Motherland of Fyodor Abramov’s word
Being created as the branch of the Arkhangelsk Regional Lore Museum in 1985, the Literature-Memorial museum is situated on the motherland of the famous Russian writer Fyodor Alexandrovich Abramov (29 February 1920 — 14 May 1983). The museum became a laureate of the All-Russian literature prize named after Fyodor Abramov in 2005 and of the Writers’ Association prize named after Eduard Volodin in 2010.
Lyudmila Krutikova-Abramova, the widow of the writer, played an important role in creation of the museum and in forming its collections — she transferred about 3 000 objects to the museum holdings.
The museum was opened on 7 December 1986. While Ivan Prosvirnin — the first director — was in charge of the museum, the school building was restored, an administrative building was constructed with the museum employees’ offices, museum holdings and a hotel. The research on memorial, literature and historical-architectural monuments started with the assistance of Ivan Prosvirnin as well in order to create a preserved area in Verkola. The works resulted in creating a nature reserve around Verkola in 1987 for the object to preserve the historical-cultural and natural monuments connected to the life and work of Fyodor Abramov.
The museum takes several buildings: Abramov’s memorial estate (the house of the writer located close to his grave), the building of the former village school constructed in 1877 where Fyodor Abramov was studying in 1928–1932 and since 1993 — a peasant house of Inyakhins’ family of the early 20th century.
The museum history is tightly connected to the history of Verkola — one of the ancients villages on the Pinega river. Here the word of Fyodor Abramov was born, the word that preserved all the best traditions of the Russian folklore.
The museum holdings comprise more than 10 thousand objects. The biggest collections are those of documents and photos. The most valuable objects are the collection of manuscripts (letters, the first Abramov’s story “Nikolay Nikolayevich”, stories of the cycle “Grass”, first drafts of the novels “Brothers and Sisters”, “The House”, “The Pure Book”) and personal possessions of Fyodor Abramov (his writing table, pens, souvenirs from his trips and other objects).
The collection also contains photos made by Fyodor Abramov in 1950–1970s, photos and documents narrating about the life in a village on the Pinega of 1920–1950s, works of the Leningrad painters — friends of Fyodor Abramov (Vladimir Vetrogonsky, Evgeny Maltsev and Fyodor Melnikov) as well as the works of amateur painters of the Pinega district (Vladilen Butyukov and Dmitry Klopov), lifetime and subsequent editions of Abramov’s works, books with his and other writers’ autographs.
The first exposition was opened in May 1987. It consisted mainly of the photos of Abramov in his native village made by a Leningrad reporter Rudolf Kucherov.
The historical part of the first exposition was based on the peasant household items of the 19–20th centuries and pictures of the Northern villages of the early 20th century brought from the Ethnography Museum by the second museum director Viktor Sheleg.
The new exposition “The life and artistic journey of Fyodor Abramov” coincided with the writer’s 70th birthday and was presented to the public on 28 February 1990. It included such topics as “Fyodor Abramov’s childhood and family”, “Studying and work at the Leningrad university”, “The History of creating the “Brothers and Sisters” novel”, “The Play “Brothers and Sisters” at Maly Drama Theatre”, “The planet “Abramov”. The newly opened exposition featured photos of Fyodor Abramov of different years, documents, manuscripts and books, some of Abramov’s personal possessions, pictures and sculptures, illustrations to the writer’s works and ethnographic materials about the village on the Pinega river.
The museum for whole Russia
The exposition was renewed in 2000 and the section “The way to “The Pure Book” was added.
Another exposition “Artist’s creating word” was opened in July 2011; it took four halls of the museum. The first hall tells the visitors about the museum history, Fyodor Abramov’s genealogy and his school years, the second hall presents the main periods of the writer’s life and work and such topics as “Fyodor Abramov and village prose writers”, “Abramov and theatre”, “Abramov abroad” and “Life for two” devoted to Lyudmila Vladimirovna Krutikova.
The third part of the exposition features the non-finished novel “The Pure Book” and the fourth one — the history of the local school. A separate room is used for temporary expositions of the museum.
Every year, the museum has about four thousand visitors, two hundred excursions are given including the walking tours around the village — “Verkola is the motherland of Fyodor Abramov” and “Through the pages of “Brothers and Sisters”. Guests from all the corners of the country and abroad visit the museum.
Since 1986, the Literature-Memorial museum has been organising the Abramov readings, literary soirees, festivals (including the festival “And they make stacks in Pekashino”) and holidays of the houses and of Abramov street.
The museum has been taking part in organising the literature expeditions to Verkola for the senior pupils of the Arkhangelsk school number 51 since 1993, and since 2015, it has been participating in the project “Back to basics” in cooperation with Saint Nicholas church.
Several films about Verkola, Artemiy of Verkola monastery and people connected to Fyodor Abramov have been produced by the museum employees.
The house of the “The last old man of the village”
The peasant house of Inyakhins’ family has belonged to the museum since 1993. This is a typical for the Pinega area mansion constructed in the late 19th — early 20th century that consists of a two-storey house-yard and a barn. The house is of high historical and literary significance as its owner Ivan Inyakhin became the prototype of Pavel Savin — a character from Abramov’s story “The last old man of the village”.
In 2020, the year of Fyodor Abramov’s 100th anniversary, the Inyakhins’ house was opened after reconstruction. Today, the museum staff are working on creating there a “living” exposition, a horse has already been bought for folk holidays.
In 2020, Literature-Memorial museum of Fyodor Abramov celebrated its official 35th birthday.