MAE RAS today is not only an academic museum, but also one of the leading research centers of theRussianAcademy of Sciences. Here the traditions of greate Russian ethnographists and anthropologists are adhered to. The Museum has a status of a state institution. By decrees of the president of the Russian Federation MAE RAS is placed among the most important objects of the cultural heritage of the RF nations and is inscribed in the State code of the most important objects of the cultural heritage of the RF nations.
In the course of its history the Museum has always had a spesial position in the structure of the Academy of Sciences. Among the Museum directors working in different periods there were many outstanding scientists: naturalist, zoologist, traveller and academician P.I.Shrenk, orientalists and historians - academicians V.V.Bartold, B.A.Dorn, V.V.Radlov, V.V.Struve, A.A.Shifner, africanist and corresponding member of the Academy of Science of USSA D.A.Olderogge, linguists and academicians E.F.Karskiy and I.I.Meschaninov.
When the Museum was the Leningrad branch of the Institute of Ethnography and Anthropology until 1992, it was directed by Professor L.P.Potapov and then Candidate of Sciences L.M.Saburova. The great epoch of the Institute and the Museum life is associated with the name of Professor R.F.Its, who in 1982-1990 made a great contribution to preservation and development of the best scientific traditions of the Russian ethnographic school. Nowadays many collegues and disciples of R.F.Its, who was simultaneously a head of the department of Ethnography and Anthropology reopen by him at the faculty of History of Lenindrad State University, work in the Museum. In 1991-2001 MAE was directed by Doctor of Sciences A.S.Mylnikov and then Doctor of Sciences Ch.M.Taksami.
Doctor of Sciences Yu.K.Chistov was the head of the Museum in 2001-2017. Now the director is Prof., D.Sc., corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences Abdrei Golovnev. The deputy director for research activities is Doctor of Sciences E.A.Resvan, the deputy director for the Museum is Candidate of Sciences Y.A.Kupina, the Collections Manager is Candidate of Sciences Natalia Kopaneva, the academic secretary is Candidate of Sciences Denis Yermolin. The Deputy Director for the maintenance A.A.Melnikov manages maintenance works on buildings and facility of the Museum.
At present over a hundred and twenty scientific workers (including 17 Doctors and 56 Candidates of Sciences) are enrolled at the Museum, many of them have recieved international and national scientific awards and prizes. The bulk of MAE employees are simultaneously Professors and lecturers of leading institutes of higher education of Saint-Petersburg. The total number of staff including the Museum and subsidiary departments are 202 persons.