A few years ago my mother took me on an educational tourist trip to Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. We got a private guide for the day in Moscow, and I requested that we visit the Bulgakov Museum. I had done a bit of research before we came, and knew that (according to Wikipedia) there were two competing Bulgakov museums taking up the upper and lower floors of his residence, each claiming to the the real Bulgakov Museum. Apparently I hadn’t done quite enough research, because we discovered that both of the museums were closed that day. I had heard for years about the fan-graffiti-covered walls of the staircase in one of the museums. The graffiti and the museum collection had been vandalized by a religious extremist a few years before, so I’m not sure how much I missed. I satisfied myself with a photo next to a bronze sculpture of a couple of the main characters and a very drizzly visit to the nearby Patriarch’s Ponds, the first scene in the novel.
Of course Bulgakov’s memory would be presented by two fighting museums (one official, one not?). Of course the museum would be attacked by a crazy man calling it satanic. What would be more appropriate for the author of this book that examines Russia’s relationship with religion, power, and truth?
FRC’s s. forwarded me a reference to a third Bulgakov museum located in Kiev in his childhood home: the Literature-Memorial Museum to Mikhail Bulgakov. I wish I had known about it when I was in Ukraine: it sounds wonderful. The Uncataloged Museum has a great description/review of the place, which blends historical/family items with fictional narrative in a way that looks like it would suit the subject perfectly.