Central Lenin Museum

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Central Lenin Museum


(full name, Central V. I. Lenin Museum of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the CPSU in Moscow).

In 1924, the Thirteenth Congress of the RCP(B), in its resolution concerning the opening of the Lenin Institute, assigned the Central Committee to organize a museum division at the institute that would be open to visitors. At the same time that materials were collected for the institute, the museum’s collections were acquired. Members of the Ul’ianov family, N. K. Krupskaia, and Lenin’s comrades-in-arms provided valuable assistance in the documenting of Lenin’s life and work. The first exhibition, which opened May 31, 1924, was housed in the building at 24 Bol’shaia Dmitrovka (now Pushkin Street) and contained a historical and a memorial section; by 1930 there were 12 rooms. In 1931 the museum moved to 8 Bol’shoi Znamenskii Lane (now Gritsevets Street); in 1934 there were about 9, 000 exhibits in its collection.

In 1935, the Central Committee of the ACP(B) and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR adopted a decision to transfer the Central Lenin Museum to a building on Revolution Square; it was opened May 15, 1936. By 1973 there were about 400, 000 exhibit items in the museum’s collection; its 34 rooms contained about 15, 000 exhibits. Among these exhibits were numerous copies of Lenin’s manuscripts and first editions of his books and pamphlets; original issues of Iskra, Vpered, Proletarii, Sotsial-demokrat, Zvezda, Pravda, and other newspapers containing Lenin’s articles; and leaflets, appeals, first decrees of Soviet power, and resolutions of the Council of People’s Commissars written and signed by Lenin. The exhibition contains many of Lenin’s personal belongings; rare photographs, paintings, sculptures, and drawings of Lenin; memorial gifts from the Soviet people to Lenin; and many other materials associated with Lenin’s life and work. Many exhibits were sent as gifts to the museum from socialist countries, for example, a model of the printing office in Leipzig where the first issue of Iskra was printed, and from the communist and workers’ parties of capitalist and developing countries.

The documents and materials of the Central Lenin Museum reveal Lenin’s work in formulating a theory of revolution and creating a new type of Marxist party; they depict Lenin as the greatest theorist, strategist, and leader of the Great October Socialist Revolution and the international communist and workers’ movement and as the founder and head of the world’s first workers’ and peasants’ state. Several rooms contain exhibits showing how the Soviet people under the leadership of the CPSU and the peoples of the socialist countries under the leadership of their Marxist-Leninist parties are carrying out the behests of Lenin. Other exhibits depict the CPSU’s work in uniting the world communist movement at its present stage. The museum provides lectures for visitors on the life and revolutionary activity of Lenin, as well as on contemporary problems of party history; lectures are given in foreign languages for foreign guests. The lectures are enhanced by the use of slide projectors, tape recorders, and illuminated maps. Documentary films about Lenin are shown in an auditorium.

The museum’s exhibition is continually acquiring and displaying new materials that help explain more fully Lenin’s ideological legacy and the most important decisions of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Soviet government. Many new materials were added to the exhibition in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, the 100th anniversary of the birth of V. I. Lenin, the 50th anniversary of the formation of the USSR, and the 70th anniversary of the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. Between 1924 and 1973, more than 40 million people visited the museum, including representatives of 102 foreign countries. In 1974, the museum received the Order of Lenin.

The museum is a theoretical base for the study of primary sources on Lenin’s life and the history of the CPSU. The museum holds lectures, seminars, and readings from the works of Lenin for the active party propagandists of Moscow and Moscow Oblast. It also conducts classes about Lenin and his work for young people and meetings with party veterans and notable people of the USSR. Admission to the Young Pioneers and the Komsomol, the taking of the military oath of allegiance by young soldiers, and other types of public activity have become traditional functions at the museum.

The Central Lenin Museum conducts scholarly research with its branches in Leningrad (opened 1937), Tbilisi (1938), Kiev (1938), Ul’ianovsk (1941), L’vov (1950), Baku (1955), and Tashkent (1970) and with Lenin memorial museums throughout the USSR. The branch museums follow the work methods of the Central Lenin Museum; they make use of local material.

