Museums in Kiev

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Museums in Kiev, Ukraine include museums of art, history, transportation, and religion. They constitute an important aspect of Kiev's focus on knowledge, culture, and history.

Art museums[edit]

The National Art Museum of Ukraine is dedicated to Ukrainian art. Built in the 19th century, the museum has the appearance of a Greek temple.[1] It was previously the Museum of History, which held many important historical artefacts. Following the nationalisation of all works of art in the Soviet Union, the museum acquired a large collection of artworks.[2] The museum's exhibits are displayed in twenty-one galleries, representing the icons and sculpture of Ukraine, alongside paintings by artists such as Taras Shevchenko, Kyriak Kostandi, and Mykola Pymonenko.[1] There are artefacts from the Medieval period (the 14th to 19th centuries),[3]), the Romantic period (the 18th and 19th centuries), and the modern era. The museum possesses sketches by Shevchenko,[clarification needed] paintings of the socialist era of the Soviet Union, and posters of the Revolutionary period.[2] The museum houses the pre-19th century wooden icon of the 'Last Judgment', which was previously kept in Kiev's St. Michael Monastery.[4] The small icon of Saint George which was located in the store room of a museum in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol was restored by L.H. Chlenova and I.P. Dorofuenko and transferred to Kiev, under the supervision of Nikolai V. Pertsev, who was also involved in the initial restoration of the museum.[5]

The Pyrohovo Open Air Museum showcases Ukraine's folk decorative arts. It has churches, barns, windmills, huts, and craft exhibits. Guides dressed in regional village costume explain aspects of village life.[2]

The Museum of Western and Oriental Art, also known as the Museum of Art of Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko, is a treasure house of artefacts from Ukraine and around the world.[6] The museum possesses ceramics dating from the 9th century, and glazed tiles from the 14th to 17th centuries. There are some bronzes and embroidery work.[7] In the western wing of the museum among the rare Byzantine antiquaries there is also an impressive painting of Hieronymus Bosch's Temptation of St Anthony. There are four unique religious artefacts dated from the 6th and 7th centuries on the top floor, and items of Greek sculpture. The eastern wing has exhibits of art related to Buddhism, Islam and Chinese culture.[3] The building gives an impression of a bourgeois mansion, with post-Renaissance, Western European paintings and portraits by Rubens, Velázquez, Joshua Reynolds and Jacques-Louis David. The building is architecturally important and many pieces of furniture in the museum are pieces of art.[8] The museum possesses an important 6th-century icon of Sergius and Bacchus, brought from the Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai by Bishop Uspensky.[9]

Other art museums in Kiev include the Pinchuk Art Centre, a museum dedicated to Eastern European art and culture, which is privately owned by Viktor Pinchuk. It is an international centre for the display of contemporary art.[10] The Ivan Honchar Museum was established in Kiev in September 1993 to exhibit the personal collection of Ivan Makarovych Honchar. Its aim is to promote the national culture of Ukraine, with an emphasis on Ukrainian art and ethnography.[11] The Mystetskyi Arsenal is an art exhibition space.[12]

History museums[edit]

The Museum of The History of Ukraine in World War II is a complex which commemorates the Eastern Front of World War II.[13] Its collection consists of about 300,000 pieces, and it has been visited by over 24 million visitors.[13]

National Museum-Preserve "Battle for Kyiv 1943

The National Museum-Preserve "Battle for Kyiv 1943" is dedicated to the Kiev Strategic Offensive Operation of autumn 1943. The museum exposition narrates the events of the autumn of 1943, the Battle of the Dnieper and the Lyutezh Offensive Operation during the Battle of Kiev (1943). The Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum in Podil is a striking display of the tragedy of the nuclear disaster.[2] The symbolic representation of many old road signs of the deserted towns and cities are stated to give an eerie feeling, and there are a number of Surrealist pictures of the disaster.[2]

The National Historical Museum of Ukraine is a national heritage museum dedicated to the theme of Ukrainian independence. The museum highlights the struggle for independence tracing back from the Slavic times to the present.[14] The museum, which opened in 1904, was shifted to Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in 1935 and later during the war to Ufa, and after the war the collections were moved back to Kiev to the present location. It has many archeological artifacts found locally, apart from ethnographical and numismatic exhibits, paintings and sculptures, old books and many other artifacts. The exhibits also trace the ancient history of Ukraine from the time of Trypillya settlements, weaponry of ancient Polovtsy, artifacts of Kievan Rus period, the Soviet rule and also of the Orange Revolution, and to the present. Exhibits related to nationally-renowned dancer Serge Lifar are also on display here.[15] The first foundation stone of the church in Kiev, built in 989, is located in the precincts of the museum.[14] The church was destroyed by the Mongols in 1240 and was never reconstructed.

