Mikhailovsky Palace was built as the residence of Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich in 1825. The prince was a son of Emperor Paul I of Russia. Alexander III founded a museum of Russian art during his reign from 1855 until 1881. In 1895, his son Nicholas II, decreed the museum should be housed in this Neoclassical palace. The State Russian Museum has grown into the country’s largest collection of Russian art dating back to the 10th century. Among its 400,000 exhibits are contemporary masterpieces by world artists. The museum complex of several buildings covers 74 acres.