The Metrological Museum of the D.I.Mendeleyev Institute for Metrology

The Metrological Museum of the D.I.Mendeleyev Institute for Metrology is one of the oldest scientific museums in Russia. Its exhibits are displayed in two buildings of the Institute.

The memorial study room of D.I.Mendeleyev and the gallery of portraits of outstanding scientists who made a brilliant contribution to metrology are located in the Main Building of VNIIM constructed by architect F.F.Beckman in 1879, and the sections: “D.I.Mendeleyev is the Founder of Scientific Metrology”, “Russian System of Measures” and "Home Chemical Laboratory of Mendeleyev" are in the so-called “Red Building” constructed by A.I. Von-Gogen, 1897.

The first museum collection was formed in the thirties of the XIX-th century at the time when the Russian scientists worked on the establishment of a system of measures. Mr. E.F.Kankrin, Russian Minister of Finance, gathered a “Collection of Reference Measures of Main Foreign States” in order to compare them with the Russian measurement standards. It included measures from 27 countries and cities of the world: West-European pounds and feet, Chinese lyans, Egyptian rotles, a Norwegian monetary set of weights, a Turkish arshin called endase, a Swedish quarter, a Cassel semi-cubit, a French toise, American pints, gallons, etc.

The museum dispose of especially valuable collection of the first Russian standards and reference measures of mass, length and volume: a Kupfer iron sazhen, pounds of 1833 and 1834, T.Gigerson and G.Krause pails and cups, R.Gainam arshins furnishing visual demonstration of how the national measurement system legalized in 1835 and applied in Russia before the transition to the metric system looked like. A significant number of the museum exhibits relate to the metrological activities of the world-famous Russian scientist D.I.Mendeleyev, who headed the first research metrological establishment in Russia, which was the Main Chamber of Weights and Measures (called today "D.I.Mendeleyev Institute for Metrology") from 1892 to the end of his life. One can see here measurement standards that were used in the early 20th century, equipment of the scientific divisions set up by D.I. Mendeleyev, namely: Weighing Division, Comparator Division, Thermometry Division, Manometry Division, Astronomy Division, Electrical Division, Photometry Division, etc.

At the end of the 19-th century on the initiative of D.I.Mendeleyev the museum acquired old weights and measures from the Mint: reference balance manufactured at the Sestroretsk Munitions Factory in 1747, sets of weights produced in 1753 and 1771, including measures in the range from one zolotnik to two pounds, and some other unique articles.

In the Museum you will also see a large collection of balances intended for different purposes, standard and commercial balances manufactured by well-known Russian masters (P.Raashe, I.Goryachev, I.Mantsevich) at the Factories “Gosmetr” and “Etalon”, as well as those produced by leading world companies such as “Ertling”, “Ruprecht”, “Nemetz”, “Veber, Dene @ Co”. The museum exhibits sculptures and portraits of D.I. Mendeleyev by well-known Russian artists I.Ya.Gintsburg, M.B.Manizer, L.V.Sherwood, Olga and Nikolai Bruni.

A high level of metrology culture of Russia draws attention to its metrological exhibits not only of metrologists and historians of science, but also a much broader circle of people from all over the world.

The Metrological Museum:

  • provides an educational base for pupils of secondary schools and students of higher educational establishments and faculties for training future specialists, whose educational program includes the fundamentals of metrology, standardization and certification;
  • provides consulting on the history of the Russian system of measures, the history of the activities of outstanding metrologists and the history of the State Service of Weights and Measures;
  • maintains contacts with the oldest scientists of the Institute and with relatives and descendants of the leading metrologists who render a significant assistance in replenishment, systematization and research of the scientists' personal files;
  • organizes exhibitions dedicated to memorable events in the history of metrology and anniversries of outstanding metrologists;
  • prepares publications relating the history of metrology.

Why do good things come in small packages?
What are the requirements that the system of measures must meet “at all times and for all peoples”?
What does “Mendeleyev’s accuracy” mean?

You will find answers to these questions and learn many other things about metrology, the science of measurements and measurement standards, in the Metrological Museum of VNIIM.

Our address: 19, Moskovsky pr., St.Petersburg, 190005, Russia
Phone: +7 812 323-96-76;
Director of the Metrological Museum: Mrs. Elena Ginak

Visits are organized by prior arrangement. Excursions are in Russian and English.

Open: Monday - Friday, 10.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.