MUSEUMS OF EKATERINBURG, Yekaterinburg, Russia (D)

Ekaterinburg is a city which preserves its past alongside its present. Here you can always find the open doors of various museums, keeping the unique exhibits and offering new fascinating expositions on arts, history, technology, natural science and stone cutting. Ekaterinburg museums will allow you to plunge into the past as well as feel the rhythm of the contemporary city life.
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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Location: Russia » Yekaterinburg
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (D))
# of Attractions: 17
Author: Evgenyj Tulisov
Author Bio: He was born in 1971. In 1993 he graduated the historical faculty of the Ural State University. He worked on the position of research officer in the Institute of history and archeology in the Ural department of RAS. At the end of 2000 he was chosen as executive director and vice president of Ekaterinburg public charity fund “House of scientists”. Starting from October of 2001 he is the head of the Municipal institution “Stolitsa Urala”.
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • The Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts
  • House of A.F. Poklevskikh-Kozell
  • Nature Museum
  • Museum of Architecture of the Urals
  • Museum “Tin Shop”
  • Museum of Stonecutting and Jewelry Art History
  • House-Museum of D.N. Mamin-Sibiryak
  • House-Museum of F.M. Reshetnikov
  • Museum «Literary Life of Urals in the 20th Century»
  • Wonderland Museum of Dolls
  • Literary Life of the Urals in the 19th Century
  • Photography Museum of Metenkov
  • Museum of Ekaterinburg History
  • Petrushka’s House
  • Museum of Stone
  • Nevyansk's Museum of Religious Icons
  • Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore
The Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts

1) The Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts

The Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts is one of the largest art museums in the Urals. The museum is located in a picturesque city area, in a renovated 18th century building. The display on the first floor greets visitors with a unique collection of Kasli art cast-iron moldings. Craftsmen put inspiration and elegance into vases made in modernist style and laced jewelry boxes. The central exposition is taken by the world-known Kaslisky Cast Iron Pavilion. It was made for the World Industrial Exhibition, which took place in Paris in 1900, and won the highest award (Grand Prix) and Grand Gold Medal. It is the largest architectural composition made of cast iron. The Museum of Fine Art takes special pride in its fascinating exhibition of paintings. The Russian Paining Section displays a collection of religious icons from the 16th-19th centuries. Western European art is represented by Renaissance masters’ paintings. The decorative and applied arts section displays cut stone and jewelry items.
House of A.F. Poklevskikh-Kozell

2) House of A.F. Poklevskikh-Kozell

The museum is housed in the former mansion of A.F. Poklevskikh-Kozell, a Ural nobleman and “wine distillery king”. In this comfortable, 19th century mansion visitors will be set off on an exciting journey to the past: the sitting room, study and library will help guests glide through captivating settings of old Ekaterinburg.

The sitting room introduces visitors to the history of theatrical, musical and literary life in the city. The study and library display a kaleidoscope of “small exhibits”: inkstands, smoking pipes and clocks of every kind.

The display “Gifts and Givers” contains collector showpieces from the museum’s early years: collections of exotic beetles, butterflies and moths; rare coins from the 18th-19th centuries; the cranium of a wooly rhinoceros, mammoth tusks, ancient armory and porcelain.

The Museum and Exhibition Center is a regular place for history and art exhibitions.
Nature Museum

3) Nature Museum

The Nature Museum is the oldest branch of the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore. Over the years the museum has accumulated a rich collection, which is composed of approximately 60 thousand items.

The museum showcases major periods of the Ural Mountains formation, plants and animals of the times gone by. The most notable exhibits of the paleontological collection are a 500 kilogram block of malachite and the full skeletons of a mammoth and giant deer (Megaloceros Giganteus), as well as a print of the spiral dental apparatus of a prehistoric helicoprion shark.

The display consists of six subject-sections.

The museum adornment is dioramas of Ural nature, reconstructed forests and fields displaying animals, birds and insects in natural surroundings. Like grandeur elks, a beaver building his dam, and many other compositions. The display gives an idea of the landscape and wildlife of the Sverdlovsk Oblast.

