The Central Naval Museum - one of the oldest museums in Russia and one of the largest maritime museums in the world. The museum originates from the St. Petersburg Model Chamber - shipbuilding storage models and drawings. The date when the Saint-Petersburg Model Chamber was first mentioned in records is considered its birthday. It was on January 24, 1709 when Peter I, who at the time was with his army in the Ukraine, sent instructions to A.V. Kikin, reading : “Take the Model Chamber out of my house and place it by the shipyard, wherever a proper place is available …”. The Model Chamber was locate in the Main Admiralty, where to build ships of the Baltic Fleet.
In 1805 was created "Maritime Museum", which became the basis for the collection of the Model Chamber. By the end of the XIX century, Maritime Museum has become a significant Russian cultural and scientific center, became known throughout the world.
In 1908, before the solemn celebration of the 200th anniversary of the museum, he was given the name of the founder - Peter the Great. Replacing a number of names, he became in 1924 the Central Naval Museum. Have been made consistent with the spirit of time adjustments to the exposure.
In August 1939 the Central Naval Museum was given one of the most beautiful buildings of Leningrad - the Stock Exchange building. In February 1941 the exposition was open in the new rooms, but after four months, the Great Patriotic War began. The most valuable exhibits were evacuated to Ulyanovsk. In July 1946, the museum returned from the evacuation and reopened to the visitors.
After the war begins to create a modern network of branches of the Central Naval Museum. In 1956, opened a branch in the cruiser "Aurora" - the first in Russia the ship-museum. In 1972, in the village of Osinovets on the shore of Lake Ladoga was open a branch of "The road of life". In 1980, in a building of the Kronstadt Naval Cathedral was open a branch "Kronstadt Fortress". In 1994, was open the first in Russia museum on the submarine - D-2 "Narodovolets".
Now the museum supports the business relationships, organizes joint exhibition with dozens of Russian and foreign museums.
During the three centuries of its existence, the museum has collected a huge amount of valuable museum objects that reflect the most important events in the history of the fleet. The museum funds kept more than 700 000 objects. There are more than 13 000 objects of naval equipment, more than 11 000 units of weapons and firearms, more than 62,000 works of art, more than 56 000 objects uniforms, awards and decorations, flags and banners, more than 44 000 documents and manuscripts, about 300 000 photographs and negatives, hundreds of thousands of sheets of drawings.
The museum has one of the world's richest collections of model ships (about 2,000 units). In the model collection clearly reflects the history of the Russian and foreign military shipbuilding.
In 2012, the Museum of the Baltic Fleet (Baltiysk) and the Ship of military glory "Mikhail Kutuzov" (Novorossiysk) became branches of the Central Naval Museum.
In 2013, the collection was moved to the new building - renovated complex “Kryukov (Marine) barracks”.