Founded in 1758 by count I. I. Shuvalov Scientific-Research Museum of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts has a unique collection of works of Western European and Russian art. Many generations of students of the Academy of Arts were studied by this collection, starting from the XVIII century and later became prominent representatives of the Russian art school of the XVIII – XX centuries. It is one of the oldest Museum institutions in Russia. The Museum’s collection includes a significant array of works of art (of various types and genres), which makes it possible to understand the complexity of the educational and pedagogical process associated with the establishment of a «new type» of traditional culture that emerged in the history of Russia at the beginning of the XVIII century. Almost from the very first years of the Academy of arts, one of the most important tasks was to create a collection that allows to trace all the stages of the development of the Russian art school. The Museum was replenished with the best student, boarding school works, as well as creative works of masters of the academic circle. The collection also included works by foreign artists — honorary members and teachers of the Academy. Gradually, the classes — full — scale, etude, watercolor, mannequin, composition-developed collections of the best educational works, marked by the Council of professors with high marks and selected as samples.
The building of the Academy of arts itself, was built in 1764-1789. The project was made by two professors of the architectural class of the Academy of arts — A. F. Kokorinov and J. B. M. Vallen-Delamot. The building is an outstanding monument of early classicism architecture in Russia.

On the first floor there is a Cast gallery, which presents a unique collection of copies of ancient and Western European sculpture, as well as models of architectural monuments of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. The collection of casts dates back to 1757, when the Academy of arts was founded in Saint Petersburg. During the period of classicism, which was established in Russian art in the second half of the XVIII century, casts were sent to the academic collection as samples. Copying «Antiques», which was a mandatory stage in the process of training artists of all specialties, is still included in the program of the Institute of painting, sculpture and architecture named after I. E. Repin.
The collection of the Cast gallery is unique in its completeness, methodical selection and quality of execution. Most of the casts were made by Italian masters in the late XVIII — early XIX century on the forms taken directly from the originals. These reproductions very accurately convey all the plastic features of the originals. The most significant group of works consists of repetitions of sculptural monuments of Ancient Greece, illustrating the entire course of development of Greek sculpture.

On the second floor there is an exhibition called «Art collection», which introduces the audience to paintings and sculptures from the historical collection of the Museum. Here are collected works that were models for students, as well as the best educational works of students and graduates of the Academy of different years, which allows you to show the main stages of development of the Russian academic school of the XVIII–XX centuries.

On the third floor, in the halls of the exhibition «Architecture of St. Petersburg of the XVIII–XIX centuries in models, illustrations and drawings», are presented sketches and models of various St. Petersburg buildings of the XVIII and XIX centuries. All models are original. Most of them are design models of outstanding architectural monuments of our city, completed before construction. After construction, the model was usually stored in the building for which it was made. In St. Petersburg, these original works of architecture were transferred to the Academy of arts «for the benefit of students», future architects who studied here along with painters, sculptors and engravers.

Temporary exhibition halls regularly host exhibitions of works by Russian and foreign masters of fine art. The annual Summer exhibition based on the results of practice, an exhibition of diploma works by students of the Institute of painting, sculpture and architecture named after I. E. Repin, and a Spring exhibition representing the creativity of teachers of the Institute have become traditional for the Scientific Research Museum of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts.