Kyiv history Museum is a big exhibition structure which consists of the Kyiv History Museum & Exhibition Centre and 7 affiliates – Mikhail Bulgakov Museum, Kyiv Pushkin Museum, Mykhailo Hrushevsky Historic Memorial Museum, Ukrainian Diaspora Museum, Kyiv Occupation Museum, Sholom Aleichem Museum and the Sixties Museum.
Kyiv History Museum was established on 14, November 1978.
The first exposition of the Museum was opened on 26, May 1982 (for the 1500th-anniversary of Kyiv) in “The House of Peter I” located at Podil (6/8, Kostyantynivska St). The Museum collection at that time consisted of archaeological materials passed to the Museum by the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the UKRAINIAN SSR, ethnographic and numismatic collections, collections of icons, manuscripts, postcards, gifts from enterprises, institutions and residents of Kyiv.
For the short period of time the Museum collection increased to 36 thousand exhibits. Due to lack of the exhibition space it was possible to exhibit only 5-6% of the exhibits, so the Museum was moved to Klovskiy Palace (an architectural monument of the national value of the XVIII century at 8, Pylyp Orlyk St.). There the Museum had 18 exhibition Halls, a Conference Hall, office rooms and a space for Museum funds. However, on 11, September 2003 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine decided to donate the building of Klovskiy Palace to the Supreme Court of Ukraine. Therefore, on 10, March 2004 the Museum was closed for visitors and moved to The Ukrainian House at 2, Khreschatyk St.
On 6, June 2012, under the pressure of the public, the Kyiv City Administration gave for the use of Kyiv History Museum the building that was meant to be the shopping mall near Teatralna Metro station at 7, Bohdana Khmelnytskoho St.
The Museum now operates in 2 buildings:
- The Ukrainian House. 4th and 5th floors (total area of 4747.2 sq.m.) are used for storage of exhibits, archives stuff, three departments of the Museum and logistics.
- Kyiv History Museum & Exhibition Centre at 7, Bohdana Khmelnytskoho St. (total area of 2932 sq.m.) is used for 5 exhibition halls and administration departments.
The Museum has 3 scientific, exhibition and educational departments.
Today, the Museum collection amount more than 250 thousand exhibits of the main fund and consists of archaeological, numismatic, ethnographic collections as well as thematic complexes of the modern period. Among the exhibits that adorn current exposition – archaeological sites of the period of Kievan Rus, the symbol of city government – bas-relief of the Archangel Michael from the Town Hall, personal belongings of teachers and graduates of Pavlo Galagan College, Maria Zankovetska actress, picturesque works of Pymonenko, Murashko, Kotarbinsky, Svìtliytsky, Shyshko and many others.
The Museum continues to collect, study and promote materials about life of Kyiv and its residents.
In spite of two basic premises, the Kyiv History Museum has a great problem – lack of proper exposition space for a decent representation of the history of the capital of RUS – Kyiv.
Such problem did not exist in the Klovskiy Palace, where the Museum exposition was housed in 18 halls and had methodically correct structure. Voluntarist decision of the Government in 2004 on evicting the Museum from that historic place became a humanitarian disaster for Kyiv and its main cultural institution, from which the Museum suffers until now. The Museum cannot show the coherent historic exposition worth of city’s history due to the lack of exposition space and inappropriate for exposition of valuable exhibits conditions.
The Museum requires exposition space according to its archives funds – about 10 thousand square meters.
Guests of Kyiv with current exhibition space of the Museum do not have opportunity to see all the greatness of the history and present life of Kyiv as a European city on the border between two civilizations. Decommunisation, democratisation, national cultural movement and other challenges of modern life require rethinking of the known history of the city, hard work on reexposition and modern methods of presenting information.
Only a will decision on decent space for the Museum could become a basis for the successful implementation of modern concept and further development of the Museum.