Experts Name the Top 8 Moscow Museums with FREE Admission Worth Visiting for Moscow Day

88 Moscow museums will be open to the public for free this upcoming weekend, September 10-11. This is a perfect City Day gift from the Moscow administration to all citizens craving spiritual food. However, obviously even the most intellectual and pumped museum visitor might be lost with such a huge selection.

Moskvaer is to the rescue! We asked authoritative experts about which of the museums and exhibitions are worthy your attention, so the list of 88 was cut down to just 8. Seems bearable, right?

Cyril Zhilkin, Artist & Curator of the “Poligraphichesky Ceh” Art Space:

The State Museum of GULAG  and The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics

I would recommend visiting The State Museum of GULAG because the history of repression is something that you should really think about, not just gloss over; and because the people that faced this horror should be retained, not just remembered occasionally.

I’d also recommend the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics. The idea of space exploration and its brilliant implementation coincided with the period of recovery after the Second World War for a reason–the world needed something that could potentially bring people together, and space has become such a beautiful goal. Now we are again sorely lacking something similar. So let’s stop fighting and start spending money on the colonization of distant planets.


Alexander Akishin, Urbanist, Expert on Urban Development:

The All-Russian Decorative Art Museum

I’ve never seen this museum included in any lists of the mandatory places to visit in Moscow. Although it provides an excellent collection of artifacts that demonstrate the extent to which life has turned to Russia with the onset of the twentieth century.

Painted chests and cabinets typical for the peasants in northern villages look now as a real revelation on irretrievably lost traditions and aesthetics. The exhibits of the Soviet period, in contrast, surprise with their unprincipled eclecticism: propaganda porcelain, lace napkins overgrown with portraits of Soviet leaders to their full height (riding horses!).

In the museum, there are also absolutely beautiful household items such as lacquer miniature, elegant furniture by Russian masters of the Art Nouveau era, the Soviet avant-garde chintz,– all that is now vulgarized by souvenir sellers. The geography and coverage of the museum’s collection is very impressive, definitely recommended to visit!


Vera Trakhtenberg, Art Critic, Chief Curator of the NCCA Museum Funds:

MMOMA on Ermolaevsky, Ground Peschanaya Gallery and Winzavod

First of all, I recommend that everyone visits the personal exhibition of Valery Chtak “In my case–in any case” in MMOMA on Ermolaevsky. In general, I would highly recommend all the exhibitions held by MMOMA in Moscow, no matter which site exactly.

“In my case–in any case” is a total installation, which consists of several thematic sections that talk about the identity of the artist with a great sense of humor. A subcultural cluster, a music studio, a workshop, and other phenomena of that sort are manifested in it by a specific artist’s symbolic language. Chtak in his exhibition answers the question of who is a contemporary artist, and what it’s like to be an artist nowadays.

Also I recommend visiting the gallery workshop Ground Peschanaya and its upcoming Book market–the first of a series of such events. On September 10th Svetlana Baskova, Igor Shulinsky and Misha Buster will recall the book publishing of the dashing 90’s, being apparently nostalgic for such magazines as Ptyuch and Radek.

In addition, do not hesitate to make a promenade through the Moscow Contemporary Art Center Winzavod: on September 10 START will operate a personal exhibition of a young Russian artist Ksenia Kudrina there on the court.


Elena Komarenko, Curator, Collector and Director of the “73 Street” Gallery:

The Museum of the History of Moscow and Belyayevo Gallery

Former provision stores on Zubovsky Boulevard are now occupied by The Museum of the History of Moscow. This place  is interesting, first of all, due to its architecture. It’s a group of warehouse-like buildings in ampere style that have historical meaning and that in the past belonged to The Ministry of Defense. Now they’re filled with cultural meanings, and I like that the museum constantly develops in these terms.


Here you can find different exhibitions, lectures, and workshops both for adults and kids. In the yard, the museum usually holds summer festivals, concerts and different celebrations. A favorite holiday of Muscovites–Flea Market–is also held on the territory of the Museum.

There is also the Center of Documentary and Excursion Bureau.

On Moscow Day The Museum of the History of Moscow will hold a festival called “Museum and the City”. On September 10-11 we can visit a couple of exhibitions, a theater performance, a children’s workshop and also a poetic event called “Moscow Text” where familiar names of Moscow subway stations will find their literary implications.

I think it’s good to spend such holidays with family or friends. However, you should be prepared to accompany your visit to The Museum of the History of Moscow with persistent patriotism and respect for the city authorities since you can hardly find a place to park your car even within a kilometer around.

But this issue is devoid of another point on our map of interesting places–Belyayevo Gallery on Profsoyuznaya Street: luckily it has its own parking. This state institution began its history as a venue for non-conformist performances, and today has become a cultural and educational center, which hosts exhibitions, musical and theatrical performances and owns the design bureau, a training center and an art shop.

My first visit to the Belyayevo Gallery was for the festival of naive art “Festnaiv”, and I liked both the atmosphere that prevailed there and the exhibition itself, which attracted many visitors. On September 10th for Moscow Day, the gallery will offer you the chance to take part in a street action called “Open Workshops”.

The space in front of the gallery promises to be divided into several thematic zones and to be filled with a variety of cultural and educational master classes for adults and children. It’s got to be interesting.

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