The A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum
The A. A. Bakhrushin. State Central Theatre Museum (the former Literary-Theatre Museum of the Imperial Academy of Sciences) keeps a unique collection of theatre relics of Russia. Here one may see the history of all lands and genres of theatre art from the beginning to recent times. Almost 1 500 000 exhibits are kept in the reserves of the museum: those are archives of theatre personalities, portraits of eminent actors, singers, producers, dramatists, ballet-masters, dancers, composers, painters; costumes, personal belongings and properties; set designs and sketches made by great masters of scenery; posters and programmes, photographs of artists and performances, rare books devoted to theatre art, video- and cine-documents, articles of the theatre daily life - all that keeps the memory of the theatre performance.
Alexey Alexandrovich Bakhrushin (1865-1929) who collected all these precious treasures, was born in a merchant family. He was a hereditary honorary citizen
of Moscow, an important industrialist, member of the Council of Trade and Manufacture, honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, member of the City Duma through many years, enlightener, one of the founders and leaders of the Russian Theatre Association. In the 1890s A. A. Bakhrushin started gathering his theatre collection and this became his main occupation. The day of October 29, 1894 when all those interested could get acquainted with his collection, became the birthday of the first museum of a new type in the whole world — the Theatre Museum, forerunner of the contemporary theatre, literary and music museums in Russia as well as in many other countries.
A.A. Bakhrushin placed the museum in his estate in Zamoskvorechye (district beyond the Moscow river), one of the picturesque corners in Moscow. Here in 1896 he built up the main museum premises designed by architect K. Gippius. The founder of the museum bought the neighbouring land and transformed his estate in one of the most interesting sights in Moscow which his contemporaries used to call "The Theatre Versailles in Zatsepa (area in Southern Moscow)". In 1913 A.A. Bakhrushin gave his museum and estate to the city of Moscow and handed them over to the Imperial Academy of Sciences. For this gift to the city he was awarded the decoration of St. Vladimir (Fourth degree) which meant the hereditary nobility title, and promoted to the rank of a civilian general. In the 1930s the city arthorities took away a large part of A.A. Bakhrushin's estate and transferred it to the "organizations in need". Now the museum occupies less than a half of the former estate. Nearly all the interior of the premises disappeared and now only photographs can give us an idea about the estate of A.A. Bakhrushin. The entrance-hall of the building keeps its original shape.
Due to the lack of space the museum displays a relatively small part of its abundant reserves. The acquaintance with the museum exhibits displayed in six rooms starts with the studyroom of A.A. Bakhrushin.
Studyroom of A.A. Bakhrushin.
The Bakhrushin family became famous in the last century for creating traditions of charity and patronage of art in Moscow. They gave to the city a hospital, the first maternity home, orphanages, asylums for the diseased,
theatre buildings, churches, schools, houses with flats free of charge. They granted to Moscow some interesting collections which are now kept, in particular, in the State Museum of History, and gave to Russia a unique theatre collector, Alexey Alexandrovich Bakhrushin. The personal belongings of A.A.Bakhrushin displayed in his study-room are an eloquent evidence of his special predilection for theatre art. In the beginning the museum displayed articles of the theatre daily life: ballet slippers, personal belongings of actors, dedicated photographs, etc. Later A.A. Bakhrushin became a competent professional theatre historian and his collection of theatre relics turned into a treasury of the national and world theatre.
Studyroom of A.A. Bakhrushin
The activities of A.A. Bakhrushin represent the noble traditions of the Russian business: charity, patronage of art, work for the good of one's Motherland, contributions to the promotion of culture.
The sources of the Russian national theatre
The puppet-show, the mask of the buffoon, the puppet characters: the famous Pertrushka (Punch), the Goat Maria Ivanovna - those are the exhibits
demonstrating the initial period of the Russian theatre and its folk sources. Here one can see authentic documents and materials on the history of private theatres of the Russian aristocracy - a purely Russian phenomenon which gave the first opera composers and brilliant actors to the national culture. Now their names are covered with glory.
Articles of the theatre
In the 18th century the national culture has been formed and the professional theatre appeared in Russia. The visitors may see portraits of the first Russian actors, rare publications, documents depicting the life and work of F.G. Volkov, IA. Dmitrevsky, Y.D Shumsky, T.M. Troepolskaya, A.P. Sumarokov and others.
The Russian theatre of the 19-th early 20-th centuries
Documents depicting the culmination of the development of the national professional theatre are displayed in this room. It was the time of the birth and flourishing of theatre realism, the formation of the national drama, the creation of new producers' schools. This time owes its glory tc M.S. Shchepkin, E.S. Semenova, P.S. Mochalov, V.A. Karatygin, M.N. Ermolova, V.F. Komissanhevskaya, K.S. Stanislavsky and others.
