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The history of the National Museum of the Republic of Buryatia

The National Museum of the Republic of Buryatia was founded by incorporation of the three museums: The History Museum of Buryatia named after Matvei Khangalov, The Art Museum named after Tsyrenzhap Sampilov and the Nature Museum of Buryatia. In 2013 the Novoselenginsk Museum of Decembrists was joined to the National Museum of the Republic of Buryatia.

The National Museum of the Republic of Buryatia is the treasure house of the republic, one of the symbols and visiting cards of it. It is considered not only to carry and reflect the national idea of the republic, but as well it reflects all historical processes that took place in the life not only in our republic, but in Russia. By visiting the museum, guests and tourists of our republic, get knowledge about the history, culture, ethnography, archaeology, folklore, customs, traditions and mode of life of the peoples inhabiting the region around Lake Baikal.

The museum specialists offer various activities and services to visitors: guided tours, lectures and classes, seminars, various educational programs for pupils and students, multi – media scientific projects, presentations, historical contests and cultural mass affairs and performances.

Currently, the National Museum possesses 75193 thousands museum items. The rich museum collections contain different sections: the archaeological collection (it contains about 7 000 relics of the Bronze and the Iron Ages, the Middle Ages, items of the Huns culture), the photography and documents section, the section of painting, graphics, sculpture, decorative – and –applied art and jewelry , the ethnographical collection and the collection of Buddhist items.

The Nature Museum of Buryatia was opened in July 12, 1983. It was restructured from the division of nature of the Local Lore Museum named after Matvei Khangalov. Today the Nature Museum is one of the leading museums of nature in our country, the member of the association “Open Museum”, the member of the Association of Natural Science Museums of Russia. It is one of the museums in the Far East and Siberia which exposition is created by an unusual method – the method of so called “landscape design”. The main goal of the museum is to protect the nature and the environment.

The expositional activity is one of the principal in the museum. It arranges various exhibitions. Museum specialists are also actively involved in educational, collecting and scientific activities.  The funds of the museum contain rare natural species and objects discovered by museum specialists during expeditions. Curators of the museum process the items for researching and exhibiting. Over 20 000 museum items featuring unique nature of Buryatia, its various mineral resources, flora and fauna are displayed in five expositional halls of the museum.

The most significant exhibitions of the recent years, including such as: “Butterflies from all parts of the planet”, “Opening the door of the Buryat yurt”, “Buryatia. Open Space. Baikal”, “Ticket to China”, “Traces of the past biospheres”, “Sources of Buryatia”, “Vehicles “Mirs” for Lake Baikal”,

International expositions (exhibited in China, Mongolia and Bulgaria): “The Boundless Selenga river”, “Horses in the history of the peoples of Buryatia and Mongolia”, “Baikal is the part of the world legacy”, “The Era of Dinosaurs. The Finds from the Gobi desert” were very popular with the population of Buryatia and tourists.

A new educational project “Flight in the Solar system” (a special digital program that creates the star sky in the real time regime gives the unique possibility to learn stars and the Solar system objects) is of a great interest for young people and adults.

The Nature Museum of the Republic of Buryatia invites visitors to its exhibitions, educational games and projects, various contests and multi – media programs!

The Art Museum of Buryatia named after Tsyrenzhap Sampilov was established by the decree № 245 issued in October, 25, 1943 by the Council of the Peoples’ Deputies of the Buryat –Mongolian Soviet Socialist Autonomous Republic and the Bureau of the Regional Committee of the Bolsheviks’ Party. The opening of the museum in 1944, during the World War II, became a significant event in the life of our republic and a joyful sign about the future Victory.  The talented Buryat artist Roman Merdygeyev was appointed to be the first director of the museum.

The museum collection contains 10 000 artworks: painting, graphics, jewelry, sculpture and decorative – and – applied art works.

The first collection of the museum was formed by canvases, genuine masterpieces created by Russian artists, which were gifted to the Buryat museum by the State Russian Museum (St. –Petersburg) in 1947.

A small collection of canvases, created by local Buryat artists, was formed long before the official opening of the museum. In 1933 the Union of Artists was established in Buryatia. Works of the first Buryat painters including Innokenty Daduyev, Roman Merdygeyev, Tsyrenzhap Sampilov, Ivan Arzhikov, Alexander Khangalov, Alexander Timin, Alexander Okladnikov formed the first museum collection of painting. Today, these unique canvases, reflecting traditional mode of life of the peoples of Buryatia, historical and cultural events that took place in the republic, are included in the “Golden Fund” of the Buryat painting.

The “Silver Fund” collection of our museum contains the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries unique classical and traditional jewelry and decoration sets for men and women made of silver: earrings, bracelets, pendants, rings, amulets, decorations for the head and breast.

The History Museum of Buryatia named after Matvei Khangalov, one of the oldest museums in Siberia, was established in May, 1923 by the Decree of the Buryat Revolutionary Committee headed by Mikhei Erbanov.

The richest collections of the museum contain unique items and artefacts on the history, archaeology, ethnography, numismatics, silver items, old photographs and historical documents and items of the Soviet time. One of the first collections formed in the museum was the archaeological collection. First archaeologists discovered unique artefacts of the Neolithic, Bronze, the Middle Ages and the Hunnic culture. 7000 museum archaeological items are of real pride of the museum and are of great scientific interest for specialists and scholars not only in Buryatia but in Russia. The photo and documentary fund of the museum contains unique documents, writing sources, old newspapers, ancient maps, photographs, postcards reflecting historical events that took place before the Great October Revolution,  Soviet and Post –Soviet times. The ethnographical collection containing costumes, home utensils, personal belongings of people, famous and ordinary, furniture and other museum items, reflects unique cultures of the peoples inhabiting the territory around Lake Baikal: the Russians, the Cossacks, the Old Believers, the Evenks, the Soyots and the Buryats. The museum’s expositions and exhibitions are of a great interest not only for tourists and guests of our town and republic but as well for the local population.

The Novoselenginsk Museum of Decembrists was founded in 1973. It is located in the house of the merchant Dmitry Startsev. The house is the monument of architecture of the 19th century. The exposition of the museum gives knowledge about the Decembrists’ movement (the Revolt happened in December, 25, 1725 on the Senate Square, St. –Petersburg), about 14 noble men who were exiled to Buryatia, in the Selenginsk Dauria, their lives, relatives and their educational and scientific activities in Buryatia.