The history of the museum started in 1906, when Father Irinarkh (I.S. Shemanovsky), asenior priest of the Obdorsk Orthodox mission, founded the Ethnographic Collection of Indigenous Peoples in Tobolsk North at the library of Saint Guria brotherhood in the village of Obdorsk (now Salekhard). The collection grew into the regional natural history museum, which received the name from its founder in 1996. In 2002 the museum was succeeded by the newly established Shemanovsky Museum-Exhibition Complexand celebrated its 110th birthday in 2016.
Today it is a large museum with numerous employees involved in research, methodical work, fund accounting, restoration, exhibition and publishing. The museum has its own research library and is actively developing education activities.
The museum is aimed mainly at children and teenagers by engaging them into activities of the Children’s Center, the Military History Club, and the Einstein Museum of Entertaining Sciences. Families are invited to join various city and museum tours via the project called New Tour. Adult visitors are welcome to attend the MUZART Creative Studio.
The museum’s total area is about 10 000 m2, with the exhibition area of 3 890 m2. The complex includes a museum with storage facilities and exhibition areas, an exhibition center with an exhibition hall of 700 m2, and an administrative center with a conference hall accommodating 195 people. Another part of the museum is the Laptsuy Memorial Flatdevoted to the life and works of the well-known Nenets writer L.V. Laptsuy and local literary life.