Russian Museum in St.Petersburg is the country’s first state museum of Russian art.
Alexander III made the decision to build it and later, in 1895, Nicholas II signed a decree “On the establishment of a special institution called the Russian Museum of Emperor Alexander III”. For this purpose, the Mikhailovsky Palace with all its wings, services, and a garden was acquired by the government. In May of the same year, the architect Vasily Svinyin
began the restructuring of the palace premises for future museum expositions.
The grand opening of the Russian Museum for visitors took place on March 19, 1898. The basis of the collection of the Russian Museum were the objects and works of art transferred from the Winter Palace, the Gatchina Palace and the Alexander Palace, from the Hermitage and the Academy of Arts, as well as the collections of private collectors donated to the museum.
The State Russian Museum collection has about 400 thousand exhibits and covers all historical periods and trends in the development of Russian art, the main types and genres, trends and schools for more than 1000 years – from the 10th to the 21st centuries.
The main retrospective exposition of the museum is located in the Mikhailovsky Palace (architect Karl Rossi, 1819–1825), built for the son of Emperor Paul I, Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich, and in the Benois Corps, originally built as an exhibition hall of the Academy of Arts (architects Leonty Benoit and Sergey Ovsyannikov, 1914-1919).
The total area of the museum is now more than 30 hectares. The collection is housed in buildings that are outstanding architectural monuments of the 18th – 19th centuries — Mikhailovsky, Stroganov, Marble Palaces, and Mikhailovsky Castle. The museum complex also includes the Mikhailovsky Garden, the Summer Garden with the Summer Palace of Peter the Great, and the house of Peter the Great.
Today, the State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg is an extensive museum complex, the largest authoritative research, restoration, custodial and methodological center, which oversees the work of all art museums in the country.