I love life. It was she that put together this nice meeting.

Aleksandr Vampilov


On The Mezzanine: The Permanent Exhibition


Forty-one years after the death of Aleksandr Vampilov, our museum, dedicated to his life and legacy, opened in Irkutsk. In 1996, the Vampilov Fund began to collect the playwright’s personal effects, as well as relevant photographs, books, theater posters and programs, and the like. The fruits of this labor are now on display in the Vampilov Center’s mezzanine museum.


Friends, relatives, and admirers of Vampilov have all donated items for current and future display. The exhibition was created with the help of the Diamond Charitable Foundation and its president, Marina Baborina. It was designed by Vladimir Deykun, and made a reality by the golden hands of Aleksandr Butyrin and his team. The exhibition opened on August 19, 2013, on Vampilov’s birthday.


The name of the exhibition serves two purposes, as it both reflects the exhibition’s location on the mezzanine level of the building and invokes a figurative call for remembrance. The Russian word for “mezzanine” is antresoli, from the French entresol—literally “a floor between floors,” a half-forgotten space to house old memories. It is this floor between floors—this story between stories—that the exhibition strives to preserve.


The majority of items on display were originally owned by Vampilov himself. Among these are the classical records he and his college friends purchased with money saved from their student stipends, including selections from Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Glinka, and Beethoven; the ceramic tea mug from which he would drink while visiting his friend Vladimir Zhemchuzhnikov; guitars; his tackle box (he was an avid fisherman); the vest he wore to the dress rehearsal before the premiere of The Elder Son in 1969; and the white cap that, according to his wife Olga Mikhailovna, he was wearing on the day of his death. Part of the exhibition recreates his office, and includes the desk at which he wrote his magnum opus Duck Hunting, a typed copy of the play on aged paper, his typewriter and table lamp, and photographs taped to the wall above the desk, as they were so many years before, portraying his wife and daughter Lena.


The museum space utilizes the objects at hand to reflect not only the many stages of Vampilov’s life, but also the atmosphere of Soviet life in the 1960s. On The Mezzanine is worth the assent for those wishing to remember bygone days as well as for those interested in the lives of their parents and grandparents.


Tours of On The Mezzanine are available during our working hours. Groups may make a reservation beforehand by calling (3952) 21-70-12. If calling from outside Russia, please dial +7 before the number. For further details please find our page “About The Center” on the menu bar above.