What to Do: Learn About Water Without Getting Wet

MTSome of the most interesting exhibits at the museum of water are the sculptures constructed from old pipes.
To get to the museum of water, you have to go through a little sculpture garden. Upon closer examination, the sculptures turn out to be giant multicolored valves, pipes and pumps from Moscow's water supply system. The museum was opened in 1993 by Mosvodokanal, the company responsible for supplying the city with potable water.

In its 15 years of operation, it has kept a low profile: You have to ring the doorbell to get in, and upon entering you may face a quizzical look from one of the employees (the explanation "I was just passing by" is satisfactory). They are happy to attach you to a tour group or leave you alone to roam the exhibits.

The lower level is mostly historical. There is a model of the Vodovzvodnaya Tower of the Kremlin, which was equipped with a horse-powered pulley system in the 17th century to draw water from the Moscow River and distribute it to the gardens and various structures inside the Kremlin. Residents in other parts of Moscow used a reservoir by the Sukhareva tower, which was destroyed in 1934.

The second level is more technological, but it answers the all-pertinent question of what happens to the snow from the city's streets (it's melted down at 27 special snow-melting stations). There is a room dedicated to water conservation and a room with models of filtering systems that purify runoff sewage water.

The most peculiar item of the museum is a stack of heavy Soviet photo albums. A couple of them document pioneer camp trips for the children of Mosvodokanal employees, and the most interesting one is full of portraits of Stakhanovites (Soviet overachievers) in the 1930s. Plumbers and mechanics look uncomfortably into the camera, having exceeded their quota for checking pipes by 250 percent.

Contacts

Museum of Water, 13 Sarinsky Proezd, 676-9213. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Entrance is free, call ahead to join a group tour.