Home in Moscow
The Museum of the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in
Moscow is among the largest paleontological museums in the world.
As with other world-class museums, it displays only a small fraction
of vast collections of the Paleontological Institute.
In Moscow the Museum was opened for the first time in 1937, but its history goes
back to the "Kunstkamer" founded by Peter the Great in St. Petersburg in 1716.
The Kunstcamer, the first public museum in Russia, was destined to house a
collection of rarities, including some mammalian fossils of the Ice Age.
When the Academy of Science of Russia was established in St. Petersburgh in 1725,
all fossil specimens were transferred from the Kunstcamer to the Mineral Collection of
the Academy, which was transformed subsequently into the Mineralogical Museum,
and yet again renamed the Geological Museum at the end of the last century.
In 1930, the Geological Museum was divided into three parts.
One of them with the fossil collections became the Paleozoological Institute,
once more renamed the Paleontological Institute.
In 1934, the Institute and its Museum were moved to Moscow.
From its opening in 1937 and for over forty years, the museum was located
in Nescuchny Palace, an architectural monument of the 18th century.
Because of intensive field collecting carried out by the Paleontological Institute
in many regions of Russia, the former Soviet Republics, as well as in Mongolia and
China, both its research collections and museum exposition outgrew the facility and had
to relocate. A new building of a very unusual design was constructed for the
Paleontological Institue and Museum at the end of the 1970's.
A new Museum of the Paleontological Institute was completed and opened in 1987.
It occupies 4200 square meters (42,000 square feet) of display space consisting of four
halls: the Hall of the Early Paleozoic and Invertabrates, the Hall of the Late Paleozoic,
the Mesozoic Hall (the Age of Dinosaurs), and the Cenozoic Hall (the Age of Mammals).
"Russian Dinosaur Exhibition" contains just a small, but representative sample from two
halls of the Museum in Moscow - the Hall of the late Paleozoic and the Mesozoic Hall.