The museum dedicated to the great Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was opened on November 17, 1971 in the apartment where Dostoevsky lived for two years before his death, completing The Brothers Karamazov during that time.
The museum is divided into two sections: his working quarters, and his family apartments, the latter, in particular, a painstaking recreation of turn-of-the-century life, filled with personal artefacts and photos.
Dostoyevsky died of a throat haemorrhage while writing his diary; the clock in the study where he wrote The Brothers Karamazov is stopped at the exact time of his death: 8.38pm, on January 28, 1881. Also on display is a printed announcement of Dostoyevsky’s exile and a set of prison leg-irons, such as he wore en route to Siberia.
The furniture in the room is cheap and mixed giving the impression that it was bought at random. There are a bookcase and a huge writing desk on which an inkstand and two candlesticks have been placed. Dostoyevsky’s daughter recalls that “on his writing desk he maintained immaculate order — newspapers, cigarette boxes, letters, books ... a place for everything and everything in its place”. The literary section of the museum shows by way of documents, watercolors, books and panels the hard uphill struggle of the writer of Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Karamazov Brothers, whose works presented serious criticism of Russian life in the mid-19th century and defended the insulted and the humiliated.
Dostoyevsky’s life as a writer was indissolubly linked with the city of Petersburg, where he spent 29 years of his life and became one of the most Petersburgian of all the 19th-century Russian writers. Petersburg, the city of slums and poverty, the city of the hapless and the fallen — plays a great role in his immortal works. Dostoyevsky’s creative process, his quest for the solution to great philosophical and artistic problems and the public and literary controversy that raged around his works are all themes that are illustrated in this museum. The fifth room of the museum is devoted to the literary heritage of Dostoyevsky, the sad humanist who always tried to serve his people honourably, and to his influence on world culture. The exhibits include portraits of the writer in sculpture, painting and graphics, a collection of illustrations for his works by great 20th-century artists, books and theatrical posters.
The museum also hosts various exhibits and literary readings dedicated to Dostoevsky, and a journal of the same name is published with the conference proceedings
The museum plays a host to an annual conference Dostoevsky and World Culture which attracts scholars from over the world.