Tourist Information Center Partnership Project

The Sakhalin Regional Museum of Local Lore


Sakhalin Oblast
Kommunisticheskiy prospekt - 29, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk


Rare collections include ancient items of traditional culture of the Sakhalin aborigines (Ainu, Wilta (Orok), Nivkh) and paleontological collections.

Permanent exhibitions:

"The history of the geological development of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands" gives a general idea of ​​the history of the Earth, tells about the history of the geological development of Sakhalin Island from the late Cretaceous period to the present time, about modern geological processes occurring on the islands. The geological hall exhibits unique replicas of the skeletons of the Sakhalin dinosaur Nipponosaurus sachalinensis and the fossil mammal Desmostylus hesperus, plant and animal fossils, the geological age of which is from 100 to 2 million years.

"The flora and fauna of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands" introduces the diversity of land mammals, the rich world of birds and insects, the species diversity of amphibians and reptiles on the islands, the fauna of the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan, as well as rare species of island fauna listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation and the Sakhalin region.

"Ancient cultures. Indigenous peoples " introduces the ancient past of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands on the basis of objects found during archaeological excavations by Sakhalin archaeologists, as well as with the indigenous peoples who lived on the Islands of the region – Ainu, Nivkh, Uilta.

"The history of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands in the first half of the XX century" - reflects the history of two wars: the Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905 and the last stage of the Second world war, including the South Sakhalin offensive and the Kuril landing operation of 1945. The history of the Northern and southern parts of Sakhalin in the period from 1905 to 1945 is also presented.

"Sakhalin during the period of hard labor" tells about the period of hard labor on Sakhalin, which lasted 37 years (1869-1906). The exposition contains original exhibits of that time: shackles, a key and a lock from the punishment cell of the prison, documents and photographs.

"Discovery and exploration of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands in the XVII-XIX centuries." introduces the results of Russian, Japanese and European expeditions, the process of establishing the border between Russia and neighboring countries - China and Japan.


The history of the museum in many aspects went hand in hand with the XX century’s political history of Sakhalin. The Foundations and traditions of museology on the island were laid out and established more than 100 years ago. First museum of Sakhalin was opened in the Aleksandrovsky Post in 1896. Owing to the efforts of a scarce local educated society and those of penitentiary‘s administration ethnographic, archeological, geological, botanical, zoological and other collections were gathered.

During the Japanese occupation (1905 and 1920-1925), the most valuable collections of Aboriginal culture, paleontological specimens and other exhibits of the first Sakhalin Museum at the post of Alexandrovsky were irrevocably lost under unclear circumstances.During the Japanese occupation (1905 and 1920-1925), the most valuable collections of Aboriginal culture, paleontological specimens and other exhibits of the first Sakhalin Museum at the post of Alexandrovsky were irrevocably lost under unclear circumstances.

In 1932 the Regional museum after the 15th anniversary of the Great October Revolution opened in Aleksandrovsk, administrative center of the northern Sakhalin. It was stocked up with new collections on history of penal servitude and ethnography of indigenous people. In the years preceeding World War II A. N. Ryzhkov, a famous Sakhalin historian later, worked in the museum as a student of local lore.

On southern Sakhalin a museum was also established during the Karafuto Governorate period (1905−1945). For the purpose of demonstration of the island’s natural history collections the Japanese authorities built a new museum building in 1932 owing to people’s donations. The building of the Karafuto Governorate’s Museum was constructed in the traditional style of "teican-dzukkuri" (imperial crown). It displayed ethnographical collections on the ingenious people of southern Sakhalin and those on paleontology, zoology and botanics. Names of such Japanese research scientists as Tiri Masikho, who specialized in Ainu studies, an ethnographer Yamamoto Tosio, botanist Sigedzo Sugavara and others are closely connected with the Karafuto museum. Museum staff published scientific collected volumes, articles and books. During Japanese occupation (in 1905 and 1920−1925) valuable collections on the ingenious people, paleontological artifacts and other exhibits were irreversibly lost under obscure circumstances. Part of collections was probably taken to Japan.

Upon completion of the World War II and liberation of the southern Sakhalin and the Kurile islands the Japanese museum in Toekhara was nationalized. Under the order of May 11, 1946 by D. Kryukov, a Chief of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Civil Administration, the Regional Museum was opened to visitors in the building of Japanese museum. For some period of time until repatriation of the Japanese citizen Soviet and Japanese museum employees worked together.

In 1947, the Sakhalin Oblast was established. A new stage in the history of the Sakhalin Regional Museum had begun. A small portion of nationalized Japanese collections was left in custody of the museum, but without explanatory information. In 1953, upon closure of the Aleksandrovsk city’s museum, all collections from there were transferred to the Sakhalin Regional Museum for permanent custody. Therefore, the Sakhalin Regional Museum became a successor and custodian of all the Sakhalin’s museum collections existing before in the insular region.

Interesting Facts

"Open Air Museum" is held from May to October on the territory of the museum, includes an acquaintance with the reconstruction of the winter and summer Nivkh dwellings, a bear log house and hung for drying fish, reconstructions of buildings from the period of hard labor, and tools from the period of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. and the Second World War, a Japanese school pavilion, Sakhalin plants, etc.