Filed Under Museums

Ukrainian Museum-Archives

While much of Tremont's Ukrainian population moved to the suburbs in the decades following World War II, the Ukrainian-Museum Archives remains a presence—drawing international recognition for its extensive collections. The museum started in 1952 when Leonid Bachynsky, a scholar-turned-machinist who left Ukraine to escape Communism after World War II, began collecting materials relating to Ukrainian immigration to America. He was later joined by Alexander Fedynsky, another post-World War II Ukrainian immigrant, and the museum's collection continued to grow. It now contains more than 20,000 books, thousands of newspapers and sound recordings, as well as documents, photographs, artwork, clothing, pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs), and other artifacts relating to Ukrainian culture. The facility is one of the largest Ukrainian archives in North America.

The museum officially opened to the public in 1977. The 3-story house across from Lincoln Park was once a convent for Ukrainian nuns and later served as home to a Ukrainian Boy Scouts organization. Alexander Fedynsky's son Andrew became the museum's director in 1986 and, with the help of volunteers, began organizing its collections and rehabilitating the old house. Today, the museum continues to grow. An annex recently opened behind the main building—providing additional archival space and a gallery for special exhibitions. The museum regularly hosts educational events and has collaborated with other institutions in Ohio and throughout the world to further the study of Ukrainian culture and history.

Images

Ukrainian Museum-Archives This house at 1202 Kenilworth Avenue, built around the turn of the 20th century, was a convent for Ukrainian nuns and then home to a Ukrainian Boy Scouts organization before becoming the Ukrainian Museum-Archives. The building has undergone extensive modernization in recent years to provide a safe and secure environment for the museum's collections.
Pysanky The Ukrainian Museum-Archives has an extensive collection of pysanky, which are Ukrainian painted Easter eggs. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Special Collections
Taras Shevchenko This fiberglass copy of a bust of Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine's national poet, stands in the Ukrainian Cultural Garden on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The original, which had gone missing for a number of years, was eventually recovered and now is located at the entrance of the Ukrainian Museum-Archive's new annex. The museum boasts one of the world's largest collections of materials relating to Shevchenko's life, including thousands of books, periodicals, and pieces of commemorative memorabilia. Image courtesy of the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
Ukrainian National Home Ukrainians began arriving in Cleveland in the 1880s and made Tremont their primary settlement. In the decades following World War II, many Ukrainians living in Tremont moved to Parma or other suburbs west of Cleveland, and the community's old meeting places found new uses. The Ukrainian National Home (shown here) on West 14th Street near Fairfield Avenue was a key gathering place for the community. It closed in the 1960s (eventually reopening as a Puerto Rican social hall). It is now being renovated by current owner Grace Hospital. Other Ukrainian landmarks in Tremont include the Ukrainian Labor Temple (located at West 11th Street and Auburn Avenue and now an art studio), a community center for the more secular Ukrainians who adhered to progressive politics, and Sts. Peter and Paul Church at 2280 West 7th Street, constructed in 1910. This church is still in operation today. Image courtesy of the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
Parade, 1939 Ukrainians in Cleveland held a parade in 1939 on the day the Ukrainian Cultural Garden opened. Many marchers dressed in traditional (or folk) apparel to honor their heritage. The Ukrainian Museum-Archives has a large collection of folk clothing. The museum also has an exhibit on Ukrainian immigration to Cleveland on its second floor, featuring pictures, documents, and artifacts that tell the story of Cleveland's Ukrainian community. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University library Special Collections
Free Ukraine, 1981 Young men hand out flyers in Downtown Cleveland in 1981, raising awareness of Ukrainian demands for independence from the Soviet Union. One of the major impetuses for the creation of the Ukrainian Museum-Archives in 1952 was the need to protect Ukrainian cultural and historical artifacts, many of which were being deliberately destroyed by the Soviet regime which took power there after World War II. A number of Ukrainian immigrants escaping Communism (including the two founders of the museum) arrived in Cleveland following the war and became vocal supporters of Ukrainian independence. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library Special Collections

Location

1202 Kenilworth Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113

Metadata

Michael Rotman, “Ukrainian Museum-Archives,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 30, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/313.