The Russian theatre
of the 19-th century
This period is connected with the names of great Russian writers — A.S. Pushkin, N.V. Gogol, A.S. Griboedov I.S. Tuigenev, L.N. Tolstoy, A.N. Ostrovsky, A.P. Chekhov. whose works reflect all aspects of the people's life and the Russian soul.
of the 19th c.
In the exhibition devoted to the Russian musical theatre the visitors may see, in particular, set designs of the first perfomances of operas by M.I. Glinka which laid the foundations of the Russian opera. The ballet art so much admired by A.A. Bakhrushin, is displayed in images o: famous ballet-dancers A.I. Istomina, M. Taglioni, T.P. Karsavina, A.P. Pavlova, in costumes and set designs by painters who were members of the "Art World" association. Old theatre posters and photographs represent not only the theatres in both capital cities — Moscow and St. Petersburg but also the theatre province.
On the turn of the century the theatre was characterized by complicated aesthetics determined by the pre-revolutionary period of crisis when various artistic trends clashed with each other. At that time the producer's profession has beer formed. New theatres were established: the Moscow Arts Theatre led by K.S. Stanislavsky and V.I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, the Chamber Theatre led by A. Y. Tairov, etc. The first innovatory experiments of V.E. Meierhold drew the attention of the public and provoked debates: those were his new means of creating an integral artistic image of the performance, the elaboration and practical implementation of the theory of the grotesque and conventional theatre.
The avant-garde theatre of the 1920 s.
The exhibition gives a chance to get acquainted with the formation of new aesthetics and the strivings of theatre personalities who worked after 1917. The sketches of perfomances, costume and set designs created by painters like A.A. Ekster, A.M. Rodchenko, A.A. Vesnin, L.S. Popova, A.V. Lentulov help reconstitute the panorama of the complicated development of the theatre in those years. Great masters like K.S. Stanislavsky, V.E. Meierhold, E.B. Vakhtangov, A.Y. Tairov, M.A. Chekhov, M.A. Bulgakov, V.V. Mayakovsky were in the forefront of this complicated process. The search for new ways to revive the theatre led to the enrichment of the theatre language, to the creation of new technical devices. The Russian avant-garde theatre deeply influenced the development of the theatre in the whole world.
Theatre of the 1920 s.
The room of F.I. Shalyapin
The ground floor (it was here that of A.A. Bakhrushin started gathering his collection) displays the work of Fedor Ivanovich Shalyapin (1873-1938). A.A. Bakhrushin has been the first to collect documents on the life of the great singer. Among the exhibits we may see photographs, personal belongings, portraits of the artist and drawings of F.I. Shalyapin himself, his sculptural self-portrait, etc. Numerous documents display various periods of F.I. Shalyapin's work, his first success in Ufa, his perfomances in the Bolshoy and Mariinsky theatres, his tours abroad... Here one can listen to the authentic voice of the singer: those are recordings of his best roles (Boris Godunov, Mephistopheles, etc). The costumes in which the great artist played his roles are carefully kept in the back part of the room.
The room of F.I. Shalyapin
The exhibitions hall
In the life-time of the collector guests were received in this room. It was here that in 1913 A.A. Bakhrushin solemnly handed over his museum to the Imperial Academy of Sciences and the city of Moscow. The official ceremony was attended by many eminent personalities of the Russian culture like K.S. Stanislavsky, V.I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, I.A. Bunin, A.A. Yablochkina, M.N. Ermolova, A.I. Yuzhin and others led by the Grand Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich, President of the Academy of Sciences.
in a theatre costume
Today the museum organizes here exhibitions devoted to important theatre events of the past and present. In this room one may see the treasures of theatre history which are kept in the reserves of the museum.
The A.A. Bakhrushin Theatre Museum, the largest collection of monuments of theatre art, is wellknown in the whole world. Its exhibitions are organized in our country and abroad.
The collections of the museum are also displayed in its branches in Moscow:
The estate of dramatist A.N. Ostrovsky
9, Malaya Ordynka str.
The House-Museum of M.N. Ermolova
11, Tverskoy boulevard
The House-Museum of M.S. Shchepkin
47, Shchepkin str.
The Apartment-Museum of V.E. Meierhold
12, Nezhdanova str.
The Theatre Salon
11, bldg. 2, Tverskoy boulevard
The Museum organizes exhibitions of its collections, daily excursions, series
of lectures on history of the drama, opera and ballet theatre, concerts,
theatre parties, demonstrations of video- and cinerecordings of masterpieces
of the Russian and word theatre.
The museum in open daily except Tuesday and the last Monday of each month
The address of the museum: 113054, 31, Bakhrushin str., Moscow.
Nearest: "Paveletskaya" station metro
Phone: (095) 233 44 70