The museum itself is divided into sections. Each section represents the lifeways of a certain group that was or is present in the trans-Baikal region. These include the Buryat population, who were present in the area at Russian contact in the 1600's, the Evenkis, nomadic reindeer herders who range around the trans-Baikal area, the Cossacks the administrative arm of Russian contact, and the exiles to Siberia, demonstrated here by the Old Believers and the Decembrists.

The exhibits can be followed chronologically to experience a history of the region since the time of Russian contact. In addition to the architecture, tools and materials of daily life are on exhibit.