The Mikhail Bulgakov Museum was founded in 1989 as a branch of the Kyiv History Museum.
Mikhail Bulgakov — the world-famous writer — is one of the most prominent personalities with which Kyiv is associated. This is particularly true for the tourist-filled Andriyivsky Descent — the street where the great writer lived with his family and where he “lodged” the heroes of his immortal novel The White Guard. Now the legendary house at number 13, Andriyivsky Descent has remained the most impressive and frequently visited museum in Kyiv.
The museum’s collection has about four thousand exhibits. 500 for these are original Bulgakov relicts, such as personal belongings, books, autographs, and original photos. But the central exhibit is the house itself. From 1906 to 1919, the large Bulgakov family lived here, occupying seven rooms on the second floor. By the end of the 20th century, the house fell into decay, and therefore, required a large-scale restoration. The museum creators managed not only to resurrect the legendary house, but also to save some details of that time, including stove tiles, antique flooring, part of the front door, windows and door handles.
The museum’s exhibits seem frozen in time and the house the same as it was 100 years ago. But the space is warm and cozy and love and hospitality reign in every corner. The museum’s concept is based on the interweaving of two worlds: real one, represented by the Bulgakov family’s original belongings, and fictional one, connected with Turbin family — the heroes of the The White Guard. The objects of the Turbin’s painted in white. In this way, the museum manages to combine both reality and fiction.
The museum’s exposition occupies seven rooms. The first room is the cozy living room in the center of which is a white piano with its forgotten score of Faust. This room introduces the history of the Bulgakov family. Next to the living room is the medical office. Both the writer and his fictional character, Doctor Turbin, practiced medicine here. The life of Kyiv University in the early 20th century is also shown here, with pictures of Bulgakov’s professors and classmates.
The next room is where writer’s sister Barbara lived with her husband. It was also the bedroom of Helen, the heroine of The White Guard. At the entrance to the room is a wardrobe with the №50 street sign from Bulgakov’s famous novel The Master and Margarita. The lamp under the green shade is always on. The library occupies the next room. Its interior embodies the dream of young Bulgakov about what a library and writer’s study should look like. His books, magazine and newspaper articles, and autographs are stored here.
However, the most interesting and mysterious room, which pushes the limits of space, can be seen through the mirror in the dining room. In reality, Bulgakov’s father died in this room, as did Alexei Turbin in the novel. The fifth-dimension aspect is impressive: bright stars, which appeared to the hero of The White Guard before death shine here, and restless flames try to burn up the manuscript lying on the table. And above all these, fluffy snowflakes circle in a bizarre dance.
In 2007, a bronze monument to Mikhail Bulgakov, depicting him sitting on a bench, was erected near the museum.
The museum staff conduct research, publish previously unreleased materials, and hold book-club meetings and many other interesting events.