House-museums of V. I. Lenin are located in Ul’ianovsk, where the U’ianov family lived from 1878 to 1887 (opened in 1923 as a museum of the history of the Revolution, in 1929 it became a memorial museum; in 1970 an apartment-museum was opened at the Lenin Memorial in Ul’ianovsk); in Kazan (opened in 1937, its displays are devoted to the life and work of Lenin from 1887 to 1889); and in the village of Lenino-Kokushkino, 40 km from Kazan (opened in 1939, it covers the childhood and youthful years of Lenin and his first exile). There are house-museums in Kuibyshev, where the Ul’ianov family lived from 1889 to 1893 (opened 1939); in the village of Shushenskoe, Krasnoiarsk Krai (opened in 1938; in 1970 the memorial open-air museum complex named “The Siberian Exile of V. I. Lenin” was opened); in Ufa (opened in 1941, it records Lenin’s and N. K. Krupskaia’s stay in that city in 1900); in Pskov, where Lenin held a covert conference of Social Democrats concerning the publication of the newspaper Iskra and the journal Zaria (Dawn) in 1900 (opened in 1938; in 1960 an apartment where Lenin lived from February to May 1900 was turned into a museum); and in Riga, where Lenin in April 1900 covertly stayed with M. A. Sil’vin (opened in 1961; in 1970 an apartment in which, in 1900, Lenin held a conference with Latvian Social Democrats was opened as a museum). Other house-museums are located in Podol’sk, where Lenin lived in the summer of 1900 (opened 1937); in Gorki Leninskie, where Lenin lived and worked intermittently between 1918 and 1924 (opened Jan. 21, 1949); and in Kostino, where Lenin stayed from Jan. 17 through Mar. 1, 1922 (opened 1939).

V. I. Lenin’s Funeral Train was placed on exhibition on Jan. 21, 1948, in Moscow and Lenin’s office and apartment in the Moscow Kremlin were opened for visitors in 1924.

In Leningrad and its environs 11 houses and apartments where Lenin lived in 1894–95 and 1917–18 are museums. Also museums are the site of the historic meeting of the Central Committee of the RSDLP(B) under Lenin’s leadership, during which the decision for an armed uprising was adopted, and the Smol’nyi Institute, where the headquaters of the October armed uprising was located, meetings of the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets were held, and the first Soviet government worked. The barn and hut in Razliv where Lenin took refuge from the persecutions of the bourgeois Provisional Government are museums. Other places associated with Lenin’s life and work include Vyborg and the settlement of Il’ichevo, Vyborg Raion, Leningrad Oblast.

The Central Lenin Museum and its branches assist Lenin museums abroad in improving and replenishing their exhibitions; they also exchange scholarly information and documents and traveling exhibitions with foreign Lenin museums. There are Lenin museums in Czechoslovakia (Prague and Bratislava), Poland (Warsaw, Kraków, Poronino, and Bialy Dunajec), the German Democratic Republic (Leipzig), the Mongolian People’s Republic (Ulan Bator), Finland (Tampere), and France (an apartment-museum in Paris).


Lenin 1870–1924. Moscow, 1970. (Album.)
Po zalam Tsentral’nogo muzeia V. I. Lenina: Kratkii putevoditel’. Moscow, 1968.
Mushtukov, V. E. , and P. E. Nikitin. Zdes’zhil i rabotal Lenin, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1967. [Kapranova, A. N. , and A. I. Tomul’.] Dom-muzei V. I. Lenina ν Ul’ianovske. [Moscow] 1970.
Sibirskaia ssylka V. I. Lenina: Shushenskii memorial’nyi muzei-zapovednik [Krasnoiarsk, 1970.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The most significant closure was that of the Central Lenin Museum in Moscow, foremost of the Lenin museums.

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