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The Kunstkamera, Russia’s first museum

12 August 2013

The Kunstkamera (Кунсткамера) is Russia’s first museum ever, established by Peter The Great at the start of the 18th century. It is the home to Peter The Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology (Музей антропологии и этнографии имени Петра Великого), and it is located near the Hermitage, on the opposite side of Neva.

The most interesting and famous part of the museum is perhaps its collection of malformed human and animal fetuses. This collection was created as part of Peter’s plan of Westernization of Russia, in order to eliminate the superstitious fear of monsters. All those items brought by famous scientists formed the basis of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Российская академия наук), and even today they still attract thousands of tourists.

Other than that, the museum includes an enormous collection of utensils and clothes from different ancient populations, from Eskimos to native Americans to peoples in Japan and Africa. Those who are interested in Astronomy will love for sure the astronomical observatory and the planetarium, located on fourth and fifth floors. They contain instruments which were used even by Mikhail Lomonosov (Михаил Ломоносов), Russia’s most famous scientist.

Be sure to check out the Kunstkamera, one of St. Petersburg’s most intriguing museums. It is just some minutes away from Admiralteyskaya metro station.

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