The Kiev Archive Museum of Transitional Period was a brief Nazi propaganda museum that was established by German occupants in Ukraine in 1942.[16] to October 1942.[17] The expositions were oriented specifically to "achievements" of the German occupation and crimes of Joseph Stalin's regime.[17] The museum's director was the Ukrainian historian and former mayor Oleksandr Ohloblyn who used this opportunity to organize an exhibition about cultural monuments destroyed by Bolsheviks.[18] Several historians, such as Oleksandr Hruzynsky, Svitozar Drahomanov, Natalia Polonska-Vasylenko etc., were appointed scientific advisors of the museum, but it was not very successful,[17] and was soon closed and did not reopen.[18]

The Toilet History Museum, located in the Kyiv Fortress, opened in 2006. It contains the largest collection of toilet-related souvenirs in the world and chronicles the history of the toilet from pre-biblical times to the present.[19] [20]

Transportation museums[edit]

Vintage aircraft on display at the Ukraine State Aviation Museum, Kyiv

The Ukraine State Aviation Museum is an aviation museum located next to Zhulyany Airport in Kiev, which was inaugurated on 30 September 2003 by Leonid Kuchma, the President of Ukraine at the time.[21] Its location was formerly the Educational Air Base of KIIGA. The museum offers some 70 exhibits on aircraft and helicopters, growing from an initial collection of about 30. The museum is one of the larger aviation museums displaying items related to Soviet aircraft development in the 20th century. On display is an exclusive "Backfire Collection" including Tu-22M missile-bombers, MiGs, and Jets etc. The primary functional parts of aircraft on display in the museum are stated to be in working condition.[21]

The Kiev Railway Museum is situated at the Kyïv-Passazhirskyi Station. The Kiev Museum of Electric Transportation, originally Kiev Tram History Museum, was founded in 1992,[22] The Kiev Subway Museum is also of note.

Cultural museums[edit]

Kiev fortress is a 19th-century fortification complex. The buildings later being used as barracks, and for storage and incarceration facilities. The Kosyi Kaponir became a prison for the political inmates in the 1900s–1920s and was later turned into a Soviet museum, now a Ukrainian modern museum. A small fortress built in 1872 on Lysa Hora (Bald Mountain), and in 1906 became a place of executions for convicted political inmates. It is now a landscape reserve and part of the museum complex.[23] A. Pushkin's Museum is situated in the house where another writer M. Bulgakov used to live. Pushkin is the greatest Russian poet of the 18th-19th century. The intravital edition of “Yevgeniy Onegin” is among the exhibits. It contains author signs of the poet’s friends and contemporaries – not just literary men, but also famous politicians and statesmen.

Other cultural museums include Mamayeva Sloboda, Mikhail Bulgakov Museum, Museum of Cultural Heritage in Kiev, One Street Museum, Pyrohiv, and Savka House. In addition, several churches have museums within their complexes, such as St Andrew's Church, St Sophia Cathedral, St Cyril Church, St Nicholas Cathedral, and Kiev Pechersk Lavra.


There are several museums dedicated to the city's infrastructure, including Building of Pedagogical Museum, Kiev Fire Service Museum, Kiev Pharmacy Museum, Kiev Recycling Museum, Kiev Sewer Museum, Kiev Water Museum, and the National Museum of Health Care in Kiev.[24]

The Water Museum (Water-information Centre) is one of the most popular cultural institutions in Kyiv. It is located in the very centre of the city in Khreshchaty Park. The Water Museum was established in 2003 in oder to improve people's awareness about water resources and their value for the community.


  1. ^ a b Hardaway 2011, p. 26.
  2. ^ a b c d e Evans & Pasquale 2013, p. 152.
  3. ^ a b Duca & Ragozin 2012, p. 43.
  4. ^ Himka 2009, p. 94.
  5. ^ Pevny 2000, p. 106.
  6. ^ "Khanenko Museum". History (in Ukrainian). official website of Khanenko Museum. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  7. ^ Bloom & Blair2009, p. 438.
  8. ^ Evans & Pasquale 2013, p. 153.
  9. ^ Grotowski 2010, p. 298.
  10. ^ "Mission:PinchukArtCentre". PinchukArtCentre Organization. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Ivan Honchar Museum". Ivan Honchar Museum. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  12. ^ Mystetskyi Arsenal Official Website
  13. ^ a b "History of the Museum". War Museum Kiev. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  14. ^ a b Evans & Pasquale 2013, p. 154.
  15. ^ "The Ukrainian National Museum of History". Official website of Kiev city. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  16. ^ Newsletter. ACRL. 2004. p. 78.
  17. ^ a b c "80-річчю Державного архіву Київської області присвячується (80th Anniversary State Archives Kyiv region dedicated to)" (PDF) (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original (pdf) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  18. ^ a b Cornelis 2004, p. 202.
  19. ^ Nikoloz Bezhanishvili (3 July 2015). "Tamada Travels: Ukraine's Toilet History Museum". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  20. ^ Nikoloz Bezhanishvili and Giorgi Lomsadze (21 September 2015). "A long history of toilets in Ukraine museum". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  21. ^ a b "The State Aviation Museum (Zhuliany)". Official website of Aviation Museum. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  22. ^ Mashkevich, Stefan. "THE KIEV MUSEUM OF ELECTRIC TRANSPORTATION". Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  23. ^ "Kiev Fortress Museum - Unique Semi-Underground Museum". Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  24. ^ "Technology museums in Ukraine". State Polytechnic Museum. Retrieved 25 October 2013.


External links[edit]

Media related to Museums in Kiev at Wikimedia Commons