The Historical and Cultural Museum of I.A.Goncharov (the branch of Ulyanovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore, History and Economy named after Goncharov), the only one in the country, was opened in the writer’s motherland – in Ulyanovsk - on June 17, 1982, in commemoration of 170-year anniversary of Goncharov’s birthday. The Museum has been accommodated on the ground floor of the house where the author was born. The exposition is organized according to the topical and chronological principle and reconstitutes the atmosphere of Goncharov’s epoch as much as possible. The main stages of Goncharov’s life are covered in detail in 8 halls of the museum, and the last hall – “Goncharov and the present” – relates to the present-day comprehension of Goncharov’s novels and their characters.

The unique collection of Goncharov’s relics is exhibited in the museum. It has been collected laboriously for a long time. The first exhibits were received from Simbirsk Display in honour of the centenary of Goncharov’s birth. The collection had constantly been enriched and by the Museum opening it had become one of the most considerable in the country. The visitors of the museum can see the original portraits of Goncharov and his family, the unique XVIII century document – the Goncharovs’ family “Letopisets” (i.e. the chronicle of the family history), the things brought by the writer from his voyage on the board of the frigate “Pallas”.
The corner of Goncharov’s cabinet with his personal things is created in the museum. Besides the things, belonging to I.A. Goncharov, the exposition includes the XIX century household goods and furniture, the XVIII century manuscripts and rare books, the portraits of Goncharov’s contemporaries, documents and photographs, illustrations for Goncharov’s works painted by different artists. Carefully selected materials and texts help to understand the depth of the writer’s thought, the originality of his personality.
The constantly widening collection of materials about the interest to Goncharov’s works increasing all over the world takes a large place in the museum fund. It contains the records of the Russian and foreign films, performances and pieces of music based on Goncharov’s works, computer games where the characters, created by the writer, act.

The museum has a very rich library, including the unique books of the XVIII-XXI centuries. The Goncharovs’ family “Letopisets” (1728-1889), Goncharov’s editions of his and our lifetime, the publications of the greatest researchers of the world about I.A.Goncharov, his life and works, some creations of the author’s contemporaries and their explorations.

In 1997 the museum workers published “The catalogue of the main Goncharov Museum fund”, which describes more than five hundred most important exhibits. It’s only about one fifth part of all the museum collection. To make the catalogue interesting not only for the specialists but also to a wide circle of the writer’s admirers, it was richly illustrated, and a large part of the articles is provided with Goncharov’s letters, comments and his contemporaries’ recollections.
The museum staff had been dreaming of making the Goncharovs’ family “Letopisets” available to the researchers. Besides the family notices it contains two old church stories – “The Passion” and ”The Story about the Godson” which were diligently written there by the author’s grandfather 270 years ago. Ju.M.Alexeyeva spent several years to translate “Letopisets” from XVIII century cursive writing into the modern Russian language. Eventually the book was published in 1996.
In 2007 the museum published the literature and artistic album “I.A.Goncharov and Simbirsk” in honour of 195-year anniversary of the writer’s birthday. It’s the first illustrated edition telling us about the inextricable link between Goncharov’s life and work and his native city. The old Simbirsk sights, the writer’s friends and relatives’ portraits, Goncharov’s letters and works extracts, his contemporaries’ recollections and materials about his motherland traditions of perpetuating the memory of the writer are brought together in it. The publication of the album has become one more contribution of the writer’s compatriots to the forming of the modern vision of Goncharov’s role in the Russian literature.

Nowadays the museum has become a worldwide known centre of Goncharov studies. The active scientific research and popularization of the writer’s life and works are carried on here. Goncharov Museum in Ulyanovsk has initiated the traditions of celebrations in honour of I.A. Goncharov in his motherland, and among them there are the events of regional, all-Russia and international scale: annual all-Russia Goncharov’s holidays, Goncharov’s Memorial Day, international scientific Goncharov conferences, Oblomov festivals.

The Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin decreed to celebrate the second centenary anniversary of Goncharov’s birthday on a large scale in Russia in 2012. No doubt, Ulyanovsk will become the centre of the celebrations. One of the points of the anniversary celebration preparations program will be the establishing of the historical and cultural centre of the writer’s life and works scientific research and popularization, which will be located in the house where Goncharov was born. It will be based on the existing museum, but the extension of its areas and exposition is presupposed.


Goncharov Museum
(the branch of Ulyanovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore, History and Economy named after Goncharov)

20 Goncharov Street, Ulyanovsk, Russia, 432970.
Tel. +7(8422)417966

All rights reserved. 2007