Izborsk is one of the ancient towns in the north-west of Russia. It was first mentioned in the Tale of Bygone Years in the year 862 when the elder (brother) Rurik settled in Novgorod, the second, Sineus — in Beloozero, the third, Truvor — in Izborst (Izborsk).
The local people initiated the setting up of the museum in Izborsk. Before the Great Patriotic War the Izborsk school housed a small museum, organized be the former head teacher of the school A. I. Makarovsky.
The archaeological finds began to appear in the museum since the day it was founded. In most cases they were collected by the local people. But most of the finds were lost during the Great Patriotic War. In 1964 a public museum was founded thanks to the initiative of the local people. Archaeological finds formed most of its holdings. It was a volunteer organization ascribed to the library. The first director was Sergey Alexeyevich Scherbakov, a tireless local historian, who initiated the amateur society ‘Izborsk Friday.’
His associates were the library personnel — Valentina Dmitriyevna Rosova and Vasiliy Vasilyevich Voronkov, and also Nikolay Ivanovich Erofeyev.
In 1970 the Izborsk museum became a branch of the Pskov State Historical, Architectural and Art Museum-Preserve under the name of ‘Izborsk Fortress.’ Valentina Dmitriyevna Rosova became its head.
In this period since 1971 systematic archaeological research began in Izborsk headed by the academician Valentin Vasilyevich Sedov. During the research work the total area of the ancient Russian settlement was examined for the first time and a unique collection of archaeological finds was gathered, which formed the core of the museum holdings.
Since 1979 the museum has been called the Museum of Defense Architecture.
In 1982 Leonid Nikolayevich Panov became the head of the museum.
In 1993 the museum became self-governing and got a status of a juridic body under the name the Izborsk State Historical Architectural and Nature Museum.
In 1996 under the Decree of the Government of RF № 43 ‘On measures taken to preserve historical and cultural heritage of the Izborsko-Mal’skaya Dolina (valley) in the Pskov region’ the museum was reorganized into the State Historical, Architectural and Nature Museum-Reserve ‘Izborsk’ with the area of 7, 734 hectares.
For forty years, every last Friday of each month a meeting of the historical amateur society ‘Izborsk Friday’ has been held at the museum-reserve ‘Izborsk.’
‘Izborsk Friday’ has been carrying out collecting, research and exploration work. The very idea of setting up such a voluntary organization was conceived at one such meeting of ‘Izborsk Friday.’ The place for it was provided, and the first display of the Izborsk museum as a voluntary organization was opened in 1964.
The museum comprises the estate museum of Seto in the village of Sigovo, the only museum in Russia of Finno-Ugric ethnic minority Setu (Seto), which managed to preserve its unique material and spiritual culture. The museum is located in the Panikovskaya volost’ (administrative division) of the Pechery district of the Pskov region, on the border of three states — Russia, Estonia and Latvia, where the Russian Orthodox, Estonian Lutheran, Catholic and Seto Orthodox cultures are interwoven.
The estate museum occupies the house which once belonged to the family of Kűlaots. The estate was formed at the end of the nineteenth — beginning of the twentieth century. Vasily Kűlaots, who had nine children, built the house in 1906. Later his elder son Nikolay inherited the house.
In 1999 the museum-reserve Izborsk acquired the estate. In 2001 a branch of the museum-reserve was opened in it. In 2003 Tatyana Nikolayevna Kalashnik, an Honoured Culture Worker of Russia, was appointed to head it. She greatly contributed to the development of the museum-reserve.
In 2005 the Decree was issued ‘On Approval of the Borders and the Mode of Preservation Areas in the Izborsk State Historical, Architectural and Nature Museum-Reserve’.
In 2008 the Decree № 169 of June 24, 2008 of the Administration of the Pskov Region was issued " On the Nature Monument of the Pskov Region ‘Izborsko-Mal’skaya Valley’".
In February 2008 Nataliya Petrovna Dubrovskaya was appointed the director of the Izborsk State Museum- Reserve. Under her direction the staff of the museum has been enthusiastically working to carry out the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of June 7, 2010‘On Preparation and Celebration of the 1150th Anniversary of Izborsk’, the federal and regional programme of events devoted to the preparation and celebration of the 1150th anniversary of Izborsk.
Large-scale conservation (restoration) work is carried out in the Izborsk fortress, Truvor’s Cross. The restoration of the museum complex of the objects of cultural and historical heritage had been performed. The complex includes merchant Anisimov’s house and the wing, Shvedov’s estate, the barn of the Seto estate museum. The infrastructure of the museum is undergoing renovation: capital repairs of Krest’yanskaya usad’ba (Peasant estate) have been carried out, anew parking lot was put in commission. New anniversary displays are being organized.
In the framework the 1150th anniversary preparation programme, the History Museum of Pechery became a branch of the Izborsk State Museum-Reserve. The amalgamation of the collections of both state museums , the objects of material culture of the Pechory district, the Seto ethnic minority enables the museum to expand exhibition facilities, display the objects of material culture of the Pechery district, the Seto ethnic minority.