1812, in which the Russian commanders had their legendary "Meeting at Fili," deciding to leave Moscow to Napoleon. There is no way of confirming that the house had actually stood there, but it was a small village, so obviously the momentous historical event took place somewhere close. The colourful panoramic painting of enormous proportions, commemorating the grandiose Battle of Borodino, was created by Franz Roubaud, a famous panoramic artist in the 19th century, the paterfamilias of the Russian school of battle scene painting. His other sensational panoramic painting was Siege of Sevastopol. The Borodino panorama was unveiled in 1912 to mark the hundred-year anniversary of the Battle of Borodino. It was originally contained within a specially constructed rotunda at Chistye Prudy. It was moved to Fili for the 150th anniversary. The circumference of the painting is 115 metres (377 feet) long and 15 metres (49 feet) tall. It is one of the largest paintings in the world.

Wheelchair accessible

Pavel Smertin/TASS
This museum is part of the Poklonnaya Gora memorial complex, a monumental park in memory of the victims of World War II. Soviet architects had mulled the design of this complex from 1942 on. In the decades after the war, some of the leading Soviet architects and sculptors, the likes of Yevgeny Vuchetich and Mikhail Posokhin, would propose draft designs of the memorial and try to initiate construction, but those plans were not to be fulfilled until the 1990s, and this time the memorial was designed by Anatoly Polyansky. The museum lists some 6,000 exhibits, divided into nine sections: one dedicated to the Red Army in the years before the war, and the rest covering the progress of WWII and the Great Patriotic War. The last section is entitled "Victory."

Pavel Smertin/TASS

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art is split between four buildings in the city centre. The building at Petrovka is considered the museum's headquarters. It was here that the Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli deployed his amazing private collection in 1999, featuring such greats as Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso alongside the exponents of Moscow's avant-garde. The core of the collection, which was nearly two decades in the making, is formed by Russian art: Kazimir Malevich, Aristarkh Lentulov, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, Ilya Kabakov, Anatoly Zverev, Oscar Rabin, Vitaly Komar, and Alexander Melamid. Foreign art is also present, most notably, Juan Miro, Fernand Leger and Henri Rousseau.

Sergei Bobylev/TASS

One of the key Russian museums, the Pushkin National Museum of Fine Arts was the idea of art historian Ivan Tsvetayev, who would subsequently manage it. The museum opened on May 31, 1912, and was then named Emperor Alexander III Museum of Fine Arts. It was initially an assemblage of ancient and medieval copies and replicas, created for educational purposes and put on public display. But the collection grew and became more diversified over time. Among the additions were rare impressionist works, paintings by Sandro Botticelli, Lucas Cranach, Nicolas Poussin, and the ancient Greek artifacts unearthed by Heinrich Schliemann in the ruins of ancient Troy. The museum currently holds over half a million exhibits in its three buildings, on display and in the storerooms. The main building is dedicated to those very ancient molds and medieval copies, from which the museum began, along with icons, frescoes and artworks in different genres, but no older than the 19th century. The "Museum of Private Collections" has no exhibits of its own, being fully reserved for exhibitions of artworks from Russian and foreign private collections, organized by the museum's curators, which remain on display very long here. The Art Gallery is devoted to 19th and 20th-century European and American art and, accordingly, exhibits European and American art from the past three centuries. The famous impressionist collection is also here. Each of the buildings has one must-see exhibition or another on display all the time, for which queues start forming early in the morning. The museum has a lecture hall, for which one-time tickets are available in advance. Music concerts are given at the Pushkin Museum during holidays and festivals.

Sergei Fadeichev/TASS
No other museum has so much 20th-century Russian and Soviet art all in one place: Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Pyotr Konchalovsky, Martiros Saryan, Marc Chagall, you name it. Two floors, many vast rooms... If you wish to see everything at once, plan to spend half your day here. One or another serious exhibition is on here almost all the time, so be prepared to mingle with a huge crowd of art lovers. The museum is located between Krymskaya Naberezhnaya (Krymskaya Embankment) and the Museon Park, where you can meaningfully spend the rest of your day.

