Collection of The Moscow Kremlin State Historical and Cultural Museum and Heritage Site comprises over sixty thousand historical, cultural and artistic monuments. Only three and a half thousand items are exhibited at the museum’s permanent displays.
The overall chronological frames are rather wide—from the late 3rd millennium B.C. to nowadays. The main part of the Museum funds belongs to the period of the Russian Middle Ages and Modern history.
The peculiarity of the Moscow Kremlin Museums’ collection comes from the history of its origin. The collection is based on values that had been preserved for centuries in the Treasury of Moscow Grand Princes and Tsars in the Kremlin. Dynastic regalia was used during festive court ceremonies, such as coronations, receptions of foreign ambassadors and ceremonial processions of the sovereigns.
Works of the Kremlin masters, gifts from foreign rulers and ambassadors, presents from Russian noblemen and acquisition inside and outside Russia were the sources for filling royal treasuries.
In the early 18th century, when the capital transferred to Saint Petersburg, the work of palace institutions and workshops stopped. They were integrated into united storage of ancient treasures, that led to the foundation of the museum in the Kremlin in 1806 by the Decree of Emperor Alexander I.
In 1806-1917, the museum collection was completed by items from the palace property, gifts to Russian Emperors, archaeological findings and 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 1917, the collection was replenished by valuables of the Russian Orthodox Church from the shutdown, as well as destroyed churches, cathedrals and monasteries. Those were values mainly from the Patriarch’s Vestry, vestries of the Kremlin cathedrals and monasteries that were formed on its territory. The transfer of those valuables to the museum has prevented many of them from destruction and selling abroad.
In the Soviet times, the Museums’ collection was completed through planned purchase activities, transfers from state and private institutions, gifts from individuals, and archaeological research on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin.
The collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums is still being replenished. Historically formed collection of masterpieces, many of which have become the symbols of the Russian State and culture, make the museum a treasure house.