Opened in 2004, the Gulag History Museum is the only museum in Russia devoted to Joseph Stalin’s legacy of terror in the early to mid-20th century. Founded by a former labor camp prisoner, it tells the stories of the creation of the first labor camps in 1918, the formation of the Gulag system in the 1930s, the expulsion of Germans from the Volga region and the mass deportations in the 1940s. To give visitors a small sense of what the camps may have been like, the museum features a reconstruction of some aspects of the camps, including a barracks, a punishment cell, an investigator’s office and a guard’s watchtower.
Visitors will also learn of the personal stories of gulag victims, with exhibits displaying documents, letters and memoirs of those sent to the camps by Stalin, as well as a collection of art by former gulag prisoners. Contemporary artists have also contributed pieces of art with their interpretation of the labor camps.
The Gulag History Museum is located at 1-y Samotechniy Pereulok 9, Building 1, and is accessible from the Dostoevskaya and Novoslobodskaya metro stations. It is open most days from 11am to 7pm (Thursdays from noon to 9pm) but is closed on Mondays and on the last Friday of the month. Admission is 150 rubles for adults, but the third Sunday of each month features free admission. All information in the museum is available in English, while audio guides are offered in English, Russian, German, French, Spanish, and Chinese.