The Kunstkammer

The Kunstkammer, founded by Peter the Great in 1714 in St Petersburg, was the first museum in Russia. Started as Peter's "Cabinet of Curiosities", the museum became part of the newly formed Academy of Sciences in 1724. For over a hundred years it functioned as an important public institution of scientific research and incorporated several collections and a library.

Thanks to donations of the Russian Imperial family and their sponsorship pf several expeditions, the collection of the Kunstkammer grew fast. Later it was even divided into several distinct museums, each devoted to its own area of science. Among these, the Ethnographic Museum served to educate visitors of the many peoples and cultures of the world. This collection has grown to be one of the premier international collections of ethnographic and anthropologic objects, among the highlights of which are some extraordinary items gathered during Captain James Cook's final voyage around the world.

The collection consists of more than 1.8 million objects (about 250,000 ethnographic, 500,000 archaeological, 380,000 pieces of physical anthropology, 800,000 illustrative materials). The museum's permanent exhibitions include depictions of the traditional cultures of the peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and Oceania, as well as a historic display entitled "From the History of St Petersburg Kunstkammer". In the museum one can see Peter the Great's collection of unique anatomical and biological formations.

Today the Kunstkammer runs plenty of exhibitions dedicated to various cultures and peoples. This museum of St Petersburg is really a "Cabinet of Curiosities" that will stir you imagination with millions of pieces brought from every corner of the world.

Contact information

Address: 3 University Embankment
Phone: +007 812 328-1412

Other information

Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 5:45 p.m Closed: Monday, last Tuesday of every month
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