This museum of impressive proportions is a repository of the milestone artifacts of Russian and world history, from primeval times to the present. The collection holds close to 5 million items and 14 million priceless documents. The State Historical Museum, which owes its existence to Emperor Alexander III, took 11 years to be created. The building in Red Square opened to the public in 1883. It is possible to explore the whole thing in one day, but it hardly makes sense to try: there are just too many exhibits. It is believed that if you spend about one minute on each exhibit, you will need about 400 hours to see the whole collection. Visitors are advised to pay special attention to the ornate axe with the Rurik dynasty symbol, Napoleon's saber, the Codex Mosquensis II (a 9th-century Greek text of the Gospels), Blaeu's copper globe, which is taller than two metres (seven feet), crafted for Charles XI, the King of Sweden, at the end of the 17th century, and many other incredible items.
Nikolai Galkin/TASS
This museum, founded in 1967, was the idea of a group of retired Metro employees. The exhibits explore the evolution of technology and the lives of those who had worked all their life to give Moscow such underground transit system that the entire nation would be proud of. Some of the exhibition highlights are a Metro train cabin, light signals, and an impressive collection of Metro tickets and tokens from decades past.

At the moment the Museum is under reconstruction.
Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
In this interactive museum devoted to the history of the Jewish people, the multimedia display portrays Jewish life by means of installations, 4D cinema, videos, audio recordings, and archive documents. The twelve themed pavilions are housed in the Bakhmetyevsky Garage, a Constructivist landmark built by Konstantin Melnikov and Vladimir Shukhov in 1927. But this museum, created on the initiative of the Federation of the Jewish Communities of Russia, is not only about the exhibits. It also serves as an educational resource hub with a large exposition, a Tolerance Centre, Avant-garde Centre, research facility, children's centre, and rooms for temporary exhibitions.

Nikolai Galkin/TASS
This is Moscow's main repository of Russian art. In every room you will find paintings every Russian knows from childhood: Three Bogatyrs and Alyonushka by Viktor Vasnetsov, The Unknown Woman by Ivan Kramskoi, Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan by Ilya Repin, Morning in a Pine Forest by Ivan Shishkin and Konstantin Savitsky, The Apotheosis of War by Vasily Vereshchagin, Demon Seated by Mikhail Vrubel, and many other great works of art. Both the building and the collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery, opened in the late 1800s, were constantly changed and expanded. The core collection is made up of the paintings collected by Pavel Tretyakov, an eminent local patron of the arts. When his private collection became too large for an ordinary home, the collector decided to have a gallery built, where to put all his art treasures on display for everyone to see. It is important to remember that Tretyakov collected the paintings of people he knew or was friends with, so consider hiring a tour guide. The State Tretyakov Gallery holds landmark exhibitions of Russian art, culled from the best private collections, and from the displays and storerooms of other museums.

Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

Established in 2008, Garage was one of the premiere trend-setting art galleries in Moscow. It was not a museum to begin with, but an exhibition venue, housed in the building of the Bakhmetievsky bus garage (hence the name). Garage was already a museum in 2012, when it moved into a temporary pavilion in Gorky Park. The museum found itself a permanent residence in 2015: a whole complex of buildings of the former Seasons Café, which had existed in Gorky Park since 1968. The remodelling of the buildings was designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. Now the complex looks like a miniature replica of the Central House of Artists. Artists are learning to feel at home in the new Garage space, owned by Darya Zhukova, the founder of Iris Foundation for the Promotion and Support of Art, the wife of Roman Abramovich, the known entrepreneur and former governor of Chukotka. So far this year, the new Garage has hosted the shows of some big-name artists, including Eric Bulatov (Russia), Katharina Grosse (Germany), and Yayoi Kusama (Japan).

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