Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera)
Founded by Peter the Great in 1714, the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography is Russia’s oldest museum. Its permanent collection is made up of almost two million items and includes a fascinating mix of cultural artefacts, curiosities, and scientific marvels from all around the world.
The Kunstkamera (as it is known in Russia) is a both a museum and a research center within the Russian Academy of Sciences. Visitors can see exhibitions that focus on the histories of different cultures around the world from Latin America to East Asia, including the regions’ arts, crafts, weaponry, clothing, religious items, and more.
Other exhibits in the museum include the 18th-century Astronomical Observatory and the Frederik Ruysch's Anatomic Collection, a series of biological specimens and gruesome items such as animals, severed limbs, and malformed babies preserved in jars. Visitors can explore the museum on a self-guided tour; booking a skip-the-line ticket is highly recommended.
Things to Know Before You Go
The museum’s exhibitions are presented in both Russian and English.
Give yourself a minimum of two hours to visit the museum, more if you want to see all of the exhibits.
Be aware that some of the items on display in the Anatomic Collection might be disturbing for younger children.
The museum is not wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The museum is located on the north bank of the Neva River, opposite the State Hermitage Museum. The closest subway station is Admiralteiskaya, which is roughly 10 minutes away by foot.
When to Get There
The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, and most Tuesdays, from 11am to 7pm; the ticket counter closes at 6pm. (The museum is closed on Mondays and the last Tuesday of every month, as well as on some major holidays.) Weekends are the busiest time to visit, and it’s best to get there early if you want to avoid the crowds and long ticket lines, especially during peak season.
Unusual Museums in St Petersburg
While crowds flock to world-famous museums such as the State Hermitage Museum and the Fabergé Museum, St Petersburg also has numerous quirky museums that offer a fun alternative for curious travelers. Step into the Upside-Down House, where everything is (you guessed it!) upside down; indulge your inner kid at the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines; sample the national drink at the Museum of Russian Vodka; or join cat lovers at the Republic of Cats Museum and Café.
- Admiralty Building
- The Menshikov Palace
- State Hermitage Museum
- Bronze Horseman
- St. Petersburg Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad)
- Museum of Optics
- Menshikov Palace
- Winter Palace of Peter the Great at the Hermitage
- The General Staff Building
- St. Isaac’s Cathedral (Isaakievskiy Sobor)
- Pushkin Museum
- The Republic of Cats Museum and Café
- Stroganov Palace (Stroganovsky Dvorets)
- Russian Vodka Museum (Muzey Russkogo Natsional'nogo Napitka)
- Peter and Paul Fortress (Petropavlovskaya Krepost)