Lesya Ukrainka Museum in Yalta. Photo by Crimean photographer Anatoliy Kovalsky.
Lesya Ukrainka Museum in Yalta. Photo by Crimean photographer Anatoliy Kovalsky.
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Lesya Ukrainka’s Yalta house

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It has two windows – one to the east, the other to the west with double but not glued frames – a spring bed, a sofa, a large chair (and do not tear!), Two tables, a closet, chest of drawers, washbasin ” such as at the station “and a screen.

Lesya Ukrainka Museum in Yalta. Photo by Crimean photographer Anatoliy Kovalsky.
Lesya Ukrainka Museum in Yalta. Photo by Crimean photographer Anatoliy Kovalsky.

It is in this house that the Lesya Ukrainka Museum will later be located. The history of its creation will be complex and will begin in the 70s of the twentieth century, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the poet. Then an initiative group emerged, which included Kyiv fans of the poet’s work, led by Yevhen Pronyuk, chairman of the All-Ukrainian Society of Political Prisoners and Repressed, a dissident, a hero of Ukraine, as well as Yalta intellectuals, local historians, artists, including former Ukrainian women. scientist Mykola Okhrimenko, ardent supporters of the poet’s work Oleksiy Nyrko, Oleksandr Yanush, Ostap Kindrachuk and others. Together they managed to install a memorial plaque on the house where Lesya Ukrainka and her monument lived (sculptor – Halyna Kalchenko, architect – Anatoliy Ignashchenko).

Grand piano in the museum of Lesya Ukrainka. Photo by Crimean photographer Anatoliy Kovalsky.
Grand piano in the museum of Lesya Ukrainka. Photo by Crimean photographer Anatoliy Kovalsky.

At the end of the 1980s, a department of the Yalta Museum of Local Lore was opened in the building liberated from the residents of the Museum of Pre-Revolutionary Progressive Russian and Ukrainian Culture. The house was completely restored in 1990. And in 1991 the exposition “Lesya Ukrainka and Crimea” was opened in it (to the 120th anniversary of Lesya Ukrainka’s birthday). Soon, on September 10, 1993, thanks to pressure from the Yalta City Enlightenment Society, a branch of the Union of Ukrainian Women, the public’s principled position, the resistance of officials was overcome and the Yalta City Executive Committee decided to grant the Lesya Ukrainka and Crimea exhibition the status of Lesya Ukrainka Museum. Yalta State Historical and Literary Museum) .Thanks to the replenishment of the museum ‘s collection and the help of the International Renaissance Foundation, a new exposition was opened for the 10th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence – “Lomykamin”, the exhibition of which lasted until 2014. The basis of her concept was the versatility of Lesya Ukrainka’s creative personality. The lobby is a place of acquaintance with the historical and cultural context. Then there were three halls, different in style: a secular living room, typical of the resort Yalta of the XIX century; Ukrainian room, which in addition to the work of Lesya Ukrainka was about other Ukrainian writers of the XIX – early XX century, whose fate was somehow connected with the Crimea; “Antique” hall, where the spirit of the ancient Tavrida is recreated, which Lesya Ukrainka felt so vividly and intertwined in her texts,which she worked on in the Crimea.

The exhibition activity of the museum was active: in addition to its own thematic exhibitions, it has for many years implemented the project “Literary Museums visiting Yalta”, with exhibitions dedicated to Olga Kobylyanskaya, Mikhail Kotsyubynsky, writers of the 20-30s and more . Since 2005, there has been an exhibition of banduras of the Crimea and Kuban, which was conceived but not realized during the life of one of the founders of the museum of Lesya Ukrainka – Oleksiy Fedorovych Nyrko.

Photo by Crimean photographer Anatoliy Kovalsky.
Photo by Crimean photographer Anatoliy Kovalsky.

