The Ukrainian Museum is the largest museum in the U.S. committed to acquiring, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting articles of artistic or historic significance to the rich cultural heritage of Ukrainians. At its founding in 1976 by the Ukrainian National Women's League of America, the Museum was hailed as one of the finest achievements of the Ukrainian American community. Today, its unparalleled array of folk art, exceptional collection of fine art, and extensive compendium of archival materials make it one of the most unique and dynamic museums in New York City, with broad appeal for diverse audiences. Each year, the Museum organizes several exhibitions, publishes accompanying bilingual catalogues, and conducts a wide range of public programming, frequently in collaboration with other museums, educational institutions, and cultural centers.
In 2005 the Museum moved into a new, state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Manhattan's vibrant East Village. The building was designed by Ukrainian American architect George Sawicki of Sawicki Tarella Architecture + Design in New York City. It was funded by scores of generous donations made principally by the Ukrainian American community.
The Museum's new home, which includes spacious galleries and facilities for public programming, allows it to mount more elaborate exhibitions, to accommodate more visitors, and to preserve and showcase its growing collections.
The Museum's holdings are grouped into three main categories:
The folk art collection, with more than 8,000 objects, is one of the most important collections outside of Ukraine. It features wedding and festive attire from various regions of Ukraine, ritual cloths (rushnyky) and kilims, and a broad selection of richly embroidered and woven textiles. This unique collection also includes ceramics, metalwork, and decorative wood-carved objects from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition, the Museum holds an impressive collection of pysanky, or Ukrainian Easter eggs.
The fine arts collection consists of some 2,000 paintings, drawings, graphic works, and sculptures by noted Ukrainian artists who worked in Ukraine, Europe, the United States, and elsewhere, primarily in the 20th century. It includes one of the most important collections of works by the well-known primitif artist Nikifor, probably the largest collection of paintings and watercolors by the artist and architect Vasyl Hryhorovych Krychevsky, and nearly all the works created in the United States by the sculptor Mykhailo Chereshnovsky. The collection also features works by Alexander Archipenko, Alexis Gritchenko, Oleksa Nowakiwsky, Ivan Trush, Jacques Hnizdovsky, Mykhailo Moroz, Luboslaw Hutsaliuk, and Edward Kozak, among many others.
The Museum's archives boast more than 30,000 items photographs, documents, the personal correspondence of noted individuals, playbills, posters, flyers, and the like, all documenting the life, history, and cultural legacy of the Ukrainian people. The history of Ukrainian immigration to the United States, which dates back to the late 1800s, is chronicled in the Museum's rich collection of archival photographs. Among the Museum's archives are an impressive collection of 17th and 18th century maps; an extensive numismatic collection that includes a 9th century silver hryvnia, 16th century coins, and Ukrainian currency from the early 20th century to the present; and a philatelic collection with items from the first quarter of the 20th century to the present.
The Museum offers a wide range of public programming throughout the year, including gallery talks, lectures, conferences, symposiums, concerts, and book presentations. Among the most popular offerings are workshops in traditional Ukrainian folk arts, such as embroidery, decorating pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs), Easter and Christmas holiday baking, and making traditional Christmas tree ornaments. For a complete list, please refer to the Folk Art Courses and Workshops brochure.
The Museum has also introduced a program of documentary and feature films (many by rising filmmakers) that expand on exhibition themes, relate to current events, or visually articulate Ukrainian culture.
Information about all the Museum's current and upcoming activities can be found in its free monthly electronic newsletter, e-news; to subscribe, please click here.
Among the major exhibitions organized by The Ukrainian Museum at the old location were the following:
"Traditional Designs in Ukrainian Textiles" (1978);
"Masterpieces in Wood: Houses of Worship in Ukraine" (1982);
"Treasures of Early Ukrainian Art: Religious Art of the 16th18th Centuries" (1989);
"Ukraine 5000-4000 BC Treasures of the Trypillian Culture" (1991);
"Borshchiv, Its Folk Art, Customs and Traditions" (1994);
"Jacques Hnizdovsky 19151985: Retrospective Exhibition" (1995);
"The Changeless Carpathians: Living Traditions of the Hutsul People" (1995);
"The Preservation of a Heritage: The Village of Uhryniv of the Sokal Region" (1997);
"Alexander Archipenko. Alexis Gritchenko: Graphic Works by Alexander Archipenko and Oil Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings by Alexis Gritchenko" (1998);
"Guardian of the Past Hryhorij Lohvyn: Architectural Monuments of Ukraine in Photographs by H.N. Lohvyn" (1999); and
"The Creative Legacy of Vasyl Hryhorovych Krychevsky" (1999).
Since moving to its new location, the Museum's major exhibitions have included:
Alexander Archipenko: Vision and Continuity (2005);
The Tree of Life, the Sun, the Goddess: Symbolic Motifs in Ukrainian Folk Art (2005);
Crossroads: Modernism in Ukraine, 19101930 (2006);
Ukrainian Sculpture and Icons: A History of their Rescue (2006);
Thread to the Past: Ukrainian Folk Art from the 1933 World's Fair (2007);
The Mapping of Ukraine: European Cartography and Maps of Early Modern Ukraine (2008);
Futurism and After: David Burliuk, 18821967 (2008);
Fine Art / Folk Art: A Dialogue (2009);
Ukraine–Sweden: At the Crossroads of History (XVIIXVIII Centuries) (2010); and
Invitation to a Wedding: Ukrainian Wedding Textiles and Traditions (2010).
These and other exhibitions are listed online.
The Museum functions as an independent entity, governed by a Board of Trustees, members of which are elected from the membership ranks and the UNWLA. A permanent charter from the Education Department of the State University of New York was granted to the Museum in 1993.
The Ukrainian Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization
The Ukrainian Museum
222 East 6th Street
New York, NY 10003