In 1918, the Museum of the City, dedicated to the phenomenon of urban culture in general, was founded. One of the missions of the museum, along with the preservation of cultural heritage, was the development of new concepts of urban planning. The Museum of the Old Petersburg became one of the departments of the Museum of the City.
The Museum occupied three buildings: the Anichkov Palace, the Сountess Karlova Mansion (46 Fontanka Embankment) and the Serebryannikov Mansion (35 Fontanka Embankment). In 1918–1928, the Museum was headed by Lev Ilyin, the main architect and city planner of Leningrad. Owing to his efforts, the Museum of the City became one of the largest research facilities of Petrograd-Leningrad of the 1920s.
The end of the 1920s, when totalitarian rule had been established in Russia, was complicated period in the history of the Museum. Departments and exhibitions were closed, items were confiscated, specialists were dismissed, and finally the museum was converted into the display, dedicated to the city economy. In 1938, the Museum of the History and Development of Leningrad was started on the basis of the former Museum of the City and occupied the Rumyantsev Mansion. In 1954 the Museum changed its name to the Museum of the History of Leningrad, and acquired a number of buildings of Peter and Paul Fortress, including Peter and Paul Cathedral, the Grand Ducal Burial Chapel, the Boathouse, the Trubetskoy and Zotov Bastions.
When the city of Leningrad had recovered its historical name in 1991, the Museum was renamed into State Museum of the History of St Petersburg. Today Peter and Paul Fortress is one of the seven branches of State Museum of the History of St Petersburg. The defensive installations and old buildings are being carefully restored. The casemates of the curtain walls and bastions house unique collections, which contain objects fr om daily life, clothing, porcelain, furniture, architectural designs, graphic art, and paintings. The Museum hosts a variety of events all year long, including temporary exhibitions, scientific conferences, lecture series, festivals. It has become one of the major city venues, where specialists can meet to share their ideas about the development of the city architecture, restoration and preservation of St Petersburg historical sites.
State Museum of the History of St Petersburg includes seven branches: Peter and Paul Fortress, Shlisselburg Fortress Oreshek, Rumyantsev Mansion, Alexander Blok Museum, Sergey Kirov Museum, St Petersburg Avant-garde Museum (Mikhail Matyushin’s House), Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad, Museum of Printing.
The collection of the museum numbers some 1,5 million items – material testimonies of the history of St Petersburg.
The museum carries out large works on preservation, conservation and restoration of monuments of cultural and historical significance. Our curators are engaged in various exhibition and publishing projects.
Education is one of the largest fields of the museum’s activity. Children’s Centre of State Museum of the History of St Petersburg realizes over 20 programmes for children, pupils, students and families.
The museum has developed a long-lasting programme of development, which includes:
- Accessibility of the museum collection (creation of open storage archives, organization of exhibitions, publishing of catalogues);
- Rational use of the territory of Peter and Paul Fortress with the aim of exhibition space expansion;
- Collaboration with Russian and foreign museums, associations and committees;
- Creation of modern information areas involving IT-technologies, development of services for the visitors (museum shops, cafes, etc.)