Bell Foundry Museum

The idea of creating a museum in the bell foundry first appeared in the mind of its owner and founder, Nikolay Alexandrovich Shuvalov. It is based on a collection of old bells amassed at the factory over the more than 25 years of its existence. The museum’s exposition acquaints visitors with the history of Russian church bells from ancient times to the 1920s – 1930s, when a significant number of them were destroyed during anti-religious persecution. There is a separate hall dedicated to the revival of bell-making traditions in the 1980s – 1990s. Here one can see the unique technology of forming a bell on circular patterns, which was used in Russia in the 17th century, and the entire process of manufacturing a bell is demonstrated. There is an exhibition and park area being created near the museum where both historical bells and a bell tower made up of modern cast bells from Nikolay Shuvalov’s factory are presented, whose total weight is more than 1 ton. Visitors can get their first skills in performing bell sounds here. The museum’s collection of church bells (more than 100 pieces) is recognized by experts as one of the largest among all museums in Russia. Its total weight exceeds 5 tons. The oldest dated bell among them is from 1640, cast in Holland. There also are two unique bells cast in the middle of the 17th century at the Moscow Cannon yard. The exhibition includes bells from the Moscow factories of Finlandsky and Samgin, from Olovyanishnikov in Yaroslavl, Lavrov in Gatchina, Nikolai Bakulev in Slobodsky in Vyatka province, Serapion Zabenkin in Kostroma, the Gudkov brothers in Saratov, Alexey Burtsev in Rostov-on-don, Ilya Astrakhantsev from Kazan, the bells of a little-known master from Vologda, Makar Lebedinov, and others. There is also a collection of old forged clappers, signal bells, and bells for horse riding. An important part of the exhibition includes bell models made at the end of the 20th century, showing the degree of loss of pre-revolutionary traditions in the Soviet period.