Chukotka Autonomous Okrug

The new museum of old Chukotka

The art and history of the Far East's most Arctic region

27.06.2022 // Chukotka Heritage Museum is a must-visit place for tourists. That's what every resident of Anadyr will tell you, and it won't just be a pride for a beautiful new building. To understand the long, complex, harsh and beautiful history of the easternmost of Russia's remote regions, it is not enough just to come to the tundra. Much there is hidden from people's eyes, and so since the 1930s, scientists have been diligently collecting knowledge about Chukotka.

Seventy years of scientific and local history work is worth the price of admission.

The Chukotka Heritage Museum Centre is located near the seaport. The residents of Anadyr are very proud of it — in 2002, a new, modern building gave a powerful impetus to the renewal of museum life in Chukotka. The centre itself appeared as a result of a connection between the Chukotka Regional Museum and the State Centre for the Protection and Restoration of Historical and Cultural Monuments of the Chukotka Autonomous Area.

The museum's collection dates back to 1931. At that time, a bureau of local history was created, one of the main tasks of which was the organisation of the district museum and the accumulation of collections. The first exhibition was held in 1935, in a small house built from the hull of the American schooner Polar Star. Today the number of exhibits has exceeded 40,000 objects.

This is an ethnographic collection, which tells about the life of indigenous peoples of Chukotka, archaeological and paleontological finds, as well as objects of bone carving art, which is the hallmark of the region.

The gem of the collection is the full shell of the Chukchi warrior, a unique set of northern protective armour. Life in Chukotka has never been easy, and locals have had to contend with harsh nature and protect resources from encroaching neighbours. The Chukchi, Inuit, Evens, Yukaghirs, Chuvans, Kereks and Koryaks were able to adapt to the inhospitable tundra. The museum reflects their life, both modern and ancient. The archaeological collection dates back to the Palaeolithic hunters who reached the Bering Strait about 8,400 years ago.

In addition to history, Chukotka is famous for its decorative arts. The museum has a collection of works by Chukchi and Inuit bone carvers, who turn the bones of sea animals, deer and even mammoth tusks into pieces of art.

Chukotka Heritage Museum is not only engaged in exhibiting but also in scientific activities. From the beginning, the goal of the institution was a comprehensive study of the region.

A separate source of pride for the residents of Anadyr is the new museum building, built in 2005 in high-tech style. Chukotka Heritage met there its 70th anniversary. The first floor is taken up by the Hall of Virtual Exhibitions, where electronic showcases are placed for viewing works of computer graphics, video art and design. The second floor is reserved for temporary exhibitions. The largest space is on the third floor, the hall of stationary exhibitions.

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