The royal arsenal from 1508, until transferred to the new capital in St. Petersburg in 1711, the Armoury produced, purchased, and stored not only weapons, but also the jewelry and various household articles of the tsars. Tsar Alexander I of Russia nominated it to be the first public museum in Moscow in 1806, but the collections were not opened to the public for another 7 years. The current building was designed in 1844-1851 by architect Konstantin Ton.

Asiatic Museum

One of the first museums of Asian art in Europe, the Asiatic Museum was founded in 1818 by then President of the Academy of Science Sergei Uvarov, father of Alexei. Uvarov purchased the extensive collection of the French consul in Tripoli, and transformed this into a separate section of the Academy.

Caucasus Museum

Organized in 1867 in Tbilisi by naturalist Gustav Radde, the archeological was greatly enriched when the fifth congress was held there in 1881. Praskovia Uvarova worked closely with Radde thereafter.


Founded in 1754, but not opened to the public until 1852, the Hermitage is part of the complex of the Winter Palace, in the imperial capital of St. Petersburg. Attached to the tsars privately, the “Cabinet of his Royal Highness” of the Imperial Domain, what became the Hermitage began as a series of collections of aesthetically pleasing objects gathered from excavations around the empire. The dramatic findings of Scythian gold became the first archeological objects of note; when the Archeological Commission opened in 1859, the fruits of its sponsored excavations went first to the Hermitage, which enjoyed the authority to “present them to the tsar.”

Historical Museum

The building of this museum resulted from the ambitions of the founding members of the Moscow Archeological Society, Ivan Zabelin and Alexei and Praskovia Uvarov, to build a museum that would in ideological competition with the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The great minds behind the museum wanted a place to showcase Russia’s history rather than the most aesthetic treasures excavated from around the empire. Architect Vladimir Osipovich Sherwood/Shervud was the Anglo-Russian architect, famous for his “Russian Revival” style, designed the building, under construction 1875-1881. Interrupted by the assassination of Alexander II in 1881, the museum opened officially when Tsar Alexander III and his wife, Maria Federovna, visited in 1883.

Kerch Museum of Antiquity

Originally the private collection of Paul Du Brux, one of the French nobles who emigrated to New Russia during the French Revolution, the museum was officially chartered in 1826 by I. P. Blaramberg. In 1835 the Odessa architect G. I. Torichelli designed a new building for it on Mt. Mithradat, modeled on the Athenian temple of Hephaestion, close comrade of Alexander the Great. This was destroyed in the Crimean War, and many of the treasures that had not already been sent to the Hermitage now ended up in the British Museum.

Rumiantsev Museum

Originally in Petersburg, the private collection of Count N. P. Rumiantsev, it was opened to the public in 1831 prized for its library. Count Odoesvskii successfully petitioned the Council of Ministers to transfer it to the Pashkov mansion, just opposite Red Square. Divided originally into departments of painting, engraving, numismatics, and archaeology, the Ethnographic Exposition of 1867 was transferred to it as the Dashkov Museum of Ethnography.