The Nature Museum is a member of the Russian Association of Nature Museums.
Museum of Architecture of the Urals

4) Museum of Architecture of the Urals

At the very center of Ekaterinburg, the Historical Square preserves an old factory wall and industrial buildings from the 19th century. Iron making works, which were put into operation the year of Ekaterinburg’s foundation, once stood here. Today, there is the Museum of Architecture and Machinery of the Urals.

The exhibition “Stone Belt” shows urban development and architecture projects of special significance. It demonstrates prototypes of Ural fortresses and monasteries with their original features. The exhibition “The Ekaterinburg History of Development” traces the stages of shaping the city image, offering a better view of the architectural style of Ekaterinburg.

The museum section dedicated to Ural mining machinery displays drawings, photographs, prototypes and old mechanical units from the 18th and 19th centuries. The special pride of the exhibition is machinery and tools from the workshop of V.V. Shakhmin, an outstanding representative of Ural stone-cutting art.
Museum “Tin Shop”

5) Museum “Tin Shop”

The old hex-angular water tower, located by the city dam, was built in the 1880s to service Ekaterinburg railway shops located in the premises of the former mechanical factory and the Mint.

The quarry stone tower, donated to the Ekaterinburg History Museum, lodges the Tin Shop Museum for the summer season. The display is arranged as a shop selling metal-ware popular in the Urals: hardware, small tools, blacksmith and farming tools, utensils, lamps and household items. Despite the limited space, the collection is rich in exhibits and showcases the Ural blacksmith culture of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Museum of Stonecutting and Jewelry Art History

6) Museum of Stonecutting and Jewelry Art History

The Museum of Stone-cutting and Jewelry Art History is located in the estate of the former mining pharmacy.

The ample wealth of the Ural mines gave rise to a stone-cutting and jewelry industry in Ekaterinburg. In 1751, the Ekaterinburg Imperial Lapidary Factory was set up. The earliest stone-cut pieces displayed in the museum date back to the 18th century, including a meter-and-a half vase made of Kalkan jasper. The pearl of the collection is the unique set of stone seals, together with the works of N.D. Tataurov, an outstanding Ural stone-cutter.

The museum is notable for its collection of work-pieces made of malachite. Visitors can learn the details of its carving.

The main attraction of the museum is the Gold Storeroom. This treasure-room keeps unique mineralogical samples, as well as the crystal “Alexandrov Demantoid”. The collection of Fabergé jewelry is of rival interest.

The museum displays a fascinating composition known as the Bazhov Room.
House-Museum of D.N. Mamin-Sibiryak

7) House-Museum of D.N. Mamin-Sibiryak

The house, which was later turned into a museum, was bought by the writer D.N. Mamin-Sibiryak for the fee he received for his novel “The Privalovs Millions”. The house was occupied by the whole Mamins family.

The museum started its life in the 1930s, and in 1941 welcomed its first visitors. The museum curators try to maintain the ambiance of the Mamin house. The display takes visitors into the privacy of the writer’s creative art and tells about his most significant works. The story of his work is narrated on the background of his family life, highlighting relationships with people who were of kindred spirit and an integral part of the writer’s creative world.

The house-museum of D.N. Mamin-Sibiryak is full of images, allegories and hidden meanings. The furnishings and interior of the museum combine authentic and simulated items; however, they are inextricably intertwined with the personality of the writer, his thoughts, conceptions and books.
House-Museum of F.M. Reshetnikov

8) House-Museum of F.M. Reshetnikov

Literature Memorial House-Museum of the writer F.M. Reshetnikov was opened in an old two-story mansion in Proletarskaya Street (former Ofitserskaya Street) in October 1991. Local legend says that in that house, in the family of a Ekaterinburg mailman the future writer was born. The house was built by the merchant Karnaukhov in the mid 1800s. The literature and memorial parts of the museum go hand in hand with each other, as many characters of the writer’s novels and stories are postmen. The narrative of the writer’s life and work flows into the narrative of postal service in the 19th century, highlighting its traditions. The display shows a simulated coachman inn, horse-barn and coach-house. It showcases items of travel-ware – all of these restore the ambiance of the Ural postal service of the late 19th century. It is the second museum in Russia after the House of Postmaster in Vyra near St. Petersburg where the household of the post station was restored.
Museum «Literary Life of Urals in the 20th Century»

