The Kunstkamera (from German Kunstkammer – cabinet of rarities; currently – the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences (MAE RAS)) – the first museum in Russia, established by Emperor Peter I in Vasilyevsky Island, St. Petersburg (1714).
It has a unique collection of antiques, revealing the history and life of many peoples. But this museum is known to many for its “special” collection of anatomical rarities and anomalies. The building of the Kunstkamera has been a symbol of the Russian Academy of Sciences since the beginning of the 18th century. The tower of the Kunstkamera is crowned with the Armillary Sphere.
It is located on the Universitetskaya Embankment, facing the Winter Palace.
Culture and life of the indigenous peoples of the North American continent. A journey from north to south, from Alaska to California, from time immemorial to the beginning of the 19th century.
This exhibition presents the life and culture of the Japanese and the Ainu. Fishing was one of the main trade activities on the island, and the Kunstkamera has a large collection of various tackle: hooks, nets, traps. The samurai armor exhibited at the exhibition amaze with its finish and complex design.
This collection contains mainly agricultural tools and clothing of African tribes living south of the Sahara. One of the most interesting exhibits is Benin bronze. This is the name of the tablets made of the corresponding material with the figures of warriors and courtiers. A collection of more than a thousand exhibits was seized from the palace of the ruler of Benin. Some of them can be seen in the “African” hall of the Kunstkamera.
China and Mongolia
50 national minorities live in China, and the exposition dedicated to the peoples of China characterizes only the main aspects of their way of life and culture. For example, traditional products made of porcelain, stone, wood and bone.
In the hall of Mongolia, the dwelling of a nomad – a yurt, as well as exhibits with traditional Mongolian ornaments, are of interest. They were decorated with clothes, tools, saddles, blankets and much more.
India and Indonesia
The section of the museum dedicated to the peoples of South Asia is one of the richest. The Kunstkamera has a large collection of carved wood brought from different parts of India. There are also collections of various masks, ancient theatrical costumes, puppet theater puppets.
This section contains exhibits with anatomical deformities and a variety of natural rarities, such as sirenomelia, two-headed lamb, Siamese twins and much more. The Decree of Peter I of February 17, 1718 “On the bringing of born freaks, as well as unusual things found in all cities to the Governors and Commandants, on giving for bringing these rewards and on a fine for concealment” was the beginning of a systematic collection of rarities from the natural world and human history.
WORKING TIME: TUESDAY – SUNDAY, from 10:00 to 18:00
The museum is open for entry: from 10:00 to 17:00
The museum is closed: Monday, last Tuesday of the month, January 1, May 9, December 31.
October 25 (Tuesday) the museum works as usual.
November 1 (Tuesday) the museum is closed.
November 2 (Wednesday) the museum is open until 15.00, ticket offices and entrance to the museum until 14.00.
November 4 (Friday) the museum works as usual.
Free admission day for individual visitors is the third Thursday of the month (September to April).
Purchase tickets to the Museum by sessions only on the official website and at the Museum box office.
The museum accepts no more than 4 groups for excursions at the same time.
How to get to?
St. Petersburg, Universitetskaya embankment, 3. Entrance from Customs Lane.
The museum is currently not equipped with ramps, elevators or lifts.
ADMIRALTEYSKAYA, buses 7, 24, 191; trolleybuses – 1, 7, 10, 11
NEVSKY PROSPECT / GOSTINY DVOR, buses 7, 24, 191; trolleybuses – 1, 7, 10, 11
VASILEOSTROVSKAYA, buses 24, 47
Adults 400 rub.
Schoolchildren 100 rub.
Ticket online for all categories of citizens 400 rub.
Bank cards are accepted for payment