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September-October 2011

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The Mineral Museums of Moscow

Between August 2009 and April 2011, I was fortunate to be able to travel to Moscow, Russia, three times, and during these trips I visited many mineral and geological museums within the city. I was astonished at the number and the quality of the museums in Moscow, both public and private. The following is a description of the different museums that I went to along with details of things in each that particularly interested me.

Most museums have some labeling in English, but in many cases this is limited to just the mineral name—the locality name is usually written in Cyrillic script. Although visitors don't need to learn the Russian language, it is handy for them to memorize the thirty-three letters of the Cyrillic alphabet so they can at least guess at deciphering Russian locality names. It is also worth mentioning that in most Russian museums photography is not allowed. In all but one case I was given permission by the curators to photograph in order to do articles such as this, but anyone wanting to take photographs should arrange this well in advance and should be aware that an additional fee may be required.

Jolyon Ralph is the creator and webmaster of, the world's largest mineral information website. He is also a keen field collector and has collected extensively within the United Kingdom and beyond.

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