After the family"s bankruptcy in 1876, she moved with the family to Moscow where she graduated from the Filaretovski Eparkhial School for Women in 1884.
She entered the Mariinskaya Girls Gymnasium in 1872. From 1886 to 1904 she read lectures on history and geography in Rzhevskaya"s private gymnasium for girls. In the 1890s she studied art at Stroganovka.
In 1903 she was the recipient of a gold medal on the Saint Stanislaus ribbon for assiduity in education.
From 1922 to 1957 she was the director of the Chekhov Museum in Yalta. In 1935 Maria Chekhova and Olga Knipper visited the birth city of Chekhov, Taganrog, to participate in the events commemorating the 75th anniversary of Anton Chekhov"s birth.
The former Boys Gymnasium (school no 2) was named after Chekhov (Chekhov Gymnasium). In 1944 the Soviet government awarded Maria Chekhova with the Order of the Red Banner of Labour for her many years of work at the Chekhov Museum in Yalta and for her contribution to the publication of Chekhov"s literary heritage.