The exposition begins in the ceremonial entrance hall, whose architecture reminds that of a temple. Video installation is located in the central area, where one can find original, non-military interpretation of weapons. The history of weapons development is treated as part of world’s technical culture; outstanding weapons designers are put side by side with the greatest inventors. Weapons are considered as means of protection of enduring values, such as Motherland, home, family.
Exhibits include samples of small arms produced at Izhevsk weapons factories during the last 200 years: from a smoothbore flint-lock gun to the Kalashnikov and Nikonov assault rifles.
– dwells upon stages of Kalashnikov’s life story as a soldier, weapons constructor, deputy and public figure;
– tells about Kalashnikov’s family, hobbies and home.
Exhibition space can be divided into several thematic parts. Each of them contains information to describe the epoch and events through documents, photos and things. Due to modern technologies the exhibition has become “intelligent” and more interactive.
In the first part of the exhibition one can solve Mikhail Kalashnikov’s problems in his math exercise book. In the interactive kiosk young visitors of the museum can try to assemble and disassemble household mechanisms, figure out the principle of their work, solve problems from real school exercise books of the 1920s-30s.
The second part dwells upon Staff Sergeant Kalashnikov’s service in the army. The visitors’ attention is first drawn to Kalashnikov’s tank, which has place for a driver and an aimer. The interactive model imitates the tank’s movement and fighting.
“Kalashnikov’s Academy” is history of his first samples and a long way to the AK-47. For the first time the model of his “firstborn” – a submachine gun – is presented. New documents and photos tell about the period of Kalashnikov’s service at the Department of Engineering of General Artillery Command and in the constructor’s team of Shchurovo Research Testing Ground.
The hall named “The Legend of Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant” gives full information about life of the weapons plant and routine of military acceptance. For the first time personal belongings and rare exhibits of Kalashnikov’s team (workers, engineers and weapons designers of Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant) are presented so fully in the museum.
Kalashnikov’s life was full of adventures and hardships: he nearly sank in an Altay river, burnt in his tank during the Second World War and had been classified for many years. The Kalashnikov assault rifle (Kalash) was the first to win worldwide acclaim. It was in 1989 that its creator was declassified, got a chance to get acquainted with foreign weapons designers and military historians, gave first interviews for foreign newspapers.
Kalashnikov’s close family helped him survive hardships and competition failures and never give up in difficult situations. His personal furniture items, unique family photos and family personal belongings are presented in his memorial corner for the first time.