The museum is housed in two buildings: in the Kunstkamera building and the “Museum Wing”.
The Kunstkamera building was built in the style of Petrine baroque. It was the first museum building in Russia, and evidently the oldest building in the world built specially for a museum.
According to tradition, the location for the museum was chosen by Peter the Great. He noticed an unusual pine, part of which is on display in the museum. The initial design of the building was in all probability drawn up by architect Andreas Schluter, and then developed on the basis of his sketches by G. Mattarnovi with the personal involvement of Peter. Later, the work was supervised by architects N. Gerbel and G. Kiaveri. The entire complex of works was completed in 1734 by architect M. Zemtsov. After the fire in the Kunstkamera building in 1747, several halls were refurnished. The wooden tower which was destroyed in the fire of 1747 was only restored 200 years later. At the same time the tower was crowned with a famous armillary sphere (design by R. I. Kaplan-Ingel)