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Museums in Kiev > National Museum of History of Ukraine

     

Hydria, Amphora, Situla, 5th century B.C., Peschanoe, Cherkasy region.

National Museum of History of Ukraine, Kiev

Decorative vase, 1910s, Canton, South China

Address: 2, Vladimirskaya Street, Kiev.
Tel: +38(044) 278-48-64.
Opening Hours: 10:00 - 17:00
Closed on Wednesday. 

National Museum of History of Ukraine was founded in 1899 when an archaeological exhibition was opened in City Museum of antiquities and art at the current Grushevsky’s Street. The official opening and consecration of the museum, which was then called "Kiev Art and Industry and  Science Museum dedicated to Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich” was held on Dec. 23 1904.
In 1935 the museum collection was moved to its new location. It moved into the museum town situated in Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. During the World War II the museum collection was moved to Ufa. In 1944 the museum exhibits were returned to Kiev. Since that time the museum exposition has been placed in the former art school building on the Old Kiev Hill.

The archaeological and numismatic collections of the museum are the especially valuable ones. The collections of weapons and firearms, ethnography, unique books, glassware and china are very interesting too. 

Now there are over 800 thousand unique artifacts of history and culture in the museum collections. In addition to the main exposition of the museum there are several exhibitions there. They are "The awards of the world", "About the history of money circulation in Ukraine", "Serge Lifar. Life for Dance ".


General director of the Museum Sergey Chaikovskiy

General Director of National Museum of History of Ukraine
Sergey CHAIKOVSKIY:

“IT IS IMPORTANT TO PRESERVE HISTORY
FOR OUR DESCENDANTS”

Would you like to get to know how ancestors of contemporary Ukrainians lived, how they cultivated land, built houses, fought for their Motherland? Then you should visit the Museum of History of Ukraine, situated in the historical center of Kiev, right on the territory, where palaces of Kiev Princes were located at times of Kievan Rus.

National Museum of History of Ukraine is one of the most attended in Kiev. More than 15 expositions are opened here. In general, museum exposition reveals the process of development of society on the territory of Ukraine from old days till present time. Everyday life items of the first Tripillya settlements, materials of the Kievan Rus period, Soviet power and Independence epochs are among the exhibits.

The Museum was founded in 1904. Archeological exhibition of 1899, which used to be situated on the territory of present-day National Art Museum, became the base for its collection. Famous Ukrainian scientist – archeologists Nikolay Belyashevskiy and Vikentiy Khvoika, ethnographer Sherbakovskiy and others – became founders of the museum. At first, the museum existed on means of Maecenas and only in 1909 state annual subsidy was allocated to it. In 1944 its collection was moved to the building of the former art school on Starokievskaya Mountain, where it is still situated.

Building of the Museum Visitors of the Museum examine unique coins Foundation of the Church of the Dime

Archeological collections are especially valuable here. Among them there are materials of Mesinskaya and Kirillovskaya stands of antique Stone Age, Tripillya agricultural tribes and other cultures of copper-bronze epoch, period of first Slavs and Old Russian state- Kievan Rus. There are valuable collections of cold and firearms, ethnography, numismatics, bonistic and faleristic, unique editions of books, items, made of glass and porcelain in the museum. Along with the main exposition, devoted to Ukrainian history, several topical exhibitions are held in the museum – “Tripillya World”, “Awards of countries of the world”, “From history of money circulation in Ukraine”, “Serge Lifar. Life for dance”.

Elisaveta`s carriage and unique coins

For example, if you wonder what carriage Empress Elizaveta Petrovna used, you can see in one of the halls of the museum. Analyzing the past our contemporaries were amazed by the miraculous luxury of the Empress Elizaveta Petrovna`s court and her grand visits. Unique type of light carriage (coupe) of the first half of the 18th century is represented in the exposition. This is the main imperial carriage of Elizaveta Petrovna, which she granted to Kiev Metropolit Rafail Zaborovskiy during her stay I Kiev in 1744. In 1903 this gorgeous carriage that had been situated in the yard of Metropolit of Saint Sophia was passed to Kiev City Museum, which eventually became National Museum of History of Ukraine.

