The Ukrainian Museum Archives was founded in 1952 during an era when artifacts, books, and publications about Ukraine and Ukrainians were being deliberately destroyed in Soviet Ukraine. The UMA was founded as a non-profit institution with a mission to collect and preserve artifacts of importance to Ukrainian history and culture. 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. University researchers, journalists, students, artists, and members of the public access materials in the UMA collection to learn and write about Ukrainian art and history.
In the past few years, the UMA has worked with the Fulbright Program. Oleksandr Debych, a filmmaker from Kyiv, spent 9 months digitizing and organizing photographs and movie posters in our collection. Three UMA former interns were accepted in the Fulbright Program: Alexandra Fedynsky spent a year in Brazil, Michael Fedynsky in Kyiv, and Catherine Stecyk in Ukraine.
The UMA’s general collection is comprised of a diverse collection of artifacts. These holdings include, but are not limited to
- postage stamps
- commemorative buttons and pins
- programs and fliers, posters from the early-20th century to the present day
- sheet music – including first editions of Mykola Lysenko’s compositions
- historic passports and other documents
- sound recordings
- 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 and Periodicals
Perhaps the most valuable section of the UMA is our book and periodical collection. Our holdings include volumes about every imaginable topic – from 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:
- 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
- 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.
Voice of America
The Ukrainian Museum-Archives (UMA) in Cleveland is pleased to partner with the Department of Foreign Nations Modern and Contemporary History at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and the Ukrainian Association for American Studies in publishing «Sharing America’s Story with Ukraine: The Voice of America’s Ukrainian Service, 1949-2019». This collection of research papers and essays is being released in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the Ukrainian Service of the Voice of America (VOA), the global media organization of the United States. Throughout its entire existence, it has been VOA’s mission to serve as a reliable and authoritative source of news, projecting balanced and comprehensive information about American institutions and the policies of the United States, along with responsible discussion and opinion about those policies and our way of life.
UMA’s participation in this commemoration is particularly gratifying, because in 2019 the UMA acquired a major historic collection of VOA Ukrainian Service audio and video recordings. The collection spans several decades and consists of thousands of recordings of VOA Ukrainian programming. This newly-acquired collection augments the multi-year set of video recordings of the VOA program, “Window on America” which the UMA acquired pursuant to an act of Congress in 1998. The latest treasure trove of Ukrainian-language news, information and feature stories about American life and society now entrusted to UMA constitutes a unique chronicle and record of U.S.-Ukraine relations, our deep social-cultural engagement with Ukraine and the experiences of the Ukrainian diaspora in America. For seven decades—from the dark days of the Cold War to the declaration of Ukraine’s independence to the Orange Revolution and the Euromaidan Revolution of Dignity—millions of Ukrainians have been tuning in to VOA to hear America’s message of freedom, democracy, rule of law, respect for national identity and Western security and solidarity.
The UMA looks forward to beginning the process of digitizing and cataloging the collection to preserve it for generations to come and to make it more easily accessible to scholars, researchers and the general public.
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, 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.
Ukrainian Oral History Project
One way in which the UMA works towards it’s mission to preserve and share Ukrainian culture and the immigrant experience is to capture and preserve memories, stories, and life experiences of immigrants from Ukraine.
The goal of the Oral History Project is to record, for future generations, historical testimonies offered by members of our own community. Of particular interest are testimonies involving Ukrainian-American life and the immigrant experience, recollections of growing up in Cleveland, organizations, challenges faced by newly-arrived Ukrainians, recollections of World War II, and recollections of Displaced Persons Camps.
We invite you to nominate individual(s) who would be willing and able to share their testimonies. We will do our best to collect all of the stories that we can.
To nominate an individual, please complete the Nomination Form and email the form to email@example.com (“Oral History Project” in the subject line) or mail it to the museum at:
Oral History Project
1202 Kenilworth Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44113