Иркутский областной краеведческий музей
Irkutsk Local History Museum
Отдел истории: ул. Карла Маркса, 2
Open 10 am to 6 pm, closed Mondays
Entrance: free for students (with ID), 200 rubles for adults;
300 rubles for a photography permit
The Irkutsk Local History Museum is located downtown, on the edge of the Angara river, just across the street from Alexander III’s towering statue. The museum specializes in the ethnographic history of Siberia, its natives and settlers.
The museum begins in the first hall with the history of native tribes of the Western and Eastern Siberian territory, such as the Evenks and Tofelars. Display cases show objects of everyday use for these tribes, including tools, clothing, and ritual items. Passing each case and reading about the different objects within them, you can see the development of tools and apparel from earlier to later tribes. Each display provides both the original Russian and an English translation of the names of the objects contained within.
The second hall continues with the history of the Russian settlement of Siberia, including displays on the Decembrists and other early settlers, as well as fun old mechanical artifacts like an early cash register and a whimsical mechanical clock called the Wonder Clock.
This hall also features a large painting of the Irkutsk fire, which destroyed most of the city in 1879.
Upstairs, the museum features a hall dedicated to the meaning behind symbols of Irkutsk and of Russia, including depictions of the early designs of the Irkutsk flag as well as old flags and paraphernalia from the Soviet era. The last hall is dedicated to military equipment and uniforms and also has a display of the Russian and Soviet currency from the past century.
The Irkutsk Local History Museum is a great place to find out more about Russian and Siberian history with the visual aid of artifacts from each historical time period of its development. The museum also offers a range of souvenirs for purchase at the entrance.
More photos of the history museum galleries can be found on the museum’s website.
Danya Spencer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages – Russian & Chinese from Lewis and Clark University. She is currently studying in the year-long Home and Abroad Program with The School of Russian and Asian Studies. This program combines study abroad in Russia, an intensive professional internship focusing on translation, research, and writing.