State Historical Museum

Istorichesky muzei

One of the main Moscow museums with a collection unique both in terms of quantity and quality was commissioned by Emperor Alexander II in 1872. Architect Vladimir Sherwood designed the Museum building in the Russian revival style echoing the ancient national artistic traditions of the 16th-17th centuries, and he managed to fit it perfectly into the architectural ensemble of Red Square. The Museum was opened in 1883 and was a social institution financed by private donations and ‘own funds’.

The collection of the Museum reflects the history and culture of Russia from ancient days to the present and includes around 5 million items. Permanent exposition is displayed in 39 halls and is dedicated to the periods of primitive society, ancient Russia, fragmentation, struggle against foreign invaders, unification of Russia, exploration of Siberia, and the Russian culture. The second floor is taken by the exposition representing the politics, culture and economy of the Russian Empire from the times of Peter the Great. One of the many interesting exhibits here is the unique Blaeu globe, made in the early 1960s for Swedish king Charles XI. The king’s son, Charles XII, refused to pay for the globe due to limited financial resources at the time of the Great Northern War. At the time Peter I showed interest in purchasing the item. In 1710 the Blaeu globe was bought and delivered to Russia. In 1912 it was handed over to the Historical Museum. Another unique artefact is the Codex Mosquensis II – one of the ancient manuscripts of the New Testament written in Greek dated to the 9th century, which was brought to Moscow from Athos peninsula in 1655.

The collection of the Museum’s Department of Written Sources contains unique documents on the history of Russia in the 16th – 20th centuries. It includes the collection of Count Grigory Orlov consisting of over 4 thousand autographs – letters, rescripts and charters of monarchs, politicians, military leaders, scientists, writes, composers, artists, and poets of the 15th – 19th centuries. There is also a collection of the 16th – 19th centuries’ nobility patents, materials on the history of enlightenment in Russia, various documents dating to the period of the 1905 and 1917 revolutions, and many other priceless historical artefacts.

Address: 1 Red Square (Krasnaya ploschad, 1)
Opening hours: Mon-Thu, Sun from 10 am to 6 pm, Fri-Sat from 10 am to 9 pm, closed on Tuesdays. The ticket offices close an hour prior to the closing of the Museum.
How to reach: Okhotny Ryad, Ploschad Revolutsii, Teatralnaya metro stations
Coordinates: 55.754938, 37.618399