The famous Pectoral from the holographic exhibition The carriage of Elizaveta Icon of Virgin Mary from the same collection

It is just one of our exhibits, General Director of the museum Sergey Chaikovskiy says. We are especially proud of our archeological, numismatic collections and holographic exhibition. They are collected and kept very carefully, since it is very important to preserve Ukrainian history for our descendants. Numismatic collection of our museum is the biggest in Ukraine. It accounts 120 thousand items and has been gathered for 200 years. But I honestly admit that we have very little analogues of the coins, received from the National Security Service of Ukraine last year. It granted our museum and the museum complex “Mystetskiy Arsenal” 37 golden and 294 silver coins. The first collection was exempted in summer of 2008 from a citizen of Russia, when he was passing customs between Ukraine and Poland; the second one - also from a Russian citizen, who wanted to export the coins from Lugansk region to his Motherland and hid them in the repair box of his car. These coins have significant historical value, since they were produced almost three centuries ago. The golden coins were produced in Russian Empire and Germany in the middle of the 19th century. Among the silver coins there are so-called “Siberian” ones, which were minted in Russia in 1766-1781 in limited amount specially for Siberia. National Security Service had passed icons, everyday life items, articles of Kievan Rus period and of the 15th century. Thanks to such cooperation exempted treasures do not get lost in private collections, but become national heritage.

St Mikhail, who was on the town hall Statue of Justice

It should be added to the above mentioned that distribution of coins among museums is within the competence of the State Service of Control after Relocation of Cultural Values across the National Border of Ukraine. As its Chairman Yuriy Savchuk mentioned, according to current legislation, National Museum of History is the main establishment, where valuable articles and jewelry are passed, others are defined by the Expert Council of the Service.

Museum in a suitcase

According to the director of the museum Sergey Chaikovskiy, holographic exhibition “Golden treasury of Ukraine”, which has been represented in many countries of the world, is the main pride of the museum. It has been seen by residents of Paris, Moscow and representatives of Ukrainian Diaspora in distant Siberian Tyumen. Personally I was impressed greatly by holographic, dimensional images of the most unique relics of Ukrainian history. The collection was created by joint venture “Holography” and employees of National Museum of History of Ukraine.

Ukrainian national costumes In one of the halls

What is the main appeal of the exposition? Artistic holograms reflect global migration processes in Ukraine for the last eight thousand years. About 30 holographic paintings, on which priceless museum rarities are depicted - cups, female adornments, bowls - are represented here. Size of the objects is reproduced with micron precision. “Holographic method of shooting enables not just to get dimensional images, but to demonstrate the smallest details” Ivan Yavtushenko, the Deputy Director of the Museum explains.  For example, curls of hair on skins of animals were made so little, that they can be examined only with loupe. These curls are present on the holographic copy as well. It is rather hard to take originals out of the country: there are many problems with customs clearance, insurance, security of the unique items (the average cost of that would be about 15 mln. Euro). Many articles are so fragile, that they are not to be transported and are kept in storerooms of the museum. Dimensional holograms enable to show masterpieces of Ukrainian culture from the times of Tripillya till the Cossacks era without much financial expenses. The exhibition turns out more mobile. In fact, this is “Museum in a suitcase”, which can be easily transported from one country to another”.

The golden pectoral – round breast decoration of Scythian King (14th century BC), 30, 6 sm. in diameter and weighing 1, 5 kg. -   is the most unique exhibit of the exposition. It was found by the famous Ukrainian archeologist Boris Mozolevskiy in Dnepropetrovsk region in 1971.

Another interesting fact. Unique historic monument is situated not far from National Museum of History of Ukraine – remains of foundation of the Church of Dormition of the Holy Virgin Mary (the Church of the Dime), which was the first stone church in Russia. The church of the Dime was built in the period of 986-996. Prince Vladimir the Great allocated 1/10 of his means for its construction – that’s where the name of the Church comes from.

And finally, how can one easily get to National Museum of History of Ukraine? The nearest underground stations: “Kontraktova Square”, “Poshtova Square”, “Independence Square”.

Media center of “Prime Excursion Bureau”

April 2010.



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