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The Kunstkamera Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in St. Petersburg
May 31, 2019 20:16


One of the first Russian museums, Kunstkamera was founded by Peter I in Saint Petersburg back in 1714.
The “Northern Palmyra” was guarded by three symbols: the angel of the Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral, the ship on the roof of the Admiralty and the sphere of the Kunstkamera Museum. Peter I saw the unity of Orthodox values, natural forces and the laws of nature as the prerequisite for the development of Saint Petersburg and Russia. The Kunstkamera continued to fulfill its good role as the stronghold of education in Russia. It housed the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, which was the ancestor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the city university and many other educational institutions.




The museum fund was based on Peter the Great’s collection of curiosities. It was he who named the museum in a foreign manner – Kunstkamera - that is the "Cabinet of Rarities". Peter I imparted an impressive scope to the collection gathering. Exhibits for the first Russian museum of wonders were brought from all over Russia. Peter I collected things not because of their cost, but a variety of anatomical, zoological, mineralogical and other curiosities that were of scientific value in his opinion.
The building that Kunstkamera is presently housed in was constructed specially for it in 1734. It is a magnificent example of the Baroque era and is the oldest museum building in the world.


Nowadays the museum boasts lots of rich collections representing the traditional culture and life of different countries and peoples. These are halls dedicated to North America and its indigenous dwellers, Japan, Africa, China and Mongolia, India and Indonesia, Australia and Oceania. They display a lot of cultural objects, weapons, tools and other artifacts from all over the world.
But the most famous is the anatomical hall with a collection of deformities and oddities such as Siamese twins, a two-headed calf and others.
Separate expositions are dedicated to the first astronomical observatory of the Academy of Sciences and Mikhail Lomonosov.
The museum conducts research and implements children's developmental programs.

Expositions of the Kunstkamera Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography 
The extensive collection of the museum is dedicated not to human anatomy only; a significant part of it is associated with ethnography. A lot of information about various peoples, their life, culture, and personal items are presented here.



Exposition "The First Natural Science Collections of the Kunstkamera" consists of exhibits connected with the scientific research by Peter I, his scientific experiments and decrees.

The exposition “The Great Academic (Gottorp) Globe” is the first ever and once the largest globe planetarium in the world.
The exhibition "Indigenous People of North America" ​​takes visitors on an exciting journey from Alaska to California.
There are also expositions dedicated to the ethnographic culture and life of India, Japan, Korea, Indochina, Mongolia, Africa, and China.
Address: 3, Universitetskaya Embankment, next to metro stations Admiralteyskaya, Vasileostrovskaya, and Sportivnaya, Saint Petersburg.
Open hours: from 11 am to 6 pm on Tuesday through Sunday. Monday is a day off.

The official website of the Kunstkamera Museum
The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg
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St. Petersburg Museums

 




Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Kunstkamera Museum Saint Petersburg Museums Exhibitions in St. Petersburg Peter the Great  

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