The Museum of Private Collections is situated at 10 Volkhonka since June 2005. The Museum's new address will be, Moscow. The new residence has been restored and decorated according to the Museum needs. The collections have been accommodated in such a way that their integrity was preserved, which has been the key principle since the start of the Museum of Private Collection: one room – one collection. The twenty-two rooms will accommodate the collections of our donators. The new home will enable us to show the works which have quite recently been kept in the museum storage, away from the permanent display: the Yelena Makaseyeva collection of the Decorative Arts and Material Culture that the Museum received at the bequest of the collector; the Inna Koretskaya collection of Russian paintings and drawings; the collections of Lyubov Kozintseva and Alexander Bykhovsky.
Now a few words about the building which is to house the Museum of Private Collections. The plot of land the Museum is going to occupy is known to have belonged to the Church of St John the Baptist in the late 16th – late 18th centuries. Here there used to be the Church graveyard and the houses where the clergy of the parish lived. The ramshackle church was demolished in 1792 and the land was sold, through Moscow Auction, to an engineer colonel. Later, the land became the property of Pavel Glebov, godfather for Alexander Pushkin's brother Leo.
The year 1804 saw the beginning of the construction of the town estate following the project approved by the Department of Moscow Archpriests. Alexander Prozorovsky, Moscow Governor, gave orders to build houses along Lenivka Street that ran parallel to the Big Kamenny Bridge. The latter one, while crossing the Moskva River, was, with its shops and porticos, a kind of decorative attraction. Accordingly, the project for the new building – "a house with shops" – suggested construction of a two-storey house with four-column portico topped with a triangular pediment; the balcony was to have a balustrade and a big semicircular window; the portico was to have two-storey shops on both sides of a more attractive decor.
The estate at 10 Volkhonka originally comprised about one hundred fifty buildings of different kind. The present-day ensemble includes only eleven of them left, more or less resembling the original ones. At different times (from 1804 to 1917) the estate used to belong to the Volkonsky family, to the Shuvalovs, Vyazemskys, Familtsynys, Renkeviches.
Shortly before the 1917 Revolution the house allegedly used to belong to rich Moscow's bankers, the Volkovs. One of their ancestors, Gavriil Volkov, was a bondman of the Golokhvastovys. Thanks to Prince Nikolai Yusupov he got affranchised. According to the legend, Gavriil came to Moscow on foot earning his bread as a bookseller. On arriving in Moscow he sat down on the porch of the nearest house on the way which happened to be the one at 10 Volkhonka. Later, when Gavriil became rich, he bought the house in memory of his early days in Moscow. It was in this very house that he opened an antique shop where he had his trading business from 1820 to the 1830s.
One of his sons, Pyotr Volkov, the owner of the house from 1865 till 1877, was an executive commission agent for the Moscow Armoury since 1865 and later an appraiser in the same office. In the period of 1877 to 1917 (?) the house used to be occupied by the Trading House of Gavriil Volkov & Sons.
Some time later the house accommodated the Society for Arts and Literature founded in Moscow in 1888 by Konstantin Stanislavsky, Alexander Fedotov, Fyodor Komissarzhevsky and Fyodor Sologub. Later, in 1927 till 1932 the Presidium of the Association of the Artists of the Revolutionary Russia was situated.
In 1934 the construction of the underground station "Dvorets Sovetov" [The Palace of the Soviets], read the Kropotkinskaya Station, put the house at peril: the jobs were to be carried right under the old houses, so houses number 6, 8 and 10 on Volkhonka were to be demolished as being too shaky. The maladjustment of the schedule of the Tube construction and the one of resettlement of the house residents saved the situation. There was even some improvement: the foundations of the above-mentioned houses were replaced with new ones, more stable. Now they were standing on the roof of the Tube line.
Further, the story of the house took a more optimistic turn: in 1988 it officially became part of the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts with a reconstruction and restoration to follow in 1990, which has lasted for about fifteen years. In the course of the reconstruction both buildings (the main house that is the three-storey brick one with the basement and its three-storey brick wing) were incorporated into one ensemble with the help of a multi-functional atrium.