Five Ukrainian Museums You Can Explore During the Pandemic

March 30, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought difficulties to cultural institutions, but some Ukrainian museums have done a great job adapting.

Victoria Museum in Kyiv

Do you miss the beauty of exquisite gowns and fashion while staying at home during quarantine? At the Victoria Museum, you have a chance to experience these even during the pandemic. This private museum shows you all about the fashion of the Victorian period from 1830-1920. Moreover, the exposition space is designed in accordance with all international museum standards, including climate-control systems and UV light protection.

Victoria Lysenko, the founder and director of the museum, received her education in museum studies in London. As a collector, she bought lots of the museum's exhibits from various auctions and flea markets in Europe.

The museum has a private collection of approximately 100 authentic costumes for men and women, as well as 800 exhibits from the Victorian period. In addition, they provide audio guides in Ukrainian, Russian, English, and Chinese.

"At the beginning of the pandemic, we conducted an analysis of our resources and changed our social media strategy. We launched a format that's rather unusual for Ukrainian museums with series of programmes on our Youtube channel, where you can listen to videos on the museum's exhibits as well as conversations between Victoria Lysenko and representatives of Ukraine's cultural sector," Olha Tatsii, the PR manager of the Victoria Museum,tells UkraineWorld.

Odesa Fine Arts Museum

The Odesa Fine Arts Museum is an exceptional architectural building constructed back in the 19th century. The museum's collection includes more than 10,000 pieces.  Collection highlights include artworks of Ivan Aivazovskyi, Iliia Riepin, Isaak Levitan, Vasyl Surikov, Mykhailo Vrubel, and many others. In addition, the museum is located in the Naryshkin Palace, itself  a unique work of architecture with a catacomb which you can explore. The director of the museum is Oleksandr Roitburd, a well-known Ukrainian artist.

Odesa has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and thus it had to introduce lockdown measures in March 2020. Thus, the Odesa Fine Arts Museum is proceeding as part of the worldwide  #MuseumFromHome initiative while enhanced pandemic restrictions are in place, thereby keeping its operations going through its own site and social media. It shared its collection on social networks using the  hashtag #OFAMFromHome.

This means that everyone can visit the museum from home thanks to a3D virtual tour, or come and see the exhibitions with their own eyes when the museum is open again.

"We have conducted many online tours and workshops for children during the lockdown. Right now we are working on two online projects. We do not have any group tours right now  other than our catacomb tours, where we can limit our number of guests. We do, however, offer individual tours, where visitors can walk through the museum with just a guide and ask questions, " Dariia Zhykharieva, Head of Communications Department, explains to UW.

Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum in Lviv

The museum was founded by Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Andrey Sheptytsky in 1905 as a "church museum" (with a private foundation status). Today it houses over 175,000 Ukrainian cultural objects. The Museum has a rich collection of Ukrainian ecclesiastical art from the 12th — 18th centuries, as well as a collection of icons from the 14th — 18th centuries.

The museum offers vast opportunities to its visitors. For instance, you can participate in workshops for both children and adults, and foreigners can preorder tours in their language.

In addition, the museum provides unique experiences for people with disabilities including thematic trainings, tours and workshops. Another interesting option is try out the Create an Icon game, which is available both in English and Ukrainain.

"Since the beginning of the lockdown, we have offered video tours of all our exhibitions, and as well as launched online tours and lessons. In addition, we are sharing interviews with famous art critics on the museum's greatest exhibits. The museum has started being more active in conducting ZOOM conferences. Finally, we have held three children's drawing competitions online," Angelina Zabytivska, the academic secretary of the museum, says to UkraineWorld.

Kharkiv Art Museum

Another interesting museum on our list is Kharkiv Art Museum. The museum started when in 1805, the Kharkiv National University bought more than two thousand sheets of graphics of Western-European artists. Today, the museum counts more than 25,000 pieces in its collection.

Nowadays, the museum allows everyone to explore its collections both in person and online. For virtual visitors, there are also special informational references which are available to everyone.

In addition, the museum offers various thematic events in Ukrainian both for adults and kids.

"During the quarantine, our museum has boosted its social media presence. In addition, the museum created its own Youtube channel. A number of new projects have been launched and are being implemented on the museum's social media accounts. These include the Traveling around Ukraine exhibition, which shows picturesque scenes from our country through the eyes of contemporary Kharkiv artists," says Hanna Zadorozhna, Senior Research Fellow of the museum tells UkraineWorld.

Museum of Science in Kyiv

For some people, the words "museum" and "science" may sound outdated, boring, or not especially relevant. But Kyiv's new Museum of Science is everything but! This interactive museum shows that science can be exciting, understandable, and accessible to everyone.

This particular museum is located at the Expocenter of Ukraine (also known as VDNG. The museum has two floors divided into various exhibits. These exhibits enable visitors to experience an optical illusion and inverted vision, to try riding a square-wheeled bicycle, and try out an interactive sandbox that simulates climate change.

In addition, the museum has a pendulum surrounded by four glass walls which visitors can try breaking with varying amounts of force.As of now, the museum is closed up until April 16 due to the lockdown. However, it will resume its operation as usual when local authorities lift lockdown restrictions.

"During intense coronavirus periods, we switch to just group visits. This helps to keep our visits safe and limit coronavirus exposure. In addition, during the quarantine period, we have expanded our online offerings with a series of video workshops available on our social media accounts," Mariia Dubrova, Director of the Museum of Science tells UkraineWorld.

Anastasiia Alieksiienko
Analyst and Journalist at UkraineWorld and Internews Ukraine