The Ukrainian Museum Archives was founded in 1952 as a non-profit institution with a mission to collect and preserve artifacts of importance to Ukrainian history and culture. This was an era when these types of items were being deliberately destroyed in Soviet Ukraine. Over the decades, the UMA has acquired an impressive collection of rare and valuable material. Located in Cleveland’s historic Tremont neighborhood, the UMA is now building on the foundation established by the founders of the institution to make the wealth of archival and artistic materials available to a broad sector of scholars and the general public.
It is difficult to quantify the diversity of artifacts that are found in the UMA’s general collection. These holdings include, but are not limited to, the following: postage stamps and currency, commemorative buttons and pins, programs and fliers, posters from the early-20th c. to the present day, sheet music – including first editions of Mykola Lysenko’s compositions, historic passports and other documents, letters and manuscripts, photographs, sound recordings, and more than 300 videotapes in what is a complete collection of the US Information Agency’s “Window on America” television program that is beamed by satellite into Ukraine.
BOOKS & PERIODICALS
Perhaps the most valuable section of the UMA is our book and periodical collection on every imaginable topic form Ukraine’s pre-history to last week’s headlines. Our library of more than 20,000 volumes includes rare books from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection includes: books from the early- and mid-19th century period of modern Ukrainian literature, books from the early-20th c. revolutionary period in Ukraine, books and periodicals from the post-World War II Displaced Persons camps, historic publications from Ukraine representing the period between the World Wars, and publications printed by the Ukrainian Diaspora from all corners of the globe, including cities such as Prague, Istanbul, Shanghai, Vienna, Paris, Winnipeg, Berlin, Budapest, and Buenos Aires.
There are many diverse artifacts found in the UMA collection that relate to the life and work of Ukraine’s national poet, Taras Shevchenko.
The Museum’s holdings include thousands of books, periodicals, posters, pins, buttons, portraits, postage stamps, banners, fliers, programs, artwork and other memorabilia commemorating the life of this genius. The size and scope of this collection makes it one of the richest of its kind in North America.
Among the rarities are miniature Kobzars published in Geneva in the 1870s-1880s to be smuggled into Ukraine during the era when the literary work of Shevchenko had been banned in the Russian Empire. A dramatic bust of Shevchenko by Alexander Archipenko graces the entrance of the UMA’s newly built library and archival storage facility. An original copy of Osnova from March 1861 describes Shevchenko’s last days and funeral. The UMA collection of Shevchenkiana includes many surprises documenting the intense life of this poetic genius and illustrates the unique place he holds in Ukrainian culture.
The UMA also features an impressive and eclectic collection of Ukrainian art, including, but not limited to, the following: Easter eggs-“pysanky”, embroidery, woven textiles, traditional apparel (folk costume) and related accessories, woodcarving, and ceramics, as well as works of fine art by world-renowned Ukrainian artists such as Alexander Archipenko, the Krychevsky Family, Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak, and Jacques Hnizdovsky, Mykhailo Chereshnovsky to name a few.