The State Historical Museum is situated in the heart of Moscow, in Red Square. It is a symbol of Moscow like the Kremlin and the Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
Museum’s exposition, housed in 40 rooms, covers not only a thousand years of Russian history but also history of north-eastern Eurasia civilizations from the early Paleolithic Age to the present.
The Museum was officially established in 1872 by a personal decree of Emperor Alexander II and it was opened for public in 1883, on the coronation date of Emperor Alexander III after whom the Museum was named since 1894 till 1917.
Museum’s first director de facto was A. Uvarov (count, Russian archaeologist, a cofounder of the Museum), and since 1885 – I. Zabelin (outstanding Russian historian, ethnographer and archaeologist).
Museum collections and exhibitions are presented in the edifice destined and built specially for museum. This is an extraordinary architecture monument fulfilled in so-called Russian style of the second half of the 19th century and it occupies its proper place in the architecture ensemble of Red Square. The art design of museum building was worked out by architect Vladimir Sherwood and engineer Anatoly Semyonov, and the design of Museum’s unique halls – by the most famous architects and artists.
The State Historical Museum is surely one of Russia’s treasures, with more than 4,5 mln items and about 14 mln sheets of documents. The Museum’s collection offers an assortment of paleontology, science, technology, archeology and history monuments; masterpieces of painting, drawing, sculpture, works of decorative, religion, literature, music, theater arts, and architecture.
The most different social classes of Russian society took part in the formation of Museum’s collection. Large donations came from the houses of the most rich aristocracy and merchant families: icons, ancient manuscripts, Russian paintings, weapons and ceramics.
The 1920s –1930s were years when the Museum received the collections from the State Museum Foundation and disembodied museums.
From the date of its foundation the Museum was not only a storage area for Museum’s collection but also the largest scientific and educational center. Every year about 1 mln people visit the Museum, and half of them are children and young people under 18.
Besides the main building in Red Square the Museum includes following sites:
1. Cathedral of the Intercession, better known as St. Basil’s Cathedral, monument of Russian architecture of the 16th century, national symbol of Russia
2. House of Romanov boyars dated to the 16th – 17th centuries, family nest of royal dynasty ruled Russia from 1613 till 1917
3. Museum of Patriotic War 1812 opened in 2012 as a part of the State Historical Museum