The Uzlov Museum of Local Lore opened for public on May 9, 1968. In January 1971, it received the status of state institution. On June 13, 1987, with the help of S.P. Tkachev, the People’s Artist and Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR, the first people’s art gallery in the region opened, which later allowed transforming the place into the Museum of Art and Local Lore with a rich stock of works by Soviet artists of the 1950–1990s.
A small but versatile collection is the base for the Children’s Art School, amateur artists and masters of arts and crafts. The museum is a methodological and organizational center for small public museums and museum clubs under the motto “Museum is the house of muses”. Guided by its motto, the museum actively takes part in the social and cultural life of the city. A wide variety of associations have found shelter within the walls of the museum. Those are the Memorial Society, Lenin and the Fatherland, Klassika, the Old Drum Club, the Young Archaeologists Club, the collectors union, Regional Studies Expert Club, Literary Association, etc.
Like most of the provincial complex museums, the museum displays a fairly diverse collection. Its basis is made up of collections devoted to the history of local enterprises, personalities of famous compatriots, and an art gallery collection under the motto “Affairs and People of the Moscow region”. In recent years, the museum has been actively conducting archaeological explorations with the Tula archaeological expedition and the Young Archaeologists Club. That resulted in a collection of artifacts of the local lore from the Stone Age to the 18th century.
The unique exhibits include a treasure of Arab dirhams and samples of black-polished ceramics of the 12–14th centuries. Together with the hunters society, a collection of stuffed animals of the region is being created. There also are some materials on the environment and the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, etc.
The museum has 7 exhibition halls, 3 of which are occupied by the largest exposition, the art gallery.
The next hall contains an exposition devoted to peasant life. Such items as agricultural implements, a weaving loom, a Russian stove, peasant utensils, clothing, and other items are exhibited there. The exhibition is interactive, which allows the visitors to feel like they own a Russian village hut.
Next follows an exhibition titled “The Uzlovaya at the Turn of the 18–19th Centuries”; the tour begins with the words “Good afternoon, dear passengers!” And this is no coincidence. The first section of the exhibition deals with the construction of the Syzran-Vyazemskaya railway and, accordingly, the Uzlovaya station and the station settlement. The true witnesses of that time – the year 1873 – are the station signal bell and a lantern with a kerosene lamp that used to hang on a station wall. Then the visitor becomes the guest of the stationmaster in 1912–1919, where authentic pieces of furniture are displayed: a desk, an old clock, and the late 19th century gramophone in working order. The place of honor in the living room is occupied by a RATHKE piano. The first block of the exhibition in the fifth hall is completed by a ladies’ room nook with a dressing table and carved upholstered chairs. The exhibition plan allows the visitor to observe the daily life of the 19th century in the most vivid way.
The sixth hall of the Uzlov Museum of Art and Local Lore presents the exposition “Uzlovaya: Contribution to Victory”. The visitor gets to see a simulated house after the bombing. Boarded up windows and doors, charred children’s toys and the remains of household items convey the horror of those times. The exhibition presents many items from the main stock of the museum: Soviet and German weapons, clothing, and personal items of soldiers, as well as letters from the front line. In the center of the exhibition there is a fragment of the setting of a troop train, which demonstrates how the soldiers rested during breaks between battles. The wartime schoolroom is what usually attracts the visitors’ attention the most. A blackboard, a desk, a stove, a teacher’s desk, and even a student’s jersey – all this shows that learning was important even during the war. Among other things, the exhibition presents details and personal belongings of the war heroes of Uzlov.