Museum of the Revolution of the USSR

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Museum of the Revolution of the USSR


(since 1968, Central Order of Lenin Museum of the Revolution of the USSR), a museum founded by the decision of May 9, 1924, of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR. It opened in October 1924 in Moscow, at 21 Gorky Street, in an 18th-century building. From 1831 to 1917, the building housed the English Club, which was frequented by A. S. Pushkin, P. Ia. Chaadaev, L. N. Tolstoy, and other distinguished Russians. In November 1922, in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the October Revolution, the exhibition “Red Moscow” opened in the building. In July 1923, the exhibition was reworked into the Moscow Museum of Revolutionary History, which served as the basis for the Museum of the Revolution of the USSR. The exhibition covered the history of the revolutionary movement in Russia beginning with the peasant movements of the 17th century. In 1939, the museum’s orientation was revised and it became a museum of the history of the Great October Socialist Revolution and of Soviet society.

In 1924–25 there were 59,000 exhibit units in the museum’s exhibitions and reserve stock; in 1974 there were about 1 million. The museum’s holdings on the history of the international revolutionary labor and communist movements contain materials in 33 languages from 86 countries. The museum contains the personal belongings of F. E. Dzerzhinskii, la. M. Sverdlov, M. I. Kalinin, M. V. Frunze, G. K. Ordzhonikidze, V. V. Kuibyshev, G. I. Kotovskii, V. I. Chapaev, S. Lazo, M. Zalka, I. D. Cherniakhovskii, and Z. A. Kosmodem’ianskaia. The museum has a vast collection of pictures by Russian and Soviet painters, works of applied art by the peoples of the USSR, and revolutionary, military, and labor banners and posters. The document collection (leaflets, pamphlets, books, and photographs) is of great historical value. The library has more than 250,000 books, newspapers, and journals. In 1974, the museum’s exhibition filled 50 halls. The exhibits dealt with the period from the late 19th century to the present and were arranged in chronological order in conformity with the periodization of Soviet historiography.

The museum has the dioramas “Heroic Presnia” (1905) and “The Storming of the Winter Palace on Oct. 26 (Nov. 8), 1917.” Documentary films are shown in the museum. From 1924 through 1974, more than 30 million persons visited the Museum of the Revolution of the USSR and its branches (the Krasnaia Presnia Museum of the History of the Revolution and the Underground Printing Press of the Central Committee of the RSDLP in the 1905–06 Years; both located in Moscow). Every year there are more than 12,000 tours through the museum. Special exhibitions devoted to historical dates and events are frequently held.

The Museum of the Revolution of the USSR engages in educational work; it organizes meetings with veterans of the Revolution, heroes of the Civil War (1918–20) and the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), foremost people in industry, scholars, and writers. The museum assists Museums of the Revolution of Union republics and departments of the history of Soviet society at other museums. It publishes documents and materials on the Great October Socialist Revolution and Soviet society, memoirs of participants in the revolutionary movement and in socialist construction, museum guides, and catalogs. The museum was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1967.


Giliarovskii, V. Ot Angliiskogo kluba k Muzeiu Revoliutsii. Moscow, 1926.
Zaks, A. B. “Iz istorii Gosudarstvennogo muzeia Revoliutsii SSSR (1924–1932 gg.).” Tr. Nauchno-issledovatel’skogo in-ta muzeevedeniia, 1963, issue 10.
Tsentral’nyi ordena Lenina Muzei Revoliutsii SSSR: Putevoditel’. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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