The Kate Marsden museum in Vilyuisk

2016-06-10-18-10-37-2In June 2016 I visited Vilyuisk in the Sakha Republic in Siberia, to help commemorate 125 years since KM’s arrival. As part of the celebrations, I was taken round the KM museum in Sosnovka, the hamlet where KM’s leper colony was established (and which now holds the Vilyuisk Psychoneurological Boarding House). The colony extends over some land in a mixture of birch and larch woods. The patients’ houses and doctors’ were divided by a stream. When I visited it was a warm, sunny afternoon, and we were besieged by mosquitoes (see pic). As I write, in January 2017, the temperature in the region is about -45 degrees C…

The museum is set up in one of the old doctors’ houses, and run by Kleopatra. There’s a small entrance hall with a large portrait of KM, and then a long room full of memorabilia about KM, the region at the time and the following decades of the leprosy hospital.

I brought with me a copy of Isabel Hapgood’s report on KM (in English), a lantern slide of a damaged foot (found on eBay) which is the type of slide KM used to illustrate her lectures, and details of the artefacts held in the Royal Geographical Society such as KM’s medals, and her Russian watch.

It’s an amazing place. Do go and visit if you’re in the area!

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One comment

  1. Pingback: The Lepers of Viluisk – 2 | Moreton Bay History

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