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January 31, 2022, 07:07

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The building of the Central Theater Museum named after A.A. Bakhrushin. Photo by N. Granovsky. April 1951 Main Archive of Moscow

The main attention of the famous collector and his wife was directed to the creation of a collection on the history of the theater.

January 31 marks the 157th anniversary of the birth of the merchant Alexei Bakhrushin. But he went down in history not only as a representative of a merchant dynasty, but also as a person who did a lot for the development of art. In particular, he founded the Theater Museum, which today bears his name. Main Archive of Moscowhas rare materials on the life and work of Alexei Bakhrushin.

The future founder of the museum was born in the family of a merchant of the first guild and the largest Moscow philanthropist Alexander Bakhrushin in the winter of 1865. Interest in social activities passed to him from his father, who, together with his brother Vasily, was one of the largest Moscow philanthropists, donating more than three million rubles to those in need. Both brothers received the titles of honorary citizens of Moscow for their activities. In addition to them, this list included 10 more people. And the grandfather and uncles of Alexei Bakhrushin in the 80s of the XIX century contributed to the construction of the building of the theater of Fyodor Korsh in Bogoslovsky Lane (now the Theater of Nations). It was designed by Mikhail Chichagov.

But Aleksey Bakhrushin took a different path – instead of charity, he became interested in collecting, from an early age he fell in love with the theater. First, the young man became a regular at the Bolshoi Theatre, then attended the productions of the Maly, and later he himself tried his hand at acting in the Perlovsky theater circle.

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Theatrical collection that became a museum

Like almost all of his relatives, the young man, after graduating from the Kreyman gymnasium, began working at the family enterprise – in the “Alexey Bakhrushin and Sons Association of Leather and Cloth Manufactory”. For a couple of years he was actively involved in his affairs, but his passion for art turned out to be stronger, and gradually collecting objects of theatrical history became the main business of Alexei Bakhrushin’s life.

Over time, the collector headed the partnership and was engaged in social activities – he was a vowel of the Moscow City Duma, an honorary member of the council of the Yakiman city guardianship of the poor, a member of the council of the hospital and maternity hospital named after the Bakhrushin brothers. But the main attention of Alexei and his wife Vera was directed to the creation of a collection related to the history of the theater. For the first time Bakhrushin presented it to the public in 1894: the items he collected participated in international exhibitions, where they aroused great interest.

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The collector had authority in the field of social activities related to creativity. In 1909, he became the head of the city folk house, the predecessor of the houses of culture. The Moscow City Duma elected him almost unanimously – out of 110 voters, only 10 were against it. In June 1917, Alexei Bakhrushin was elected to the Committee for the Convocation in Moscow of the All-Russian Congress of Stage and Theater Workers, which was organized by the Council of the Russian Theater Society.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the Bakhrushin collection had reached such a volume that in 1913 the collection was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Academy of Sciences. It became known as the theatrical and literary museum, the post of its head was taken by Alexei Bakhrushin himself. After the revolution of 1917, he managed to keep his post and, despite all the difficulties, replenish the museum. Alexei Bakhrushin headed it until his death in 1929.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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