Museum of the Month is a series where I share my experiences of visiting unique and often strange museums from around the world. My aim is to rebuff the notion that museums are boring. Join me on my quest!
This museum has everything from Siamese twins to encephalitis-swollen skulls, and from a giant skeleton to jarred tumours. However, it isn’t for everyone so if you’re easily squeamish you might want to pass.
Obviously, I don’t think you should skip it, it’s a fascinating museum if a little odd, and old and dusty around the edges.
Interestingly, KunstKamera was the first museum in Russia. It was opened by Peter the Great in 1727 and is now currently housed inside the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. KunstKamera is now therefore a museum within a museum which should iron out any confusion for people looking for the KunstKamera museum – look for the Russian Museum of Ethnography and ye shall find!
True to his name, Peter the Great really was indeed a great man, one of the reasons he opened KunstKamera was to educate his country about science in order to combat prejudice. At that time in history people ascribed physical abnormalities or disabilities to supernatural powers so opening this museum was a way of raising the awareness of medical conditions that can be explained scientifically as opposed to make-belief nonsense.
His foreward thinking ways were in line with the Enlightenment school of thought, characterised by intellectual and scientific discovery. Originating in Western Europe, Enlightenment influenced Tsar Peter after a trip to Europe in the 17th Century. He used the principles of reason, scepticism and science to reform Russian Society at the time.
If you live in the UK and enjoy the idea of visiting a museum reminiscent of this place, I suggest the Hunterian Museum or the Grant Museum of Zoology. Both, which are located in London are utterly divine places. You can find my adopted Loris in the Grant Museum of Zoology. Just look at my baby… isn’t it cute?
Thinking of all the museums I’ve visited, KunstKamera is not only the weirdest museum in St. Petersburg, but probably in the whole of Russia!
General Information about KunstKamera
How to get there: 3 Universitetskaya Embankment, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russia
Admission Fee: 250 RUB adults; 150 RUB children/student
Opening Times: 11am-6pm daily; closed Mondays and the last Tuesday of every month