The State Historical Museum in Moscow is a must for anyone interested in learning more about Russian history. Opened in 1894, the museum was the result of a 20-year project to consolidate multiple archaeological and anthropological collections into a single museum. Set just off Red Square in a large Russian Revivalist building, the museum is home to more than four million objects covering 1,000 years of Russian history and the history of northeastern Eurasian civilizations.
Exhibits are presented mostly chronologically across 39 rooms, each of which focuses on a different era or region, such as Eastern Europe and Asia in the Middle Ages, the Old Russian State in the 9th to 12th Centuries, Craft and Trade in the 16th and 17th centuries, the era of Catherine the Great, the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian culture in the early 20th century. The entire second floor is devoted to Russia’s imperial period, with many personal items, palace decorations and furnishings on display. Other highlights include Scythian gold figures, funerary masks from Russia’s Altai region and the death mask of Peter the Great.
To get to the State Historical Museum, take the Metro to Okhotny Ryad, Ploschchad Revolyutsii or Teatralnaya. The museum building stands to the right as you enter Red Square through Resurrection Gate. The ticket office closes an hour before closing time. English labeling in the museum can be scarce, so visiting with a guide or as part of a tour is recommended.