Museum collections

The collections of the State Historical and Cultural Museum-Preserve "The Moscow Kremlin" comprise over 60 thousands historical, cultural and artistic monuments. Only three and a half thousands items are exhibited at the museum’s permanent displays.

The overall chronological frames are rather wide - from the late IIIrd millenium B.C. to nowadays. The main part of the museum funds belongs to the period of Russian Middle Ages and Modern history.

The peculiarity of Moscow Kremlin Museums’ collections comes from the history of their origin. The collection is based on values that had been preserved for centuries in the treasury of Moscow Great Princes and Tsars in the Kremlin. Dynastic regalia were have always been used during festive court ceremonies, such as coronations, receptions of foreign ambassadors and ceremonial processions of rulers.

Creations of Kremlin masters, gifts from foreign rulers and ambassadors, presents from Russian noblemen and purchases in Russia and abroad form the sources for filling the tsars’ treasuries.

In the early XVIIIth century, after the capital had been transferred to Saint-Petersburg, the work of palace institutions and workshops was stopped. They were integrated into a single storage of ancient treasures that has become a basis for the foundation of the museum in the Kremlin in 1806 by the Decree of Emperor Alexander I.

In 1806-1917, the museum’s collections were filled by items from the palace property, gifts to Russian Emperors, archaeological findings and special purchases. The artillery collection of the Moscow Kremlin, one of the biggest ones in the world, was registered at that time.

After the October Revolution of 1917, the collections were replenished by valuables of Russian Orthodox Church from closed as well as destroyed churches, cathedrals and monasteries. These were mainly values from the Patriarch’s Vestry, vestries of the Kremlin cathedrals and monasteries that had been formed on its territory for centuries. The transfer of these valuables to the museum saved many of them from destruction or selling abroad.

In Soviet times the museum’s collections were completed through planned purchases activity and transfers from state and party organizations, gifts from individuals and archaeological research on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin.

The collections of the Moscow Kremlin Museums are still being replenished. Historically formed complexes of precious items, many of which have become the symbols of the Russian State and culture, are of a particular value in the collections and make the museum a treasure-house.