The Kalashnikov Weapons Museum and Exhibition Center was opened in the city of Izhevsk, Russia on November 4, 2004 - one week prior to Mikhail Kalashnikov's 85th birthday.
The construction of the museum began back in 1996, but was suspended due to insufficient funding. During a visit to Izhevsk in 2003, the CEO of RAO "UES of Russia", Anatoly Chubais, had meetings with Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Udmurt Republic authorities, and potential investors.
As a result of this visit, a funding schedule was established for the project in order that the museum and exhibition center could be opened before the designer's birthday.
The budget of the project exceeded US$8,000,000 - among the sponsors were the Governments of Izhevsk, the Udmurt Republic, and Moscow, RAO "UES of Russia", Rosvooruzhenie, companies from Russia, Belarus, Hungary, Germany and many others.
The museum is located in the central square of Izhevsk. The total area for the 3 exhibition halls is over 400 square meters.
The Russian press commented that "Kalashnikov had received a most expensive gift, and had become the "wealthiest" Russian", but Kalashnikov, being a man of tact, always stresses that "this palace doesn't glorify me, it glorifies the gunsmiths of Izhevsk".
As for "…the most expensive gift" - there was another gift made on the day the museum opened. This is a gift that Kalashnikov "just couldn't believe", a gift that for Kalashnikov overshadowed even having a museum in his name - read on to find out what this was.
To this day, this is the only museum in Russia devoted to a small arms designer. The displays in the museum present the life and work of Mikhail Kalashnikov, and feature examples of the weapons designed by him.