St Petersburg University Exhibitions and Museum Collections

From the date of its foundation in 1724 St Petersburg University has been gathering, preserving and creating cultural, scientific and historical objects. Part of the University’s heritage is on display in the University museums and in online exhibitions.

The history of the University is inseparably connected with the history of Russia and the history of science. Many outstanding scientists and cultural figures studied, worked and lived here; many great discoveries and inventions were made here. A lot of events that changed the course of history happened at the University. 

Several buildings of the University are cultural heritage monuments and are of special interest. The University museum collections have more than 3 million objects in storage and are widely used in research and education. By number, and chronological and topical ranges the collection can be compared with the collections of the largest federal museums of Russia.

Since 2017, museums have been one of the activities of the University. This is due to changes in the Charter that were approved by Order of the Government of the Russian Federation No 1402 dated 22 November 2017. The museum collection of the University comprises the Exhibits and Collections Management as departments; whereas educational and research collections function either within educational and research divisions of the University or as independent departments.

Since 2021, the University has been a member of the Union of Russian museums.

St Petersburg University History Museum

St Petersburg University History Museum was founded in 1945. It became the first museum of the history of the institution of higher education in Russia. Its collection gives information about the main periods of the life of the University in the 18th to 19th centuries, and about outstanding graduates, including great scientists and politicians.

Dmitri Mendeleev Museum and Archives

The Museum was opened in 1911. It is located in the former University-owned apartment in the University’s Twelve Collegia building where Professor Mendeleev and his family lived from 1866 to 1890. It is the world largest collection of items, connected with the life and work of Dmitri Mendeleev.

Vladimir Nabokov Museum

Vladimir Nabokov Museum is located in the house where the writer was born and raised. Among the exhibits are household items and personal belongings of Nabokov, his working tools and appliances, lifetime publications, as well as a collection of butterflies. The historical interior has been preserved in the premises.

Diaghilev Museum of Modern Art

The Museum was established in 2008. The collection comprises more than 300 pieces of contemporary art: paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs. The core of the collection is based on the works of famous abstract artists and nonconformists of the 1960s and 1980s. The museum holds thematic and personal exhibitions regularly.

Museum of the History of Physics and Mathematics

The exhibition shows the history of the great discoveries in the field of physics, which are connected with St Petersburg University and the V.A. Fock Institute of Physics, it shows historical objects and modern developments of St Petersburg University scientists. Unique mechanisms and models of the cabinet of practical mechanics of the second half of the XIX century are also among the exhibits.

Mineralogical Museum

The Mineralogical Museum was founded in 1785. Over the years it has become one of the best natural science museums in Russia. Today, the collections of the Museum comprise about 40,000 samples — gems and ornamental stones, mineral associations, meteorites, etc. The main exposition is a systematic collection.

Palaeontological Museum

The collection is dedicated to identifying the relative geological age of the formation of rocks. It dates back to 1868 when the University bought a unique collection of Professor Eichwald. Today, the collection contains about 55,000 samples and is regularly updated with materials from field practices and expeditions.

Petrography Museum

The Museum is dedicated to the geology of rocks. The first collection assembled by Professor Aleksandr Inostrantsev, consisted of 550 samples. Today almost 40,000 items are stored in the museum's funds. The collection includes "Modern volcanism", "Rocks in the stone decoration of St. Petersburg" and rocks formed as a result of the fall of large cosmic bodies.


St Petersburg University Herbarium is one of the oldest and largest herbarium collections in Russia. It comprises approximately 1,400,000 items. Herbarium recognized internationally and included in all catalogues and summaries of herbariums of the world. It has been assigned the acronym (index) LECB. The earliest samples from the collection date back to the first quarter of the XVII century.

Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden consists of three greenhouses and an outdoor area with a total area of 1,75 hectares. The main target of the University Botanical Garden is to provide a training platform for the educational process. Along with conducting educational and research work, botanical gardens are engaged in popularization of knowledge about botany among the population.

SPbU Virtual Excursions

A virtual tour of the SPbU's building (22nd line of Vasilyevsky Island, 7)

This architectural monument of the XX century is located on the 22nd line of Vasilievsky Island. Originally, there was a school, a pedagogical museum and a technical school. In 1973 the Faculty of Law of St Petersburg University moved there.

Mineralogical Museum

An online excursion in the oldest mineralogical museum in Russia, where the first exhibits date back to 1785. Visitors will be able to see: rocks of the meteor ‘Borodino’, which fell near Borodino village right before the famous battle; a collection of minerals of Dmitri Mendeleev; and samples of the stones which were found by renowned scientists and educators during geological expeditions.

A virtual tour of the Kelch mansion

Visitors to the tour will see the decoration of the Pink Dining Room, the Gothic Dining Room, the White Marble Hall and other rooms of the mansion which belonged to wealthy Petersburgers. During the Soviet period, it housed party institutions and a film school.

A virtual tour of the Herbarium

The online tour includes: the unique collection of St Petersburg University’s herbarium which is the oldest in Russia; the greenhouse of the Botanical Garden; and a collection of 19th century botanical models.

Contemporary Sculpture Park

The Park was established in 2002 – since then, it has become a well-known visitor sight in St Petersburg. There are more than 50 sculptures and monuments to famous scientists, public figures, writers and fiction characters in the Park. The first monuments in Russia dedicated to Pak Kyongni, Vladimir Nabokov and Confucius are placed in the SPbU Contemporary Sculpture Park.

D. I. Mendeleev Museum-Archive

The museum-archive is located in the SPbU Twelve Collegia building in the former flat of Mendeleev, where the notable scientist lived and worked for more than 20 years. In the virtual tour you will be able to see the instruments invented by Mendeleev for Meteorology research, technical-economical and agricultural works.

The Nabokov Museum

47 Bolshaya Morskaya Street, St. Petersburg. This address is known to every reader of Vladimir Nabokov’s works. The future great writer, the great exile was born in this house on April 10 (Old Style), 22/23 April (New Style), 1899. Since then the house has not changed much , the house number is the same. Moreover, the original name of the street, which was changed after 1917, is now back. In his autobiographical novel "Speak, Memory" written almost fifty years after leaving the house, Vladimir Nabokov described the house and the lifestyle of his family in great detail.

Bobrinsky Palace

Bobrinsky Palace is an 18 – 19th ct. architecture heritage sight constructed by Luigi Rusca. It is located in one of the oldest districts of St. Petersburg and named after the family who owned the palace from 1798 to 1917. In the 19th ct. Bobrinsky Palace was one of the centres of social and cultural life in St. Peterburg.

Twelve Collegia

This is a project that helps you discover the University online. You can see the main corridor at the Twelve Collegia that is the longest university’s corridor in the world, Petrovskii Hall that has preserved its original interior of the 18th century, Park of the Modern Sculpture, and St Peter and Paul’s Church to name but a few.

Alexander Blok and St Petersburg University

The life of the outstanding Russian poet Alexander Blok was closely connected with the University. We invite you to travel to the university places of Alexander Blok.

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