Museum of Local Lore (Regional Studies)

Research worker:
Chasovskikh Vera Alexandrovna

649000, Altai Republic
Gorno-Altaisk, Lenkin Street, 1


The museum of local lore is a part of the Physical Geography sub-faculty of the Geography Department at Gorno-Altaisk State University (GASU). Its formation is connected with the introduction of a special educational course called "Physical geography of Gorny Altai," and also with the opening of a new institutional building in 1991. A. M. Marinin, a professor of physical geography, conceived the idea for the museum establishment. The teachers of the sub-faculty, including A. S. Khryukov, V. N. Loginova, K. P. Surazakhov, M. S. Makarochkina, G. B. Sharabura, P. S. Toporov, V. P. Nikhitin, G. A. Pivovarov, E. M. Goncharova, N. M. Ryabova and others, also contributed to the gathering of cartographic, photographic, and field data. The arrangement of the museum's exhibitions was made in accordance with the projects and drafts of A. M. Marinin and N. G. Skhorlupin. The museum occupies an area of 58.7 sq. km.

The museum is organized into various sections, each characterizing a natural component of Gorny Altai. The location and historical block is represented in the section devoted to "the History of Nature Study and Orography of the Altai." This section is devoted to both historical and modern investigations.

The section "Tectonics, Geological Construction and Treasures of Soil" is represented by a set of maps, schemes, and geological sections. The collection "Minerals and Rocks," which includes 192 components, is also available there. The museum is especially proud of a black marion crystal - the only sample from Gorny Altai. Its height is 42 cm and diameter is 17.5 cm. A separate section entitled "Paleography" is devoted to historical geology. Here, a collection of paleontological findings (102 components) is represented. The bones of Pleistocene animals, including those from a mammoth (the lower jaw, the tusk, the cannon bone, the teeth), a bison (the frontal bone with horns), an ancient buffalo (the frontal bone with horns), a woolly rhinoceros (the skull, the cannon bone, the vertebra), and a deer (a part of the horn) can be found in this section. The "Paleography" section also houses petrifactions of invertebrates (elf-bolts, anthozoans mollusks, sea lilies) and plants (calamites).

"Relief" is the section where different land forms are represented. The Altai is a land of significant contrasts of altitudes, from the highest peak, Belukha mountain (4506 m), to the deepest karst pit, "Ekologicheskaya" (345 m). It is the lowest indication among such objects.

The section "Climate, Inland Waters and Glaciers" is represented by a set of maps and graphics, and the characteristics of different climates are also given here. Glaciers are special elements of climate, and they play a great part in the formation of alpine areas. M. V. Tronov studied them for a long time. In this section, one can find an exhibition of the personal effects of Mikhail Vladimirivich, donated to the museum by his daughter.

Soils, vegetation, and fauna can be observed in a special section. These bioresources occupy a particular place in the landscapes, life, and activity of the people of Gorny Altai.

The Natural and Territorial section is devoted to low mountains, middle-sized mountains, and high-altitude mountains. Natural compositions are represented in such biotops as "Mountain Lake" and "Cave Grotto," in which there are also stuffed animals. In the karst grotto, one can see wandering formations, typical for Altaian underground cavities.

There are 1255 stocks in the museum. They are annually enriched with field practice and scientific expeditions data.

The museum's activity is closely connected with the educational process of the Geography department and of the university as a whole. It helps to train highly educated specialists in geography, natural science, and the humanities. The museum also gives future graduates an idea of contemporary geography, which is based on complex and systematic approaches to regional study of local lore.

The subject matter of the museum reveals relevant geographical and ecological problems of the region:

  • The Altai is a boundary natural, social, economic, and state polygon;
  • The Altai is the world heritage of humanity;
  • The Altai is a natural bastion and a special research object of sustainable development, situated in the centre of the Eurasian continent.

The museum carries out a scientific and educational function. Elective courses are held for students of the geography department, including "Museology," "Physical Geography of Gorny Altai," "The Problems of Learning about Intermontane Altaian Hollows," "The Peculiarities, Uniqueness, and Natural Problems of Gorny Altai," and many others.

The students of the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Foreign Languages, and History all visit the museum for their own educational aims. It is visited by college students, pupils of Gorno-Altaisk, citizens of the Altai Republic and the Altai Krai, and by guests of our town. The museum is always open for conferences and symposiums that are held by the university.

Our museum takes part in different public events hosted by the university and the town. It also was among the museums that took part in the town event "Night of Museums," which was held on May 18th, 2009. On this night, all the European museums open their doors from 18:00 till midnight. On this night, the museum showed the film "Mountain Rivers of the Altai and Tourism." More than 300 people visited the museum. Annually, the museum takes part in the arrangement of "Freshmen Week."

The museum also has a library (15.2 sq. m). Its stock counts more than 700 units of scientific, educational and cartographical data about the Altai and its adjacent regions. Students, post-graduate students, and teachers from many departments use the library.

Updated 27.02.2012 by N. Yurkova

© Gorno-Altaisk State University, 1999-2017