Museum of Ethnography is one of the oldest museums in the humanities in Russia. Fundamentals of the museum were laid in 1815 in connection with the organization of the Cabinet of curiosities of the Kazan Imperial University under the auspices of the University's Oriental Department.
During the first half of the 19th century, numerous articles from the Pacific region, Mongolia, Tibet, and China were collected. The Museum's most exemplary collection is that of the artifacts characterizing the way of life of different peoples of Russia, especially Siberia and the multiethnic Volga region. Careful study of ethnographic collections facilitates the solution of many mysteries related to the history of different ethnic groups and their cultural genesis.
The museum's collections give a vivid and complete picture of the traditional aspects of lives of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union peoples, as well as the peoples of the Far and Middle East, Africa, Australia and Oceania, North and South America. In the Ethnographic Museum, you can see items of XVII-XIX centuries: objects that are unique in the technique of manufacture, decoration, which are already out of use, as well as items that survived only in the museum collections.
At present, the Museum of Ethnography is a structural subdivision of the Institute of International Relations, History, and Oriental Studies.
The museum is located in its historical buildings (build. 234-238 of the KFU Main Building at the address 18 Kremlevskaya St) on the area of 306 sq.m. The museum is equipped with author's cupboards and showcases specially designed for the museum by prof. B.F. Adler (first quarter of XX century.), which take into account the specificity of the exhibits and halls.
The Museum of Ethnography has a unique exposition and exhibition space, a characteristic to classical museums of universities and academic communities of Western Europe (Oxford, Cambridge). In the museum was reconstructed the exposition principle by prof. F. Ratzel (no labeling, panoramic view). Exposure is carried out in accordance with regional and monographic materials. In the Museum of Ethnography profile-substantive designation of museum buildings as per the model of the second half of the XIX century is saved. (exhibition halls, open museum depository in the gallery, museum lecture hall). Most expositions are restored by the museum staff from photographs and sketches of the first quarter of XX century.
Currently, the Museum collections is a valuable material for writing research papers: 6 term papers and 3 degree theses are written. Museum exhibits are a constant object of study, what is expressed in a number of publications in the form of proceedings, reports, articles and monographs, both of Russian and foreign experts. Most of the collections of the Ethnographic Museum is exhibited and used in the learning process as a visual-teaching material (for illustration of such courses as "Ethnology", "Ethnography of the peoples of the Volga - Ural", "Visual Anthropology", "History of Religions", "Cultural Studies" and other specialized disciplines). Lectures and workshops with students enrolled in ethnographic and museological courses, as well as special subjects, are regularly held in the museum.
Museum of Ethnography annually serves as a specialized practice base of students of the Kazan University and other universities in the profile (museum and ethnographic).
Museum of Ethnography is a member of the joint intermuseum exhibitions (eg., "Treasures of the museums of Kazan University"), participates in social programs of the Kazan University (eg., "Kazan University to orphans"), is engaged in the promotion of cultural heritage in the media (eg. collaborated with the TV and Radio Company "Novyy Vek" as a part of a representative film about the Confucius Institute on the basis of the Kazan University), oversees the conduct of city competitions for ethnographic museology. The staff of the Ethnographic Museum of the Kazan University developed and tested an educational program of lectures-visualizations based on museum exhibits and agreed with the educational programs for secondary school students in 5-11 grades .