Monday, April 14, 2008

The Ukrainian Museum, New York

Since I missed the field trip on Monday, April 14, I decided that it was important to gain the hands-on Ukrainian experience that all of you, my peers, have been exposed to. Since I am spending the summer in New York, I figured that the best way to gain this knowledge is to find a museum there. Through much research, I found The Ukrainian Museum located in New York City.

The museum has many exhibits, and I will discuss the three most recent. The first one was just completed on April 6. It was called Ukrainian Museum at 30- Paintings and Sculptures. The aim of this exhibit was to highlight the museum’s collections that have been displayed over the past 30 years. Many of the artists whose work was shown in this display loved and worked in the Diaspora in various parts of the world for the majority of their adult lives, after being forced to leave Ukraine. Their work is very interesting as their work’s roots are clearly a reflection of their Ukrainian heritage.

Another recent exhibit is called Thread to the Past: Ukrainian Folk Art from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. Apparently, a collection of folk art objects, including the ones in the picture I attached, were bought for display at the Chicago World’s Fair by the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America. These items are now on display at the Museum in New York. I was surprised to learn that more than 100 of the 600 items that were purchased by the UNWLA for display in Chicago and these were viewed by almost 2 million visitors to the Ukrainian pavilion.
The last recent display is called The Pysanka and the Rushnyk: Guardians of Life. I was so excited to see the word “Pysanka” as I was already familiar with this term from Steve Taylor’s post! The exhibit presents over 200 of the unique eggs along with a selection of ritual cloths, created by noted Ukrainian artists.

Many Ukrainian artists, such as Alexander Archipenko, Vasyl Hryhorovych Krychevsky, and Oleksa Hryshchenko, contributed to the museum’s incredible displays. The museum offers education programs, such as guided tours, workshops, family programs, and school programs. They also offer classes in embroidery, bead stringing, Ukrainian Christmas traditions, pysanky workshops, and more. I was also excited to learn that they offer a baking traditional wedding breads workshop, as I was inclined to learn more about this topic because of Deborah’s post on the korovai.

The museum sports a news link, where you can learn what’s going on at the museum if you’re interested in visiting. The link is The website that I gained my information on this topic and the following picture is from If you have any questions or will be in New York this summer and wish to come visit the museum, let me know! Also, there is a gift shop on the website where you can purchase Ukrainian media, gifts, jewelry, pysanky, and plenty more. Enjoy!


Laura said...

I'm so excited that someone blogged about this museum- I interned in New York last summer and had every intention of visiting, but never did! The museum was founded in 1976 by the Ukrainian National Women's League of America, Inc. (UNWLA), and its purpose is to preserve, interpret and present the rich cultural heritage of the Ukrainian people. I don't know if there's a large Ukrainian population in the area, but I'd be interested to see if there are authentic restaurants or other attractions of interest to visit.
I looked at the website and found a neat exhibition:
One of the most popular exhibitions "The Lost Architecture of Kiev" (1984) depicted in large blown-up photographs, the ancient city's architectural landmarks, mainly churches, which were destroyed by the Soviet government in the 1930s. This exhibition was viewed by audiences in various major cities in the United States and Canada. Another popular exhibition "To Preserve a Heritage: The Story of the Ukrainian Immigration in the United States," reveals, in photographs, the life of the Ukrainian immigrant community in the United States during the past one hundred years. After many tours throughout the country, this exhibitions is currently traveling in Ukraine.

mpokora said...

Wow, This is great! I actually road-tripped to NYC two years ago with some other Ukrainian students at UofM. We took part in reviving the Ukrainian College Students organization which once (and now is again) thriving in America.
We had a few hours to kill so we walked down 'Taras Shevchenko' Avenue (actual street in Manhatten) to the Museum, paid the entrance donation, and were totally blown away by the size and architecture of the interior. I wasn't expecting too much, so when it took us a few hours to look around, we were totally impressed. Some of the artifacts, clothing, and photos in the museum are well over 100 years old, and show every time period in Ukrainian History.
The main floor is almost all photographs and traditional costumes, while the 2nd floor is a rotating exhibit which changes from season to season.
In March 2006, they had a wonderful photo exhibit on Chernobyl and the effected surrounding villages and people. There were thousands of photos all over the walls, which showed the changes in the area and people over the last 20 years.
The museum is located in East village, where many Ukrainians still live (there is a Ukrainian church and Saturday School just down the block). I recommend visiting some of the great local Ukrainian Bars such as 'Veselka' (rainbow) in the area as well.

Harrison Liss said...

I actually lived in the East Village two summers ago where I was surrounded by Ukrainian culture. I lived just three blocks from Shevkchenko ave, and my apartment was next to a Ukranian Church. I am glad that someone chose to focus on Ukrainian culture in New York because it is so interesting and vibrant. For anyone who is going to visit New York City anytime soon I strongly reccomend exploring the Ukrainian scene and walk around the East Village it you can, you are sure to hear some Ukrainian being spoken there.