The idea to create a history museum was first proposed by then KFU student (later Professor of Kazan Pedagogical Institute) Yevgeny Bushkanets in 1946 in a “Leninets” newspaper. More than 30 years passed before the idea materialized.
The Museum occupied the former chapel rooms in the Main Building. After 1917 it was used as a gym, in 1941-1943 – as living dorms for evacuated scientists of the USSR Academy of Sciences, later – as one of the study halls of the Lobachevsky Library.
Preparatory works started in September 1978. The University prepared for its 175th anniversary.
November 30, 1979, was the first day when the History Museum welcomed visitors.
Before the 200th anniversary the History Museum was renovated. Exhibition was created by Stella Pisareva, now Honorary Director of the Museum, with other works made by N. Pelnikevich, V. Lozhkina, M. Khabibulina, B. Salosin, and V. Tkachenko.
The Museum's main hall display is dedicated to the University's history. It is opened by a very special document – the Confirmation Order of Kazan Imperial University, signed by Alexander I on November 5, 1804, and co-signed by Minister of Popular Education P.V. Zavadovksy.
Here you can learn about the history of the University's main scientific endeavors that led to its worldwide fame. One of central exhibits is Nikolay Lobachevsky’s corner. Lobachevsky, the founder of non-Euclidean geometry, was the Rector in 1827-1846. The display includes his portrait and his personal belongings.
On a table you can see geometry manuscripts, an inkpot, a personal signet ring, and two candles under a green lampshade. Near the table are an armchair and a cabinet clock. The clock is still working now.
Then you can proceed to the exhibits of Kazan school of mathematics. It is represented through the works of 19th century's most prominent researchers – Lobachevsky's student A.F. Popov (hydromechanics), V.G. Ishmenetsky, A.V. Vasiliev.
20th century is represented by N.N. Parfentiev and famous algebraist N.G. Chebotaryov.
After mathematics there is astronomy. Kazanite I.M. Simonov joined the 1st Russian Antarctic Circumnavigation in 1819 – 1821 as a staff astronomer. Sloops “Vostok” and “Mirny”, commanded by F. Bellingshausen and M. Lazarev, ended up proving the existence of the Antarctic. Simonov, the only scientist in the crew, gathered priceless new data in astronomy, hydrology, zoology, ethnography, and mineralogy.
The cradle of Russian organic chemistry – such is the name given to the Kazan University chemistry lab. Here in 1842 Nikolay Zinin synthesized aniline. This reaction was the beginning of industrial organic synthesis, served as the basis for paint and pharmaceutical industries.
Academician Alexander Butlerov was also among the most prominent local chemists. The display contains his report paper on chemical composition of organic compounds, the one he used during a meeting of German physicians in 1861.
The most well-known discovery in physics at the University was electron paramagnetic resonance, first observed by Yevgeny Zavoysky in 1944. The Dubois magnet, used in the experiment, is displayed at the Museum. A state discovery registration form from 1970 is also here.
Thanks to Yevgeny Zavoysky the University now has a strong tradition of radio spectroscopy and quantum electronics research.
Geobotanical school, founded in 1860-s, is represented by N. Levakovsky, S. Korzhinsky, and Korzhinsky’s student A. Gordyagin. E. Eversman is probably the most well-known among zoologist – he was also an active explorer, geographer, soil scientist, and botanist.
The first department of environmental protection in the USSR was founded at KGU in 1969.
The Museum also features items of medical science. A medical faculty existed at KU before 1930. Part of the display is dedicated to ophthalmologist Emelian Adamyuk, the founder of Kazan’s first eye clinic.
N. Vinogradov and N. Goryaev were famous therapists. Goryaev constructed the “Goryaev camera” (1914) – a device for blood corpuscle count measurement. The device is also displayed.
Another display is dedicated to humanities. Linguists Jan Baudouin de Courtenay and V. Bogoroditsky, turkologists A. Kazem-Bek and I. Berezin, researcher of Mongolia O. Kovalevsky, and sinologist V. Vasiliev.
The second display zone features famous students of KFU. Some of them are Pyotr Boborykin, Yevgeny Chirikov, Velimir Khlebnikov, and Pavel Melnikov-Pechersky.
The central part of this display, of course, is dedicated to Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Lenin.
The third display shows the University's role significance in the country's social and political events. Some of them are Kurtin memorial service (for the peasants massacred at Bezdna village in 1861), the Lesgaft Affair, and, of course, the revolutionary student gathering on December 4, 1887, where Lenin first showed himself as a young political leader.
Geological science is represented by N. Golovkinsky (first professor of geology at KFU), A. Shtukenberg, and M. Noinsky. Professor V. Troepolsky and Professor E. Tikhvinskaya (first female professor at KFU), founders of petroleum surveying in the region, are also featured.