Collection of Books
The library was established in 1902, with museum curator Ye. Liatsky as its first librarian. The collection was started on the donations received from Russian and foreign scientific societies, statistics committees of provincial administrations (zemstvo), academic archival commissions, as well as gifts from other museums and libraries.
Apart from that, great contributions were made by such museum curators as Ye. Liatsky, N. Mogiliansky, and K. Inostrantsev; the notable geographer and folklorist A. Pypin (1500 volumes) and Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, director of the Alexander III Russian Museum. The library was considerably augmented with books from private collections nationalized by the decrees of the soviet government in 1918—23.
Of particular interest was Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich's library consisting of 2,000 volumes and maps, as well as that of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, which included 400 units of printed matter. Part of the library belonging to the Life Guards of the Finlandsky and Izmailovsky Regiments was handed over at the same time.
In subsequent years the Museum's book stock was constantly enlarged in various ways: by purchasing books in bookshops, by exchange with other libraries and by donations made by the Museum staff. The most valuable items that came in the 1980s were supplied by the heirs of Ye. Studenetskaya, head of the Caucasus Ethnographic Department, by B. Gamburg, member of the Central Asia Department staff, and by the museum’s Director D. Sergeev.