Irkutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore
Karl Marx St., 2, Irkutsk, Irkutsk region, 664003
Phones: 8 (3952) 33-62-30, +7 (924) 290-30-35
Web site: museum-irkutsk.com
Get acquainted with the history and nature of Eastern Siberia, discover archaeological finds, see rare and pre-revolutionary publications, and visit one of the first icebreakers in the world.
In the Museum Studio section, you can see the collections of the Irkutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore. The nature section presents rich paleontological, geological and zoological collections; there is also an exposition dedicated to the nature of Cisbaikalia. The history section, located in the building of the former museum of the East Siberian department of the Russian Geographical Society, includes exhibitions including: Ethnography of the Buryat, Evenk and Tofalar Peoples of Eastern Siberia, Archaeological Collections, Annexation and Economic Development of the Angara Region by Russians, and Pages of the History of the Twentieth Century. The Window to Asia section (a museum complex located in the recreated historical quarter of Irkutskaya Sloboda) details the development, study and annexation of the north-eastern part of the Asian continent to Russia. At the Irkutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore, the Museum of the writer and publicist Valentin Rasputin, as well as the Cultural and Educational Center named after St. Innokenty (Veniaminov), which includes both secular and spiritual items, have been opened.
The Irkutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore is one of the oldest in Russia. It was founded in December 1782 on the initiative of the Irkutsk governor Franz Klitschka, who called on the “fathers of the city” to donate funds for the construction of the museum and the first book depository. Local merchants responded to the call, and the governor himself contributed a significant amount. The flourishing of the museum was facilitated by the opening of the Siberian Department of the Russian Geographical Society in Irkutsk in 1851, under whose jurisdiction it entered in 1854. In 1879, a large-scale fire broke out in Irkutsk, which destroyed most of the city. Unfortunately, the museum was not spared either: 22 thousand unique exhibits were destroyed by the fire, and the rich library of more than 10 thousand books perished. After the fire, the townspeople began crowdfunding for the construction of a new stone building for the museum, and on October 6, 1883, its grand opening took place. In 1920, the Irkutsk Museum was nationalized and transferred to the state. 16 years later, an art collection was allocated from the storehouse of the institution, which became the basis of the Irkutsk Regional Art Museum. In the 1950s and 1960s, the assets of the Irkutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore were replenished with materials about the builders of the Irkutsk Hydroelectric Power Station, the development and establishment of new industrial centers in the east of the country (Shelekhov, Bratsk, Ust-Ilimsk) and, of course, the construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline. Currently, the Irkutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore includes seven sections. Its employees continue the traditions of their predecessors, collecting assets and carefully preserving unique collections. New exhibitions and displays appear in the museum, which are visited annually by up to 300,000 people.
Workshops and scientific and practical conferences are held in the halls of the Museum Studio; representatives of the Irkutsk Oblast museums gather here annually for the Mayevka festival. Concerts of folk and classical music are very popular among visitors. At the Irkutsk Museum, you can visit the Angara icebreaker, the display of which details the history of shipping on Lake Baikal. The exhibits include dummies and models of various ships that have been sailing on Lake Baikal since the 17th century, as well as a model of the Baikal ferry, which has not survived to this day. The exhibition presents a fragment of the interior of the 1st class wardroom and genuine ship instruments, as well as a genuine ship bell that belonged to the Angara icebreaker. Visitors can see the personal belongings of the captains, donated to the museum over various years. Angara, as it happens, is one of the first icebreakers in the world. The book fund section of the museum, which dates back to 1872, holds unique literature. Among other things, there are handwritten books, as well as books in Cyrillic and civil fonts; a collection of Chinese woodcuts; local pre-revolutionary (including periodical) publications; and foreign publications from the 19th to 21st centuries. The collection contains books from the libraries of Irkutsk scientists, writers and public figures. The Virtual Museum is available to Internet users. Its visitors can see the collection of silver and rare geographical maps. They can also read the numbers of the archival periodicals Irkutsk Diocesan Gazette (1863-64) and Izvestia of the East Siberian Department of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society (VSOIRGO) from 1856 to1965.