Undoubtedly, Moscow is the leader in both the number and quality of the museums. Today there are numerous leisure options available for those who are interested in Russian history, art, architecture, space and so much more with formats ranging from classical history museum to more non-standard alternatives.
The architectural ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin together with the Armory Chamber and the Diamond Fund located inside the Kremlin walls need no introduction. These museums together with the Red Square are number one on all “Must See” lists for the tourists travelling to the capital (and it is definitely hard to disagree with them :)).
In case you already visited the Kremlin or would like to do something different below is a list of wonderful Moscow museums definitely worth seeing!
Museum of Cosmonautics
111 Prospekt Mira, VDNKh subway station
Open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm; on Thursday and Sunday – from 10 am to 9 pm. Monday is a day-off.
The 20th century was marked by great achievements in space exploration. The technological progress in this field was boosted by the race of the two counties – the United States and the former Soviet Union. The goal was to be the first country in history to send a man into space and the Moon. The USSR won the first “battle”: in 1957 the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1 was put into orbit. Later in 1961 the whole world celebrated the launch of the first man into space. On April 12th Yuri Gagarin accomplished a flight into outer space that lasted 108 minutes. For his heroism Gagarin was awarded the title - “Hero of the Soviet Union”. Soon, in 1963 his achievement was repeated by Valentina Tereshkova - the first woman in space. In 1965 Alexei Leonov became the first man to accomplish a “spacewalk”. Finally, in 1986 the space station “Mir” was successfully put into orbit. During its existence, the station has witnessed more than 78 spacewalks and hosted 104 astronauts from 14 countries.
To learn more about these remarkable events and the history of space exploration in Russia and other countries you can visit the Museum of Cosmonautics. The exposition consists of more than 98 000 artifacts including historical documents, spacesuits, an authentic spacecraft, personal belongings of astronauts, and even the replica of the space station “Mir”. The interactive environment of the museum will be interesting for both children and adults.
State Tretyakov Gallery
Lavrushinsky lane, 10
Krymsky Val, 10
Open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm; on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm. Monday is a day-off.
The State Tretyakov Gallery is one of Russia’s largest art galleries and hosts an incredible collection of predominantly Russian artists. The museum’s collection includes more than 190,000 paintings, icons and sculptures of various eras and art traditions. The art gallery is named after the great Russian merchant and patron of arts Pavel Tretyakov. During his lifetime he supported several medical and educational institutions, generously contributed to geographical expeditions and had a passion for the Russian art. Tretyakov managed to promote local artists to the public in times when national art was not very popular.
The Tretyakov museum has two main buildings. First, is the historical building on Lavrushinsky lane, where you can see the collections of Russian art from 11th to 20th centuries, including famous masterpieces of Rublev, Repin, Serov, Vasnetsov, Surikov, Aivazovsky and many others. The second building on Krymsky Val exhibits the collection of avant-garde, social realism and other art trends of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Russia, Volkhonka 14
The main building is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 8 pm. Monday is a day-off.
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts collection consists of European and world works of art. The gallery was founded in 1898. Today, the museum has over 670 000 exhibits, including paintings, sculptures, architectural monuments, photographs and much more. Some of the exhibits date back to Ancient Egypt and antiquity while others are modern demonstrating the more recent artistic and cultural trends. This is the second largest collection of world art in Russia after the Hermitage Museum in Saint-Petersburg.
One of the greatest masterpieces of the museum is the actual main building itself. The shape of the gallery reflects the architectural traditions of the antique Greek temples. The massive design and arched glass ceiling were unprecedented for museums of the 19th century.
The museum gained popularity immediately after it opened and still keeps attracting more than one million visitors each year. Among the most valuable exhibits you can find the works of Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, August Renoir, Marc Chagall, Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Picasso and many others.
The Victory Museum
Ploschad Pobedy, 3
The museum is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10 am to 8.30 pm; on Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 9.30 pm. Monday is a day-off.
Every year on May 9th Russia celebrates the Victory Day – the holiday commemorating the victory of the Soviet Union and its allies over Nazi Germany. The Victory Museum opened on the 50th anniversary of the Victory Day and is dedicated to the memory of the tragic wartime events and the heroism of the Soviet soldiers.