During the 20 years of its existence, the Museum has gained prestige and gained its audience. His mission was not only exhibition work. He worked closely with NGOs and educational institutions. Undoubtedly, each museum is in constant contact with schools, holding lectures, meetings, etc. However, the Lesia Ukrainka Museum in Yalta had an innovative experience. After the proclamation of Ukraine’s independence in Crimea, the shortage of Ukrainian language teachers and the lack of Ukrainian-language institutions became apparent. With pure enthusiasm, museum workers and public figures organized the Sunday School of Ukrainian Studies. Interestingly, during her stay in Yalta, Lesya Ukrainka advertised in a local newspaper with the following content: “A reader who knows 6 languages ​​is looking for a job in the city.” After that,she did find two students who, in particular, came to her to take lessons at the dacha Lishchynska. The poetess had a particularly warm relationship with the family of her student Leon Razumov. It is also known that she took care of replenishing the city reading room with Ukrainian books, for example, asked her mother to send Taras Shevchenko’s Kobzar to the librarian Stakhanov, “because people ask a lot.” Nearly a century later, the Sunday School also prompted museum staff to create the Ukrainian Book Library, which operated successfully at the museum and was replenished with rare publications through active communication with American diaspora cultural centers.

However, it was surprisingly difficult to actually implement a full-fledged educational process in a relatively small apartment. Residents of Yalta became teachers of the school on a voluntary basis, most of whom later united in the public association Club of Ukrainian Creative Intelligentsia of Yalta. The role of the school curator was taken over by the head of the museum – Svitlana Kocherha, and the most authoritative teachers were a member of the Writers’ Union of Ukraine, artist and designer Viktor Vinogradov, Honored Artist of Ukraine Nadiya Petrenko, Honored Master of Folk Art Mykola Vakulenko, local historian and bibliophile, bandura -Catholic Church, Father Nicholas and others. Among the subjects taught in Sunday school, the main ones were Ukrainian language, Ukrainian literature, history of Ukraine, music, fine arts,ethics of the Christian faith, etc. The most important result of the creation of the Sunday school of Ukrainian studies was the opening in 1994 of the first Ukrainian class in school № 4, and later long-term cooperation with the only Ukrainian school in Yalta (NGO № 15).

The museum has always relied on work with higher education institutions, including the Tavriya National University, the Crimean University of Engineering and Pedagogy, but above all the Crimean Humanities University (Yalta). Among the many joint projects are scientific conferences, seminars, museum and folklore practices at the museum. In recent years, KSU graduates have become employees and volunteers. It was the students who organized the Seven Muses Theater, which received the title of People’s Amateur Ensemble. The theater has prepared almost a dozen performances, experimenting with genres, managed to become a winner of the student theater competition “Roof” (Kiev). “Seven Muses” offered a new reading of works by Lesya Ukrainka. The most original was the production of “Fireplace Master”,which took place in the open air on the steps of the museum in the elegant musical accompaniment of the ensemble “Magic Singing”, which performed medieval chants.

Photo by Crimean photographer Anatoliy Kovalsky.
Photo by Crimean photographer Anatoliy Kovalsky.

The museum has become a business card of Ukrainian Yalta. Foreigners, schoolchildren, and state officials came here. But the main thing he had a unique aura. Today, the second floor, where the museum was located, is closed for repairs. The question of the state of emergency of the building arose a long time ago, numerous appeals, correspondence with government agencies of various levels did not work. But today it is important that not only the place but the memory disappears. Judging by the reviews on tourist sites, visitors get a rather sad impression from stories about a sick Ukrainian writer, “who has never lived here”. But I want to believe that this is not the end. And every time you come across photos of flowers that locals put to the monument for the holidays on social networks,you want to hug them and thank them for the fact that Lesya Ukrainka is not so lonely there.The Lesya Ukrainka Museum in Yalta was one of the first in Ukraine to take part in the Night at the Museum International Action. The culmination of all annual museum work for 15 years was the cultural and artistic festival “Lesina Autumn” (director – Vasily Vovkun). The range of the program has always been extremely wide – from authentic to classic to avant-garde. Thanks to the festival, Yalta saw performances by Nina Matvienko and the Constellation Aniko Contemporary Choreography Theater, a large-scale production of the Per Gyunt by the Donetsk Opera and Ballet Theater, and performances by the Lviv Theater in a Basket, paintings by Maria Pryimachenko and 21st century surrealists.

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The project was implemented with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation

Oleksandra Visych

Doctor of Philology, assistant professor of Ukrainian language and literature of the National University "Ostroh Academy"

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