The Melikhovo Estate
After his return from Sakhalin, and realising he cannot afford to live in Moscow, Chekhov has purchased this estate in Melikhovo. He lived there from 1892 to 1899, and wrote, among other works, the plays Чайка and Дядя Ваня.
The museum consists of the main site with several original wood buildings and structures surrounded by gardens, recent administrative, conference and research buildings and three branches in nearby towns, two of which have connection to Chekhov. The big family house contains an exhibit dedicated to the entire Chekhov family. Bedrooms of the family members are restored with specific details: painting stand with paints in the room of his sister Maria, dried medicinal herbs and a ledger book in his father’s.
On the grounds, there are several preserved buildings: Chekhov’s study, where he would retire to write when the main building became too noisy; fire shed, built by Chekhov for the villagers; and the kitchen with adjacent “French” kitchen garden. Additionally, some ancillary yard structures were re-built in 2000s to recreate the life in a country estate. The museum staff recreated a medical practice of late XIX – early XX century (Амбулатория) in one of the buildings to illustrate work of Chekhov-doctor.
The museum boasts a 28,000 item collection, in particular photographs, paintings by family members and friends, contemporary editions of Chekhov’s books, his autographs, personal items.
Museum of Chekhov letters in Lopasnia
While living in Melikhovo, Chekhov boarded trains, saw his visitors off, and received some correspondence at the Lopasnia railway station, about 25 km away, which was in operation since 1866. Eventually, Chekhov, along with other local residents, petitioned for opening of a post office at the station. The post office was opened on January 2 1896, and thus Chekhov started receiving his mail daily; his mailing address became “Лопасня, Москов. губ.”, Lopasnia of Moscow Region. A few months later, a telegraph station was added to the post office, and Chekhov was invited to the opening. Altogether, Chekhov mailed around 2,500 letters, as well as manuscripts, telegrams and packages through this post office.
The museum is located in the station building. One of its exhibits recreates a postal office of that time. The other is dedicated to Chekhov’s epistolary output, and more broadly, to letter-writing tradition from the late-medieval time to this day.
Memorial school building in Novoselki
Chekhov donated money for the building, which from 1897 to mid-1970s housed first a земская школа (three-grade primary school), and later other education units. Currently it’s a site of the exhibit “In the world of Chekhov characters”, which gives educational interpretation for his literary works, such as the realities of life at that time, the meaning of archaic and obscure idioms, the ranking system of nobility and state employers and other details which might be lost on a casual reader today.