The main exhibition consists of more than 60, 000 artifacts, including the personal belongings of soldiers, military uniform and weapons, letters and rare photographs. The interactive 3D installations with audio and video effects immerse visitors in the atmosphere of World War II. Besides, the museum has 6 impressive dioramas dedicated to the most significant operations: “Counter-offensive of Soviet troops near Moscow in December 1941”, “The Battle of Stalingrad. Connecting Fronts”, “Leningrad blockade”, “The Battle of Kursk”, “Forcing the Dnieper”, and the “Storming of Berlin”.
The exposition continues beyond the museum’s building. Behind the museum, in the Victory Park there is an open-air exhibit of military equipment, machinery and even planes once used by both the Allies and the Axis powers. Besides, an artificial pond has been created in the area to display the samples of wartime boats and submarines.
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
Obraztsova St., 11, build. 1A
The museum is open on Monday from 10 am to 3 pm; from Sunday to Thursday – from 12 pm to 10 pm. Saturday is a day-off.
The Jewish Museum stands out from a number of other museums in terms of the way it connects the historical content with the latest trends of media technologies. The interactive environment of the museum turns the learning process into a game. This format, also called “edutainment”, is perfectly suited for both adults and children.
The museum depicts the history of the Jewish people in the world with a special focus on Russia. At the beginning of the visit the guests are invited to watch a short 4D movie on the origins of the Jewish nation and biblical episodes. In the next eleven sections, the museum recreates interactive spaces dedicated to various periods in the life of the Jewish people. One on of them, for example, immerses us into a small Jewish settlement called “Shtetl”, the only area where the Jews were allowed to live during a certain period in Imperial Russia. Another hall reflects the atmosphere of the famous café “Fanconi” in Odessa, currently a major port in Ukraine which once was part of the Soviet Republic. Everywhere in the museum you are encouraged to touch the exhibits and the décor – with the majority of the exhibits “reacting” in a visual or audio manner! The museum creators used high-tech solutions instead of the usual showcases with valuable material artifacts - and this approach was a definite success!
Apart from hosting the exhibition the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center holds educational seminars and workshops, has its own research organization and participates in important cultural and social events.
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
Krymsky Val st., 9/32
The museum is open daily from 11 am to 10 pm.
The most famous contemporary art museum of Moscow is located in Gorky Park – a place with the Soviet Era past which throughout the years has been transformed into a modern cultural space adored by the locals. The place is a must for all the art-lovers and those just looking for inspiration and non-standard photo shoots;)
When looking at the museum’s building you can notice the traces of the modernist design once popular in the USSR. The “Garage Museum” opened in 2008 and mainly kept the original appearance of the Soviet restaurant that was previously located here. At the same time, the architects managed to harmoniously introduce modern design solutions and turning the museum’s building in an exhibit itself.
The museum’s interior astonishes the visitors with the vast space, variety of textures, colors, materials and shapes. The external dynamics perfectly correspond to the nature of the activities held by the institution. There is no permanent exposition: the museum regularly updates both national and international art collections. Apart from that, the Garage plays an active role in the field of artistic development and cultural education. There is a large collection of art materials available to researchers and everybody who loves art. The museum develops educational courses, lectures for children and adults, supports creative projects and hosts major art events.
Andropova Avenue, 39.
From 1 April to 30 September the museum is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 9.45 am to 5.30 pm; on Saturday – from 11 am to 7 pm. Monday is a day-off.
The 390-hectar estate is situated in the south of the city on the high bank of the Moscow river. The settlement was first mentioned in historical archives of the 14th century. In fact, the archeological research conducted in the area has discovered the traces of human existence dating back all the way to the period from the 8th to the 10th century. However, historically,
Kolomenskoye is best known as a summer residence for the Russian tsars and princes.
The highlights of the museum-reserve include the magnificent 62-metres tall Ascension church built in order to commemorate the birth of the first Russian tsar – Ivan the Terrible. Also, here you can visit the colorful Wooden Palace originally constructed in the 17th century by the order of tsar Alexei –who especially loved the residence and significantly contributed to its prosperity. During the following centuries, the estate was home to various historical figures, such as Peter the Great, empress Elizabeth and Catherine the Great. The complex suffered from fires and the Napoleon’s invasion in 1812 and had to be reconstructed several times.
Finally, in the museum area you can enjoy the beauty of the architectural complex, visit the interiors, and see the collection of icons, national vestments, precious items, and art. Alternatively, you can choose to relax in the park, rent a bike or check the souvenir shops and try local food and drinks.
These are our recommendations for you to begin your acquaintance with Moscow. Planning to travel to Saint-Petersburg? Check our list of Top-10 museums in the Russian cultural capital.