The history of the A. Kasteyev State Museum of Arts began in 1935, when on September 23, the former Government of Kazakhstan issued a decree to organize the Kazakh State Art Gallery. This decree paid special attention to the 15th anniversary of the Kazakh Socialist Soviet Republic Art Exhibition. Many art works of this exhibition were purchased by the museum and became the base of our collection.
In 1965 the Government of Kazakhstan made the decision to provide the Gallery with its own building designed by Kazakhstan architects Elsa Kuznetsova, Olga Naumova and Boris Novikov. In 1976 the Kazakh Art Gallery was renamed the State Museum of Arts of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Republican Museum of Applied Art also joined the Museum. The new building was opened for visitors on September 16, 1976. In January 1984 the Museum was named after Abylkhan Kasteyev, People Artist of Kazakhstan (1904-1973).
Currently, the A. Kasteyev State Museum of Arts of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the largest art museum in the country and the country's leading research, cultural and educational fine arts center. The museum’s rich, diverse, precious collection gives a broad sense of the artistic culture of Kazakhstan, Europe and Asia. It includes more than 25000 art objects by old masters and contemporary art artists. Several offices work within the museum: the Office of Kazakhstan Visual Art, the Office of Kazakhstan Decorative and Applied Art, the Office of Foreign Classical Art, the Office of Foreign Modern Art, the Scientific Restoration Office, the Office of Exhibitions and Expositions Management, the Guided Tours Office, the Collection Management and Storage Office, the Information and Publication Office, and the Office of Public and Foreign Relations.
Today, the museum has become the center of new cultural initiatives. The museum’s many diverse contacts allow the museum to organize regular exhibitions - more than 70 every year - of Kazakhstan artists, foreign artists, and exhibitions of private collections, which are of particular interest amongst lovers of fine arts.
One of the main objectives of the museum is to popularize the arts in the public sphere. The museum offers many activities: events to diversify the age and social groups of visitors, thematic guided tours, and a cycle of lectures about Kazakhstan's and World art history for 4-5 months of the year. Part of this effort is intensive media coverage of these events and activities.
In addition, the A. Kasteyev Museum is a leading institution of research in art restoration. Many educational activities like national and international scientific conferences, seminars and round tables are organized every year. The museum's scientific researchers present their papers at both national and international conferences, as well as publish monographs and articles based on their fundamental studies. The continuing goal for the museum is to increase its value as an important national research center for the study of fine and decorative arts.