Museum of the History of the Settling and Development of the Norilsk Industry District (NPR)The Museum was founded as the Geological Museum of the Norilsk Industrial Complex by order of A. P. Savenyagin, director of the Complex, dated 8 June 1939. As the Norilsk Industrial Complex was part of the Gulag, its Museum has in a way always been a ‘Camp Museum’. Prisoners played a crucial role in its founding process, especially the geologists Y. I. Sheinmann, N. N. Urvanzev, and others. The ‘Museum of the Norilsk Industrial Complex of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR’ was a completely secluded institution. In 1948 the permanent ‘Exhibition for General Viewing’ was inaugurated. After being closed in 1965, the Museum re-opened in 1971 as ‘Museum of the History and Production of the Norilsk Industrial Complex’. It received its current name in 1985. The Museum has been under state administration since 1989 and moved into different premises in 2000.
The Museum started to engage with the Gulag topic in 1987. Since 1989 it has put on the following exhibitions: ‘Restoring the Truth’ (1989), ‘Documents tell their tale (1992), What Nordvik keeps secret’ (1992; these three became part of the permanent exhibition); ‘History Unretouched, ‘The Parable of Norilsk’ (1993), The Taking of Vows of Evfrossiniya, Repressed Geologists’, ‘The Candle Has Not Yet Been Extinguished’, ‘Repressed Art’, ‘Don’t Lose Those Tears’, ‘Lev Gumilev and his Golgotha’. The exhibition ‘Path of Discover’y (1993), dedicated to N. N. Urvanzev, is on display in the Museum’s branch ‘First House of Norilsk’. The Museum also created a travelling exhibition, ‘The Insurrection of Norilsk’ (2004). Today the main Museum building is under reconstruction. ‘History of the Norilsk Camp and the Settlement of Norilsk from 1939 to 1956’, a new exhibition planned for 2007, will consider the Gulag within the context of the town’s history.
The Museum’s archive on the history of the Norilsk Camp comprises more than 1,500 documents. Moreover, it includes two card indexes, created in the course of research in the archives of the Administration of Inner Affairs of the Krasnoyarsk Region (section of special funds of the Information Center of the Administration of Inner Affairs) and in the State Archive of the Russian Federation: one index is a convict register, the other one contains material on the Norilsk Camp. Furthermore, the Museum established ‘The People’s Archive of Letters and Memoirs of the Prisoners of the Norilsk Camp’. The collection contains about 200 exhibits.
In 1988, the Museum initiated the foundation of a ‘Committee for the Perpetuation of the Memory of the Victims of Stalin’s Repressions between 1930 and 1950’. It also co-founded the Norilsk branch of ‘Memorial’ in 1989. Besides, the Museum furthers the erection of memorials to the victims of political repression in the Norilsk Region. In addition, the Museum co-operates with schools, organises lectures, acts as a publisher and is involved in the organisation of the annual Memorial Week, centred on the Day of Political Prisoners. It actively supports thematic events and gatherings and provides advice and assistance in research required for the rehabilitation of former prisoners of Norilsk Camp.