To see the geological past of the Earth sealed in minerals, trace the evolution of the organic world, find out what minerals are and the history of their extraction, see models of mining equipment, admire art products made of stone and metals – all that you can do in the Mining Museum. One of the richest natural science collections in the world in terms of uniqueness and vastness is kept under the roof of St. Petersburg Mining University.
18th-20th centuries
The Mining Museum was founded in 1773 by order of Catherine II, first as the Cabinet of Russian Minerals and Fossil Bodies. Its present appearance the museum acquired by the middle of the 19th century. Entering the museum, you find yourself in the “Mining Hermitage”. The splendor of the central Column Hall, the elegance of its interior decoration and especially the ceiling decorated with a plafond by the Italian artist G.B. Scotti. An allegorical panel of three elements shows the development and prosperity of mining in Russia. Showcases and cabinets were made by German cabinetmakers. Some of them belonged to the Empress herself.
21st century
In 2017, the renovation of the museum space was accomplished: it was expanded and equipped with multimedia systems and apparatus for conducting training sessions and university events. But the original historical interiors of the classical era were fully preserved.

Museum today

Today its exposition is emplaced in 20 luxurious halls of one of the most beautiful buildings in St. Petersburg - the main building of the Mining University, built by the famous Russian architect A.N. Voronikhin.


Square meters of the exhibition area


Items in the collection of the Mining Museum

It is so extensive that only a small part of it can be seen exhibited, so the exposition is constantly changing.

The largest mineralogical collection serves educational purposes, which significantly distinguishes the Mining Museum from other museums. The collections were created, replenished and systematized with the account of the fact that they were to serve as visual material in the study of geological disciplines, be a “book of stones”.
The collection of the museum includes a wide geography of natural scientific objects and a huge variety of minerals: of the known 4500 mineral types, 2100 are represented here. The collection is a kind of litothek; it contains the initial samples from various, including those already worked out, deposits in Russia. The museum also houses the second most important collection of meteorites in our country.

The museum pays major attention to the growth of its collection. Throughout its history, donors and suppliers of exhibits were Russian and foreign royal families, famous Russian scientists-collectors. To replenish the funds, special expeditions were sent many times to various regions of the country. In the Soviet years, professor of mineralogy D.P. Grigoriev formulated a rule for geologists who visited the museum: come here “bearing stone in the bosom”. Many students, graduates, teachers of Mining Institute became its donors. These traditions continue to this day. The world-famous lump of malachite weighing 1504 kg, nuggets of gold and platinum, a selection of precious stones are the pride and adornment of the museum.

The collection of the Mining Museum is of interest to many famous world museums. The Museum cooperates with 

  • the Natural History Museum in London 
  • the Berlin Natural Science Museum 
  • the Hermitage
  • the Russian Museum
  • the Moscow Kremlin
  • the Historical Museum

The Mining Museum maintains constant exhibition activities both in our country and abroad. Exhibitions in Germany and America even made it possible to expand the mineral collection through the exchange and purchase of exhibits.

>50.000 visitors every year

Among visitors are the first persons of states, and Nobel laureates, and ordinary schoolchildren. Anyone interested in natural science can easily get acquainted with the museum exposition by visiting here or by taking a virtual tour on the website

Museum as a basis for research

The Mining Museum offers possibilities for scientists and teachers to conduct research on the basis of the Museum’s collection of minerals and other materials. Museum specialists and experts in geology, crystallography, petrology, geophysics, tectonics and history are able to be involved and\or help with information or methods for various types of research, including such aspects as:

  • Study of metals and alloys used in the weapons of the Mining Museum’s collections
  • Modeling processes of metallurgical machinery produced in the 17th-19th centuries 
  • Search in large online database of minerals and rocks with the use of the “Online collections module” 
  • Research into paleontological collections (fossils of plants and animals from twenty different countries) 
  • Research in meteorites and celestial bodies of unknown origin 
  • Research in new minerals and materials 
  • Research in technological properties of minerals 
  • Methods for rapid gem identification 

For young visitors

Hall for Young Visitors

The Mining Museum provides numerous educational programs which are specifically focused on Earth sciences and covering all full-time basic school curricula.

  • What is a substance? (grades 1-2) 
  • Creative workshops (grades 1-4) 
  • Traces the incredible animals (grades 2-4) 
  • Planet Earth (grades 3-4) 
  • Formation of life on Earth (grades 5-6) 
  • History of mining (grades 6-7) 
  • Field trips (any grades by request).

The Museum has a dedicated hall for school students which is equipped with specialized multimedia paraphernalia and is prepared for holding lectures and practical classes for children and adults on various scientific topics and museum programs. Additional and detailed information about the abovementioned programs can be received is requested.


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