Russian State Museum of Arctic and Antarctic – is the only one in Russia and the largest in the world cultural building that reflects polar theme, it is a unique Museum of polar countries. The scientific conception of the museum was created by the leader soviet scentists and polar-explorers. A significant part of St.Petersburg citizens is involved in scientific progress, connected with exploration of North.
The history of the museum has started from the Travelling Polar Exhibitions (1922- 1935), that later were added into Museum of Arctic.With the beginning of researching works in Antarctics, 1956-1958, the Museum opened a new section called “ Antarctic”, so the whole name of the Museum started to sound like Museum of Arctic and Antarctic. In 1988 the Museum became an offical building. Nowadays there are three departments there: Nature of Arctic, The history and exploration of North sea way, and Antarctic.
The materials that are kept in the Museum considered unique historical monuments, that have a world meaning, and the Museum tries to keep cultural and historical tradition of St.Petersburg as a centre of polar researches of Russia. Officially the Museum was opened in January 1937, though the decision of its creation was made long before.
The Museum got not only Soviet but also international recognition very quickly; in 1937 on the World Expossition in Paris the Museum got an Award. Later in 1950 started a new period in searching of new polar regions of the world- it was researching of the Antarctic.So the collection of the museum added new exhibits from the First Soviet Expeditions.
Though one of the first exhibits of the Museum was a three-seat hydroplane SH-2 that was built in the Leningrad by the Shargaev project.Though there are many interesting can be found in the Museum and actually you dont know which section is the best. In “Nature of Arctic”section are represented exhibits, characterizing georaphical peculiarities of Arctic, its picturesque and vegetative world. Its unique artistic works are dioramas Bird market, Tundra in winter, Tundra in summer, Rookery, Glacier of Shokalskiy in winter and many others created by Platunov and Zipalin.
The central place of the exibition takes model of Arctic, that represents by itself a part of a globe with a relief map. This model was made on the basement of materials by Shokalskiy in 1936. Antarctic is another part, and in reality Antarctic is a lowest polar area of the world. It includes in itself Antarctic and the water territories of the Southern Ocean with small ice islands. Antarctic is a place of an ice continent, where less than 1 % of its territory is free from ice.
The climate in Antarctic is very frosty. Even in summer time the temperature of the air on he most part of the territories doesnt raise up for than 0. In winter the temperature is above – 30-50 degrees, in some other areas -80 degrees. The lowest temperature of the air on the Earth was in July of 1983, and it was – 89 degrees. The flora and fauna on this ice continent is almost absent. The most well-known animals of Antarctic are penguins.
So this section tells about the nature of the 6th continent, the history of its discovery, the main expiditions and the activity of Soviet researches. The first who saw the shpres of Antarctic were russian sailor Lazarev and Bellinsgauzen. On the small boats they passed ices and lots of snowy icebergs and in 1820 they found a new continent, called later Antarctic. While their world round trip they went around Antarctic and found a new island of Peter 1 and the earth of Alexander 1.
The most unique collection in the museum is a collection of items of cold-dwellers in the first half of the 17th century, found in Western Siberia. There is a collection of art from the North, including clothes and items made of deer’s skin and water animals, collection of paintings from the University of North of 1930, here is represented sculpture and oil paitings, there is also a great and unique collection of coins (4000 items), where are gathered different coins from all over the world.
Nowadays the collection of the Museum gathered 75000 of exhibits. Among them are unique exhibits of 16th century. During 70 years of its work Russian State Museum of Arctic and Antarctic took more than 300 of exhibitions in Russia and abroad. More than 6 million people saw its collections. So Russian State Museum of Arctic and Antarctic became an essential part of cultural life of St.Petersburg and Russia.