A Shocking Collection Of Oddities: The Kunstkamera- St Petersburg, Russia

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In the past I’ve written about a couple of odd, medical related museums that I’ve visited- the Mutter Museum and the International Museum of Surgical Sciences.
While doing some research for things to do during our trip to Russia, I came across a museum that had a collection of oddities similar to the ones mentioned above.
During our visit to St Petersburg Russia, the Kunstkamera was at the top of my list of places to visit.
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The Kunstkamera is Russia’s first museum. It was created by Peter the Great, completed in 1727. The full name of the museum is the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography.

st petersburg russia The Kunstkamera is a pretty large museum with the medical oddities room being just one part of it. Most of the museum is dedicated to anthropology and the “culture and life of the peoples of the world”.

We enjoyed checking out these rooms which had some pretty impressive items on display but they seemed outdated and in need of major updating. It would also be nice to see the museum provide more information in English.

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The First Natural Sciences Collection of the Kunstkamera is the highlight for most visitors to the museum. While I thought that it would be similar to the Mutter Museum, it was actually much more shocking.

The collection had a very interesting mix of items on display. There were human and animal skeletons, two- headed animals and even random body parts in the cabinets.

However, the bulk of the collection consisted of deformed human and animal fetuses. Some of them were conjoined twins while others were missing limbs or had deformities to the face.

I don’t think that I’ve ever been more amazed and surprised by what I saw in a museum before.st petersburg russia st petersburg russia

Unlike the other sections of the museum, all of the information in the room was in English as well as Russian. This was a welcome surprise as we really got a good idea of what we were looking at. The information also talked about how Peter the Great went about acquiring the specimens.

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If you are planning to visit St Petersburg, I’d highly recommend a visit to the Kunstkamera. It was definitely a highlight for me and a sight that I will never forget.

Find out more about the Kunstkamera on the museum’s website HERE.

**Photos are not allowed in certain parts of the Kunstkamera including the Natural Sciences Collection. However, I could not pass up the chance to take some photos to share so I took the photos in this post with my iPhone 4S. I sometimes have a hard time following the rules but I did make sure to shut off my flash.

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