Penza state museum of local history is among the oldest scientific research, cultural and educational institutions in Volga basin region. It was founded as a natural history museum in 1905 by the members of Penza Association of Natural History Lovers. In 1924 it was reconstituted into a scientific research museum.
The museum collections include more then 135.000 units stored in main and subsidiary funds. These are cultural artefacts, records of the past, nature, as well as spiritual and material life that reflect lifestyle patterns of the multinational Penza region. The most valuable are the collections in natural history, archeology, ethnography, arts, numismatics and files with handwritten and print documents. There is a library in the museum with more then 50.000 books, which includes rare old-print folios and books with autographs of its authors.
Expositions in the halls of the museum tell about paleontological and geological past of the region, its modern nature and diverse wildlife. The visitors are attracted by regional archeological findings and the story of Penza city, its life at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and the traditional lifestyle of the multinational peasant population of the region. There is also information about renowned people whose life and activity was connected with Penza region, including war heroes, scientists, public and cultural personalities, etc.
Nowadays Penza State Museum of Regional Studies includes as its branches several other museums, i.a. Vasily Kluchevsky museum, Ilia Ulianov museum and Zolotariovka ancient settlement cite museum