NAS Odessa Archaeological Museum is the oldest one in this country. It was founded in 1825 as the Municipal Museum of Antiquities. From 1858 to 1919 the Museum functioned as the Museum of Odessa Society for History and Antiquities. From 1920 to 1971 it was within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture and Education of the Ukrainian SSR.
In 1971 the Museum was incorporated to the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (now the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine). As a research institution it has functioned since 1997. The current name of the Museum has been in use since 1994.
The Museum carries out research along such lines:
- primitive archaeology of the northern coast of the Black Sea;
- archaeology of the early Iron Age and the Middle Ages on the northern coast of the Black Sea.
- museum management studies.
The basic collection of the Museum includes over 170,000 artifacts, which compose the most representative assembly of archeological evidence from the South of Ukraine. It covers an enormous chronological period – from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages.
The Museum conducts archeological excavations at many sites of the Eneolithic epoch and the Bronze Age (in particular, settlements of Usatovo and Mayaki). Sites of the early Iron Age are investigated in the Lower Danube basin (Orlovka-Kartal), the ones of Classical period – on the shore of the Dniester estuary (the town of Nikonion), the Odessa Bay and the Tiligul estuary. The expedition of the Museum carries out studies on Zmiyniy (Snake) Island.
The results of these studies have been presented in numerous publications. Merely in 2001–2008 twelve monographs of Museum’s scholars were published.