State Darwin Museum, Moscow, Russia

The State Darwin Museum is the world’s largest popular science center dedicated entirely to the process of evolution, and the only museum of its kind in Russia. It is visited every year by more than half a million people.

The State Darwin Museum (Russian: Государственный Дарвиновский музей) is a natural history museum in Moscow. The museum was founded in 1907 by Alexander Kohts (1880-1964) and was the world’s first museum of evolution explaining the work of Charles Darwin as a causal explanation of nature. The museum taxidermist was then Filipp Fedulov.

Three buildings with a total area of over 22,000 square meters. A modern exhibition area, about 5000 square meters in size. A collection containing about 400,000 items.

The museum constantly develops and carries out innovative informational and technological projects. We aim to provide the best possible public access to cultural heritage through our museum guidebooks, our light, video, and music program Living Planet, our multimedia exhibition River of Time, our informational center Eco Moscow, and our interactive multimedia exhibition Walk Through Evolution. On September 1, 2014, we will open the interactive multimedia educational center Know Yourself: Know the World.

The museum is a methodological center for natural science museums across Russia. It disseminates the knowledge gained through its experiences throughout the country. Each year the museum hosts more than ten celebrations, which are attended by between three and fifteen thousand people.

The initiator of the museum was the zoologist A. F. Cotts, who founded it in 1907. This year, AF Kotts began to read, at the invitation of NK Koltsov and PP Sushkin, at the Moscow Higher Women’s Courses a course of evolutionary teaching using as its visual material its own collection of stuffed animals, which in 1913 was presented to the zoological laboratory Courses. Since that time, the collection, housed in the new Courses building at the Devichye Pole, has become known as the Museum of the Evolutionary Theory of the Moscow Higher Women’s Courses.

The main curator of the museum’s collection until 1989 was VS Oreshnikova (1946-1989), who began work in the museum as a taxidermist in 1970. Thanks to her collection of the museum was added with valuable exhibits and works of artists of 1970-1980 – A. M. Belashov, A. V. Marts and others. The Darwin Museum became the owner of the country’s richest collection of paintings of the genre Animalistics. She became the continuer of the museum traditions of AF Kotts and the school of VA Vatagin, prepared the exposition for the move to the new building.

Today, the Darwin Museum is the largest natural science museum in Europe. The exposition tells about the history of the evolution theory, diversity of life on the Earth, about variability and heredity, about natural selection and struggle for existence in nature. A unique part of the funds are: a collection of aberrative forms, a collection of albinos and melanists, a collection of teeth of extinct sharks, rare books, a collection of animalistic art. In the halls of the museum there are computers connected to the Internet and allowing to receive detailed information not only about the museum exposition, but also about many other large natural-science museums in Russia.

Unique “Teaching guides-guides” give visitors the opportunity to independently study any section of the exposition. In the museum there are light and video music exposition “Living planet”, multimedia center “Eco-Moscow”, movie theater, 3D-cinema, digital planetarium.

According to the evaluation of the portal “Rest with children” in 20 of the most popular and active museums in Moscow for parents with children, the State Darwin Museum is on the first place.