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“Fascinating museum detailing grim history of the Gulags” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of State Museum of GULAG's History

State Museum of GULAG's History
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Communist Moscow: Evening Walking Tour
Ranked #110 of 2,388 things to do in Moscow
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The large-scale exhibition "The national remembrance of the GULAG" opened on the 30th October 2015 in a new building of the GULAG History State Museum. The exhibition is organized as a chain of altering expositional areas, representing the recollections of the epoch of the political repressions to visitors. The central part of the exposition includes clothes, documents, photographs, "voices" of witnesses from the collections of dozens Russian museums, associated by the GULAG's history. The map of USSR with marked points of labor camps, camp administration and the amount of prisoners in different periods displays the geographical length and broadness of the exhibition. One of the main purposes of this exhibition project consists of enlightening the theme of the maintenance our historical remembrance of the terror and the GULAG, in promoting the profound comprehension and perception of the Soviet period in the Russian history, in connecting museums of the remembrance from the various Russian regions.
Cheshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
438 reviews
173 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 312 helpful votes
“Fascinating museum detailing grim history of the Gulags”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2012

We hired a local tour guide to take us to the museum. This was invaluable as a lot of the exhibits are labelled in Russian and the museum guide did not speak English. Our English speaking guide was able to translate the museum guides explanations for us and explain the history of the Gulag and the exhibits. The museum is very small, basic and tucked away on a side street; but the history it tells is historically very important. This is not a place for the faint hearted as the history is both brutal and appalling.

Visited May 2011
2 Thank Sue L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Sammamish, Washington
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Interesting for a quick visit, don't expect much more”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 25, 2011

It is fascinating to read the displays about the gulag system - the true extent of it, the personal stories. But other than one large room, there isn't much there.

Visited November 2011
1 Thank MTNWA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Fascinating but neglected”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2011

This is worth checking out as appreciating the full horrors of the GULAG system is essential for any visit to Russia but overall the museum itself is pretty lacklustre. We happened to be there when they showed a film in English which was very shocking/informative. Without the film, I'd have been a little let down by the visit so be sure to try and co-incide your visit with its timetable. Still this is the only museum dedicated to the GULAG so its still better than nothing. You also need to bring your own guide, we used Airat and from the Free Moscow Tour company and he was excellent

Visited November 2011
1 Thank Thelilaussiebattler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Level Contributor
43 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Interesting if you already know and appreciate the history”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 1, 2011

The State Museum of the History of the Gulag (Государственный музей истории ГУЛАГа) is a small, municipal (name notwithstanding) museum tucked away in an almost unseen courtyard in downtown Moscow only a few hundred yards removed from the glitz of Petrovka St. I was looking for it and walked right past, only realizing a few seconds later that the guard in front of the nondescript door had to be there for a reason. The entrance (as depicted on their web site) is striking, what with barbed wire, a guard tower, and all.

Inside, things are a lot more humble, though. The main part of the museum is on the upper level, where there are three rooms, one quite large, full of various things owned by former gulag inmates. The exhibits are interspersed with artwork of varying degrees of quality inspired by the horrors of the gulag. I appreciated some of the drawings and paintings. Everything from journals to clothes of gulag inmates is on display. There are also lots of period photographs. The museum is especially proud of their full-wall map showing the extent of the gulag, which stretched across the massive expanse of the Soviet Union. On the main floor, there is a room that has been recreated to look like a barrack in the gulag. The isolation cell is especially chilling.

Most of the artwork and pieces on display are labeled in English and in Russian, but the detailed explanations are only in Russian. You can order (call ahead) a guided tour in English, if you want, but the cost is quite high (700 rubles at the time of this writing) for the small museum. For those who speak Russian, the tour is led by a museum employee dressed in a gulag guard's uniform. It looked cool.) Teenagers in the museum while I was there seemed to find the barrack quite interesting, but overall, there's not much there for the younger crowd (stairs, no elevator; no room to leave bags, coats, or strollers). Having just read Anne Applebaum's seminal work on the gulag, I found the exhibits interesting, but think the museum misses the mark. It would've been more interesting, especially for a wider audience, if it had more on the general history of the gulag instead of focusing only on a few of the individuals who had to suffer through its horrors.

If you've got a couple hours to spare and are interested in history or already know about the gulag, you'll probably find this museum interesting and worth the 200 rubles to get in (it's another 200 to take pictures, but there's not really much to take pictures of).

Visited October 2011
3 Thank UtahJohn22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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