Museum of History and Culture of Peoples of Siberia and Russian Far East
Soon after the establishment of the Institute of History, Philology and Philosophy, Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (SB AS USSR), Academician Alexey P. Okladnikov decided to found a museum. There were two preconditions for this decision. Firstly, this museum would provide an opportunity to display the newest archaeological, ethnographic, and archeographic finds. Secondly, it would help popularizing scientific knowledge of ancient Siberian populations and their rich cultures. Formerly, the museum collections were stored in the hall on the fourth floor of the Institute of Economics. When additional room was allocated to the Institute of Humanities, museum exhibitions were expanded and renewed. The museum occupied six rooms with a total area of more than 150 square meters in the mid-1970s. Upon construction of a new building for the Institute, the museum occupied the whole storey in 1980. The total area of the museum’s exhibition was 380 square meters. The Museum existed in this way until the mid-1990s.
Nowadays the museum occupies a separate building containing exhibition complex and conservation laboratories of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography (4, Zolotodolinskaya str., Novosibirsk). There are the main exhibition (315 square meters), depositary, and restoration and conservation laboratories on a total area of 500 square meters.
The exhibition is arranged according to the cultural-historical approach and divided into archaeological periods (the Paleolithic Age, Neolithic Age, Bronze Age, Early Iron Age, and Medieval Period). One more hall is devoted to the ethnographic materials of Siberian and Far Eastern populations.
The “Paleolithic Age” focuses on the initial occupation of Central Asia and Siberia by Homo sapiens, indicates the most ancient sites of human habitation in this area, and outlines the possible routes of early human migrations. Specific environmental conditions, economic and cultural activities of the archaic people from the oldest open-air site Karama and multi-layered site in Denisova Cave (Altai Mountains) are described. A great variety of the Upper Paleolithic artifacts is displayed. In addition to the main exhibition, there are several sliding glass-cases providing in-depth information. Besides, experimental archaeology approach based on production of replicas of ancient stone tools is represented in the hall. The simulation of Levallois technique and stone artifacts produced in this way are demonstrated in the Paleolithic hall.
The “Neolithic Age” exhibition is organized by the geographic principle. It helps to present regional diversity of ancient cultures: unique archaeological sites (predominantly grave fields) of the gatherer communities from the Angara River; large settlements of sedentary fishermen from Outer Manchuria. There are various ceramic vessels, small figurines, and rock art images (petroglyphs). The origin and development of ceramic production and advancements in stone industries are shown in the hall. The displayed artifacts illustrate the way of living of the ancient people and their adaptation to the environment.
The “Bronze Age” is concentrated on the emergence of productive economy in Siberia between 5000 – 4000 BP and animal husbandry in the Altai region (on the example of the Afanasievo culture). Technology of bronze artifacts production is presented by the Krotovo culture archaeological materials from the Ob region. The exhibition includes magnificent examples of ancient art: grooving on bones and horns as an expression of archaic mythological ideas about birds and snakes; stone steles with anthropomorphic images involved in ritual practices of the Karakol culture from the Altai region.
The “Early Iron Age” is dedicated to the development of nomadic cultures. Unique artifacts from ice tombs of the Pazyryk culture from the Ukok Plateau are presented. Besides, archaeological materials of the Tagar, Bolsherechenskaya, and Sargat cultures from the western and southern regions of Siberia are shown in this hall. Grave goods, a tattooed mummy of a man, original pieces and replicas of woman and man attire, decorations of horse trappings and other remarkable artifacts are displayed.
The exhibition about the medieval period concerns the history of early states in Siberia and the Far East. Archaeological materials of the Jurchen population (10th – 12th centuries) and those from Turkic Khaganate’s sites are presented in this hall. Besides, there are artifacts from other nomadic communities.
The purpose of the ethnographic exhibition is to show specific features of the spiritual culture of the autochthonous and Old Believer Slavic populations of Siberia and the Far East. There is a specific focus on decoration patterns, because these are specific for any ethnic culture. Besides, the ethnographic exhibition comprises information about the religious features of the Russian Orthodox people, shamanism and paganism of nomads from the Altai region, Buddhism components of the Buryats, home spirits in the cultures of Khanty, Mansi, and Selkup people, and cult objects of the Amur population.
The expositions at the Museum of History and Culture of the Peoples of Siberia and the Russian Far East have been set up on the basis of integrated and comprehensive approach to the studies of a great variety of the Siberian and Far Eastern cultures. They vividly illustrate various stages in the historical development of this huge region. The museum displays are used in education of students from the Novosibirsk State University (NSU).
Museum’s website: museumiaet.ru
Location: 4, Zolotodolinskaya str., Novosibirsk, Russia, 630090. Bus station “Dom Uchenyh” (“House of Scientists”).
Pre-arranged viewing sessions are provided for visitors on working days from 10 AM to 4 PM. An excursion lasts from 1 to 1.30 hours. The latest excursion starts at 4 PM.
You can apply for an excursion by phone +7-(383)-330-34-18.