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Peter the Great Museum of Antropology and Etnography (Kunstkamera) Russian Academy of Sciences


3 University Emb., Saint-Petersburg
Phones: +7 (812)328-14-12
Web site:
One of the richest ethnographical museums in the world


Exhibitions to See
Mikhail Lomonosov and the 18th-Century Academy of Sciences
First Astronomical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences
Gottorp (Greater Academic) Globe
Kunstkamera’s Building History
First Scientific Collections of the Kunstkamera
Latin America
North America
Near and Middle East

The largest exhibit of the Kunstkammer is the Gottorp Globe, sometimes called the Great Academic Globe. It was made in the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein by the mechanic A. Busch to the design of Adam Olearius in 1651-1664, during the reign of Duke Frederick III.

The Gottorp Globe was a diplomatic gift to Tsar Peter I from the Holstein Duke Karl Friedrich during the Northern War. The globe was delivered to St. Petersburg for almost three years. Part of the way - by sea, part-through the woods, on winter roads. Special Cossack detachments cut through apiaries for sledges with the Gottorp globe. The globe arrived in the capital of the Russian Empire in 1717 and in 1726 was installed on the second floor of the Kunstkamera tower, above the anatomical theater.

The diameter of the globe is 3.1 meters. On the external side is a map of the world, with inner – sky map of the Northern hemisphere, where images of all constellations organized in accordance with the horizon line and features of the Earth's rotation, are typical of those latitudes where the globe was created. At the end of the 17th century, it was an unsurpassed "astronomical attraction". Inside the globe there are 12 seats, the axis of rotation is made at an angle to the earth's surface, which creates a "moment of weightlessness" when rotating. In the 17th century, this structure was rotated using a water mill, later the drive became mechanical, the surface of the globe and now you can spin and see the" inside " rotation of the constellations in the firmament.

During a fire in the Kunstkammer in 1747, the globe was seriously damaged: it left a metal frame, a few metal parts and a door with the image of the coat of arms of the Duchy of Holstein. However, the mechanism itself worked flawlessly, and the globe was restored in St. Petersburg at the Academy of Sciences by mechanics B. Scott and F. N. Tiryutin, cartographer I. F. Truscott and painter I. E. Grimmel in 1748-1752. That's why the globe got its second name – Big Academic, and the world map on the globe from Holstein is now not in Latin, but in Cyrillic. And this is a reliable historical representation of the planet Earth in the second half of the 18th century.

The newly created Large Academic Globe repeats the size of the burned-out Gottorp globe, reproduces the current mechanism of rotation, astronomy with a map of the starry sky inside. During the 200 years after the fire, the globe changed its "places of residence" many times and back, to

the tower of the Kunstkamera, was able to return only in 1947, when after the war there was a large-scale reconstruction of the museum building. In the 18th century, the walls of the tower were built around the already placed Gottorp Globe. In the 20th century, in order for the Gottorp Globe to be inside the Kunstkammer, it was necessary to make a large opening in the wall. The stages of this complex operation are described by a special exposition located around the globe. And the globe itself has rightfully become one of the main symbols of the revival of the Kunstkamera after the Great Patriotic War.


Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences is one of the largest and oldest ethnographic museums in the world. It is the successor to the first Russian state public museum, the famous Kunstkamera, founded by Peter the Great in 1714. The Kunstkamera was created with the aim of collecting and researching rarities made by nature and human hands. Today Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera) RAS is not only an academic museum, but also one of the leading research centers of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The traditions of the great Russian ethnographers and anthropologists of the XVIII - XX centuries continue here. The Museum's invaluable ethnographic, anthropological and archaeological collections are among the most complete and interesting in the world. They include more than 1.2 million exhibits, reflect the diversity of cultures of the peoples of the Old and New Worlds and are part of the cultural heritage of all mankind. In October 2020, on the initiative of the MAE (Kunstkamera) RAS the Alliance of Early Universal Museums was created which included, besides the MAE RAS, the Teylers Museum (Haarlem, Netherlands) and Franckesche Stiftungen (Halle, Germany).