The Polytechnic Exhibition of 1872 gave start to the Museum’s collection. The objects displayed were the miracles of technology, praising scientific progress as the man’s dramatic striving to finally surmount Nature and change the world. These objects were picked out for the Museum’s collection at the international industrial exhibitions (Vienna 1976, Moscow 1882, Paris 1900, etc.) and ordered from Russian and foreign manufacturers. Government entities, scientific associations, industrial enterprises and private donors contributed a great lot to formation of the Polytechnic Museum’s collection—from the very beginning, it was the true community effort to build the public museum of modern science and technology.
The social changes evoked by the Revolution of 1917 brought up restatement of the Museum’s concept and the new agenda of its fonds’ formation. From now on, the exhibition was to display the advancement of Soviet industry, becoming an objectified chronicles of the socialist science and technology progress. Since 1947, it was transformed to the museum of history of national technology. However, it is not only the industrial revolution that is displayed by the collection—it is the story of the Soviet people, their space hopes, labor feats and domestic routines.
As years went by, the most advanced tools and gadgets were routinely becoming the artefacts of the past, and the keepers’ work would be more of studying and preserving the heritage, enlarging the historical part of the collection. Up to this moment, over one hundred collections have been formed within the Museum’s fonds, numbering over 230 thousand objects—the real treasury of science and technology.
Now, the Polytechnic Museum is among the first museums in Russia to make its depositories accessible for general public within the project Open Storage. As the modernized Museum goes beyond the object collection, exercising the most progressive approaches to science communication, the vision of the collection, exhibition and presentation is also changing. The major transition is already observed at the Museum’s current key exhibition RDS, where achievements of Russian science and technology are displayed to visualize the fundamental concepts of modern science.