Baikal Museum of ISC SB RAS
The history of Baikal Museum’s collection dates back to the beginning of Baikal expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1925. The museum is dedicated to the origin, life and research of Lake Baikal. Since 1928, the collection was enriched and improved by the Baikal limnological station of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Since 1961, after Limnological Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR was established, the founding collection consists of Baikal fish, stuffed birds and animals, samples of bottom sediments and Baikal minerals, maquettes, various exhibits found during scientific field expeditions. Today the Baikal Museum is a state non-profit organization engaged in studying and providing information about Lake Baikal, its plant and animal world. The museum staff participate in international research works and programs aimed at preserving the purity of the Baikal water and ecotourism development, actively promote the modern knowledge about Lake Baikal, deliver lectures, meet the participants of the variety of conferences, symposia, meetings and conferences held in Eastern Siberia. The museum receives over 150 thousand visitors each year Since June 2004, the museum acquired a unique limnological aquarium, which gives visitors an opportunity to explore the underwater world of Lake Baikal and to see omul, grayling, bream, sturgeon, Lenka, burbot, carp, catfish, pike and carp, as well as crustaceans, sponges and mollusks, in conditions close to natural. To date, the limnological aquarium is the only one of its kind, because no one other in the world maintains such a low temperature - 4 degrees Celsium. Water for it is pumped four times a day from a depth of 500 meters with a special pumping station built near the museum. All 11 aquariums are designed in a way to provide a careful look on the underwater inhabitants of Lake Baikal, including two seals, for whom almost ideal conditions were created. The seals live in two communicating rooms with floe, through the hole in which they can climb out to breathe the fresh air. On November 2006, the museum opened a new interactive exhibition - "Batiskaf" (Bathyscaphe), a room stylized under the submarine and equipped with computer displays in nine portholes. Shooting of real dives to different depths of the lake are shown through dispalys for 15 minutes. The illusion of real immersion is created by specialized computer software. Such a trick makes it possible to become a participant in an interactive journey along the underwater slopes and the bottom, to see how Baikal is densely populated with crustaceans, mollusks, and seals. In addition, viewers have an opportunity to see the unique phenomenon of nature - the hydrovent, when the water, saturated with methane, slowly drains from the bottom of the lake, and in which the colonies of white bacteria live. The exposition uses original information technologies that create the effect of a "combined image", when each of the portholes shows its own picture, and the viewer gets the impression of volume. The video image is accompanied by sound effects. In 2008, a botanical garden was opened on the territory of the museum.