Saratov first ethnographic exhibition was opened on April 25, 1920. This date is considered to be the foundation day of the Ethnographic museum. From 1921 till 1931 it was housed in Schmidt's mansion in Armyanskaya street and used to operate as a branch of the Saratov State Regional Museum. In the ensuing years, it was not known as an independent organization. In 1993, by the decision of the scientific council of the Saratov Regional Museum of Local Lore, the Ethnographic museum was reconstructed as its branch in the building that had been previously occupied by a memorial flat of the Ulyanovs family, in 26 Ulyanovskaya street. The museum does not possess any funds of its own. The subjects presented in 14 rooms come from the Saratov Regional Museum of Local Lore.
The exposition currently arranged in the museum is meant to give an account of various peoples that used to live in the Saratov Volga Region. Traditional clothes, tools and art objects of the Russians, the Ukrainians, the Germans, the Tatars, the Mordovians, the Chuvash, the Bashkir and Kalmucks are presented. A most popular exhibition deals with a peculiar musical instrument known all over the world - the Saratov harmonica