9) Museum «Literary Life of Urals in the 20th Century»

Among the white-stone mansions of the 19th century stands out a small veined wooden castle (terem) with a high porch and laced railing. It is decorated with enigmatic lacy carving along its eaves. It looks like a fabulous ship, projecting its spell and catching eyes with its exceptional beauty and some veil of mystery, rising like a phoenix from the ashes – a splendorous architectural specimen of the Russian province wooden modernism.

It goes back to the Silver Age and its first exhibition “Alexander Blok and the Silver Age of Russian Culture” was its perfect match.

The museum has unlimited public access, visitors can get acquainted with the creative work of Ural writers, meet young authors, listen to romances, take part in the presentations of new books and paintings. Opening hours: Monday - Saturday, 11:00-17:00, Day off: Sunday
Wonderland Museum of Dolls

10) Wonderland Museum of Dolls

It is the only museum in the world which combines collections of dolls and books. The Museum of Dolls and Children's Books was opened in the Literary Quarter on October 31st, 1994. It is located in the house where the family of D.N. Mamin-Sibiryak lived from 1880 to 1883. One of the first versions of the novel “Privalov’s millions” was written in this house. Till 2003, this building housed the exhibition of private collections, the Scientific and Educational Department of the United Museum of Ural writers and exhibitions of dolls and puppets.

Today the house is under the management of the Museum of Dolls and Children's Books, which is known under the name Wonderland. Currently, it displays the exhibition “Moonlight Doll Stories”. The exhibition displays rare children's books of the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as different fairy-tale books. The museum also holds children’s parties, matinees, contests and puppet shows.
Literary Life of the Urals in the 19th Century

11) Literary Life of the Urals in the 19th Century

Near the beautiful Cathedral, you can see an old two-story house gleaming with its windows through the evening dusk. If you listen carefully, you will hear a tender female voice and the sound of a piano floating over the flowers of glossy black cherry trees. The street is deserted - not a single person is there. The first stars mirror in the cathedral dome, and in the small house on Tolmacheva Street ghosts of the past wake up.

It is one of the little-known addresses of the famous writer D.N. Mamin-Sibiryak. Today, there is a museum which shows not only the most blooming period of the writer’s creative work, but also the literary life of the 19th-century Urals. Visitors can see exhibits about famous people of Ekaterinburg – Mamin-Sibiryak’s peers – and learn about the theatrical and musical life of the city in those days. The ambiance of bygone days revives in musical soirees, literary parlors, and during home readings, which are often included in the museum's program.
Photography Museum of Metenkov

12) Photography Museum of Metenkov

The only-in the Urals photography museum shows a century and a half of photography history in Ekaterinburg.

The idea of the museum owes its inception to V.L. Metenkov.

One of the museum halls recreates the ambiance of the old photography studio. The earliest photograph, apart from the daguerreotype, dates back to 1863.

Every month in demonstration halls of the museum two or three exhibitions displaying works of contemporary photographers take turns. The museum always keeps open house both for works of professional photography artists and for pictures taken by amateurs.

Since 2005 the Museum of Metenkov has been holding photo-contests – creative competitions among amateur photographers. Contest participants are required to cover a dozen of fanciful themes within a certain period of time. The contest gives free reign to artistic self-actualization and involves citizens’ participation who can see the results in museum displays.
Museum of Ekaterinburg History

13) Museum of Ekaterinburg History

The on-going display traces the history of Ekaterinburg through the life line of one building. Over the 180 years elapsed since the time it was built the house have lived through a good deal of events. Visitors travel from one period to another watching the consecutive historical changes of the building.

One of the most fascinating exhibits – a cabinet made by German cabinet-makers in 1734 – is nearly an age-mate to Ekaterinburg.

