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The Polytechnical Museum at the Ilinsky Gates

The Polytechnical Museum at the Ilinsky Gates in Moscow There are more than 160,000 exhibits in Russia's largest technical museum, and some fantastic miniatures, which are, as Kenneth Williams says, to small to tell what they are, at least without the aid of a microscope. Fascinating, eh?

There are displays on cybernetics, space exploration and atomic technology, and a stroll through the museum's many halls will provide a wealth of information about the history of technology and the people who made it.

Apart from anything else, the museum is fascinating in terms of the inventions that it claims for Russia. So you thought that the radio was Marconi's little toy, did you? And John Logie Baird was the man who created the television? Here you'll see displayed the "alternative" history of technological innovation (when you realize that half of what is claimed here could well be true, then your brain will do the necessary somersaults). For this reason alone the Museum, although hardly modern in terms of its display techniques - very didactic - is nonetheless interesting.

Opening hours: Daily - 10:00 to 18:00, except Mondays and the last Thursday of each month.
Extra Services: Kiosk, cinema, public library, internet room, cafe and amusement arcade.

• SHORT HISTORY

The museum dates back to 1872, and a direct order from Tsar Aleksander II himself which resulted in the founding of a committee for the building of a Museum of Applied Sciences in Moscow. It was conceived by members of the Imperial Society of Amateur Natural Scientists, Anthropologists and Ethnographists as a centre for research and education. There first act was to organize an All-Russian exhibition of technology to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Peter the Great.

Work began in 1877 on the construction of a home for the museum in the Russian 19th Century style, and the first members of the public were admitted in 1907. Since then, The Polytechnical Museum has become a centre of scientific, cultural and social life in Moscow. The greatest scientists in Russia presented their advances to the public here, and the latest breakthroughs in science and technology - including Yablochkov's lamp, Bell and Golubitskii's telephone and Edisson's phonograph - were unveiled to the Russian people here

The large hall of the museum has long hosted evenings of poetry and music, a tradition that is still alive and well. In December 1991, by presidential decree, the Polytechnical Museum was declared a valued cultural asset of the country.

• ADDRESS AND CONTACT INFORMATION

Address: 3/4, Entrance 1, Novaya Ploshad, Moscow, 101000, Russia
Telephone: +7 (495) 923-0756, +7 (495) 923-4287
Transport: Lubyanka or Kitai Gorod Metro stations

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