Located at the northern end of Moscow’s Red Square, the State Historical Museum boasts an incredible collection of over 22,000 artifacts, which trace the entire Russian Empire, beginning in the Stone Age. With two floors filled with awe-inspiring exhibits, this museum is a must-visit for those looking to learn more about Russia’s fascinating history.
The Architecture of the Museum
Before you even begin to take a look at the collections within the museum, the building’s architecture will no doubt have impressed you. The building dates back to the late 19th century, and is the perfect example of the Russian Revivalism style of architecture, which is the region’s equivalent to the Neo-Gothic movement. With its intricate cornices and jagged towers, the building itself is a stunning historical landmark.
The Permanent Collection
The permanent collection at Moscow’s State Historical Museum is considered to be one of the best in the country, as it contains an incredible assortment of artefacts that relate to everything from science and palaeontology to painting, architecture and religion. While just about every part of the collection is worth exploring, there are some notable items that you will not want to miss, such as the longboat that was excavated from the banks of the Volga River, as well as the birch-bark scrolls of Novgorod, which are manuscripts that date all the way back to the sixth century. The museum also boasts the largest coin collection in Russia, with over 1.7 million coins, as well as a library that features a number of important manuscrips, such as those by Chludov Psalter from the 860s and Yuriev Gospel from 1119.
In addition to the museum’s extensive permanent collection, they also host regular temporary exhibitions, each of which is related to Russian history. While there are several exhibitions currently being held, one that is simply a must-see is The Era of Metropolitan Macarius exhibition, which is dedicated to the most important period in Russian history. The exhibit features everything from rare book vaults to objects of decorative art, and is one of the first exhibitions to offer such an all-encompassing view of the Metropolitan Macarius era. Also worth checking out is the Landscapes of Old Moscow exhibit, which features a range of watercolor paintings from Old Moscow, and have been donated to the museum from various famous personal collections. If you still have some time to spare, stop by at the Wonders of Russia multimedia exhibition, which features about 100 natural and architectural sites around the country, introducing these wonders to those who may never have the opportunity to see them for themselves in person.
Moscow, as well as Russia as a whole, has such a rich and diverse history, and it can be hard to take this all in in just one visit. However, by spending a day at the State Historical Museum, you will be rewarded with a comprehensive understanding of Russia’s history throughout the years, from its early stone age days up until today, giving you a whole new appreciation for everything else that you will see when exploring the rest of Moscow.