The Museum of Ekaterinburg History showcases the interior and the book collection of the most successful private library of Ekaterinburg, S.A. Tikhotskaya's. She donated her private library (16 thousand books) to the city.

In the Museum of Ekaterinburg History, visitors can also enjoy a rare opportunity to see Ekaterinburg’ underground utility veins and arteries, as well as an opportunity to take a look at the city from space thanks to creative and almost theatrical solutions.
Petrushka’s House

14) Petrushka’s House

The Ekaterinburg Puppet Theatre looks like a cubby house. It also resembles a jewel box.

Recently one more compartment has been added to this box – Petrushka’ House (Punch House) – a doll museum or fairy-tale corner where everyone feels comfortable and cheery.

The museum is quite small: it has only three rooms. Dolls and puppets are everywhere – on the walls, on the floor and under the ceiling. Among them there are the Wise Men of huge size from the Radiant Light stage-play, shamakhanskaya tsaritsa (tsarina) and padishah from the Aladdin fairy-tale, rabbits and koloboks (gingerbread boys).

The old and played-out Petrushka, with a peeled nose, is given the place of honor in the museum. This puppet is more than sixty years old; actors used to take it for their front-line concerts during the Great Patriotic War.

In the museum grown-up spectators can recall their favorite personages and even touch them – and then this touch works wonders – the motionless puppet wakes up to life.
Museum of Stone

15) Museum of Stone

Ekaterinburg takes pride in a place where you can admire the beauty and wealth of Mother Earth – the Museum of Stone.

The museum displays more than 2,000 exhibits, and the entire collection consists of nearly 17,000 items. There is veined malachite, turquoise; crystal-clear quartz mirrors golden pyrite. The museum has exhibits of the prehistoric world: dinosaur jaws, fossil eggs and claws, as well as ammonites and the Earth's first living organisms – trilobites that lived more than one and half million years ago. Installations of natural stone depicting roaring prehistoric saurians and their hatching nestlings are of special interest for dinosaur fans.

The museum displays not only natural Ural stone, but also a vast array of stone-cut items, in which inexhaustible fantasy of nature intertwines with genuine art of gifted stone-cutters, lapidaries and jewelers.

The collection of V.A. Pepelenko is of high scientific and art value. It is one of the richest stone collections in Russia.
Nevyansk's Museum of Religious Icons

16) Nevyansk's Museum of Religious Icons

The Nevyansk's Museum of Religious Icons opened its doors for visitors in 1999. The museum displays the Nevyansk school of icon-painting, which came into life and developed in the Urals in the 18th and 19th centuries. The first reference to Nevyansk's icons can be found in the mid-18th century archive documents and the earliest work of Nevyansk painters – the icon of the Mother of God is known as the “Egyptian” icon and dates back to 1734. The icons of the Ural school are distinguished by loyalty to the traditions of that time.

The museum is rightfully proud of its collection of early printed and church books and manuscripts; collection of copper-cast, embroidered, silver and bronze icon-settings; and amateur prints of the late 19th century. The museum collection holds more than three hundred unique icons from the 16th – 20th centuries, representing the school of Nevyansk and the Russian North.
Image Courtesy of Jeanneeliza.
Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore

17) Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore

The Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore is one of the oldest museums in Russia. It was opened on December 21st in 1870. The historical exhibition starts by the display “Ancient History of Ural Population” and covers the period from the Paleolithic Age to the 16th century. It displays one of the most famous archeological collections in Russia, including items of wood, bone and horn work.

The most prominent exhibit of the collection is the Big Shigir Idol. Independent experts argue that the Shigir Idol is 9.5 thousand years old.

The display dedicated to the history of the Urals during the 16th – 19th centuries is divided into two sections: “On the way to Siberia” and “The Mining World”.

The Romanovs memorial hall is devoted to the tragic events of 1918.

Today, the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore consists of 6 buildings in Ekaterinburg and another 11 buildings in its surrounding area. The museum holdings include more than half a million authentic artifacts.