The People’s Museum of Military and Labor Glory at Vnukovo Airport was opened in the community center on August 12th, 1977. The museum briefly depicts the history of civil aviation from 1923 through to today. But, most importantly here is that you can see the history of Vnukovo, the oldest Moscow airport and the successor to the Moscow airport on Khodynka Field. The museum has over five thousand exhibits including photos, documents, books, decorations, personal belongings of the war and labor veterans, letters and aircraft mockups.
Sergei Degtyarev, the World War II veteran and honored worker of the transport industry, invested a lot of effort and knowledge into this museum. Backed by the administration and public organizations, he was able to collect a lot of materials from documents and personal memories of the veterans surrounding the military history of the 10th Guards Transport Aviation Division stationed at Vnukovo during the Great Patriotic War. The council of veterans of this division came when its chairman N. S. Okinin and the museum board approached war veterans asking for donations. They received many personal belongings, documents, decorations from former soldiers and used these to create interesting exhibitions in honor of their service.
Among the exhibits, the following unique materials can be found:
- Photos of the oldest pilot N.F. Golenishchenko, Komsomol membership card dated 1925 and photos of the engineer P.N. Razumov and other veterans at Vnukovo airport.
- Certificates from 1st class pilot, M.I. Basov, pilot-in-command and Certificates from 1st class navigator, A.G. Dubovitsky, honored Navigator of the USSR signed by cosmonauts Gagarin, Titov, Nikolaev, Tereshkova, Bykovsky, etc.
- Memoirs, documents and articles by Merited Navigator of the USSR, A.G.Dubovitsky whose bio is published in the 4th issue of the All-Russian Encyclopedia «The Best People of Russia», 2004, volume «Honorable Sons and Daughters of the Motherland».
- Orders, medals, pilot badges, engineers, technicians and drivers.
- Portraits of Heroes from the Soviet Union among the 10th Guards Aviation Division painted by V. F. Fedorchuk, a division veteran and member of the Russian Union of Artists.
- Books donated to the Museum by P.M. Mikhailov, a Hero of the Soviet Union, member of the Russian Union of Writers and winner of the international journalist prize, with signatures.
- A model of the Tu-154 airplane presented by the General Designer A.N. Tupolev to the USSR Minister of Civil Aviation B.P. Bugaev on the 50th anniversary of Aeroflot and a model of the IL-86 airplane presented by the General Designer G.V. Novozhilov to B.P. Bugaev on the 60th anniversary of Aeroflot.
- A Poltava typewriter from 1944 which belonged to the flight engineer, E.V. Aksenov.
- A collection of 47 combat plane mock-ups, helicopters and aircrafts from World War II, skillfully executed and presented to the museum by A. P. Ushkalov and A. N. Violentiy, airport employees.
- Albums with photos of the airport and Vnukovo village.
The museum offers tours for everyone and organizes meetings for war and labor veterans with young people. Students discuss museum materials during round tables and use them for essays, competitions and graduation works.
At Vnukovo, there is a museum complex that includes:
- The Museum of Military and Labor Glory at Airport Vnukovo.
- A Monument to the pilots of civil aviation who died during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, located in the center of Vnukovo village. It was opened on May 9th, 1980 for the 35th anniversary of the victory of the Soviet people over Nazi Germany. The monument was built as per the decree of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR No. 350 dated March 26th, 1973. The authors of the project: sculptor G.N. Postnikov, architect V.V. Vasnetsov and honored artist A.A.Bichukov. The monument is 34 meters high. More than six thousand pilots are buried under this monument. During the war, the Aeroflot pilots made more than 1.5 million combat flights, transported 2.5 million wounded paratroopers, scouts as well as 300 thousand tons of military and strategic cargo.
- The first jet passenger airplane Tu-104 with an identification number L-5412, which made its first passenger flight along Moscow-Omsk-Irkutsk route on September 15th, 1956, was placed on the pedestal near the air terminal on September 15th, 1976 as a symbol of the new jet civil aviation era. The airplane was piloted by the crew under the command of E.P. Barabash. Now the monument airplane is under restoration. Soon it will be installed at the entrance of the airport from the Kiev Highway.
- On the 50th Victory anniversary for the Great Patriotic War, a commemorative plaque to the honor memory of the 10th Guards Transport Aviation Division based at Vnukovo during the war was installed on the building of the old airport terminal according to the Decree of Moscow City Government dated May 9th, 1995. Crews and Guards were trained for combat flights behind enemy lines and at the front line. In the workshops at Vnukovo airport, the Li-2 and C-47 underwent repairs after combat missions and were equipped with airborne weapons − turret guns. The plaque is also under restoration.
- In 1949, school No. 13 was named after Grigoriy Taran, Hero of the Soviet Union, a front-line fighter pilot and commander of one of the regiments of the glorious 10th Guards Transport Aviation Division. On May 19th, 1962, a monument to G. A. Taran was opened near the school building.
- Airport schools No.13 named after the Hero of the Soviet Union, G. A. Taran and No. 41 have Museums to honor the Military, while school No. 1008 has a museum of local history.
Museum activists monitor the proper maintenance of the aforementioned monuments and museums.
To gain experience and exchange documents, books and materials, the museum team cooperates with the Museum of Civil Aviation in St. Petersburg, the museum at Moscow State Technical University of Civil Aviation and more!
There is also correspondence with the museum of the secondary school in Rybny village near Dmitrov, Moscow region, where the crew of the air division based at the Vnukovo airfield perished in November 1941.
The museum also maintains fruitful relations with N.I. Demidenko, a leading specialist of the department of the State Civil Aviation Service of Russia who replenishes the museum funds with photocopies of archived documents about the history of Vnukovo airport during the war and the postwar years.
Aviation and cosmonautics magazine journalists come to the museum to collect materials and scan photos for their publications. For several years, they have been publishing articles, making stories and documentaries mentioning the museum and using materials from its collection.
On June 20th, 2005, the cultural center and the museum were handed over to the jurisdiction of the Prefecture of the Western Administrative District of Moscow. The Museum continues to cooperate with Vnukovo International Airport with the experts of Vnukovo District Administration and with the village schools.
Recently, Vnukovo veterans have been working actively to help the publishing center Grand to collect historical information about the streets, buildings and monuments of the Vnukovo district. They will be used in the book «The versts of Moscow… Western District» to be published with Western Administrative District of Moscow.
The Vnukovo Airport Museum of War and Labor Glory has a rich collection. With upcoming significant changes to Vnukovo airport, it is planned to develop and expand it further to improve the patriotic education of young people, students, residents and guests at Vnukovo district.