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KUNSTKAMERA, OLDEST RUSSIAN MUSEUM

08 December 2020

The St. Petersburg Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography - The Kunstkamera – celebrated its 306th anniversary on 06th December. It is one of the largest and oldest ethnographic museums in the world, the collection funds of which number over 1.2 million items. The year of foundation of the Kunstkamera is considered to be 1714, and the order to create the museum was issued by Peter the Great himself, the founder of St. Petersburg. The admission to the first museum in Russia used to be free, but people were reluctant to visit it. Then Peter the Great issued a decree – to pour a glass of vodka or a cup of coffee for everyone at the entrance – and the idea worked great!

Lots of mysteries and legends have always been associated with this museum. One of the most famous is about the ghost of the servant of Peter the Great - Nicolas Bourgeois, his height was 226 cm, he was a real giant. Therefore, after his death, his skeleton, by order of the Emperor, became an exhibit of the museum. But the skull was destroyed by the fire in 1747 and was replaced. And since then, they say that the spirit of Bourgeois wanders around the halls of Kunstkamera at night looking for his head.

Nowadays, due to the pandemic, the focus has been on online and virtual projects. One of the most significant is the "Planet of the Kunstkamera": 65 thousand exhibits of the museum were digitized and are now available for study on the official web-site. Another successful project was "The Kunstkamera Speaks and Shows": videotours and lectures were watched by thousands of people from all over the country. But guests and employees are unanimous in the opinion that no virtual technology can replace a real visit to the historical halls.

MIR Travel Company highly recommends this museum, full of examples of natural wonders and living history.