Kiev Museum Walking Tour (Self Guided), Kiev

Being the capital of Ukraine, Kiev is the city where all the Ukrainian culture and history is concentrated in museums. There are about 60 museums. Some of them are internationally renowned due to their exceptional collections of unique objects, history and their special atmosphere. They reflect Ukrainian mood and evolution in all its beauty and particularities.
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Kiev Museum Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Kiev Museum Walking Tour
Guide Location: Ukraine » Kiev (See other walking tours in Kiev)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.0 Km or 3.7 Miles
Author: Cathy
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Museum of Hetmanship
  • Chernobyl Museum
  • One Street Museum
  • Literature-Memorial Museum to Mikhail Bulgakov
  • The National Museum of Ukrainian History
  • Ukrainian House
  • National Museum Of Art
  • Taras Shevchenko Museum
  • Kiev Museum of Western and Oriental Art
Museum of Hetmanship

1) Museum of Hetmanship

The Museum of Hetmanship (or Hetmanstvo) was inaugurated on March 11th, 1993 by the Representative of Ukrainian President in Kiev. The museum is the result of an assiduous effort by the “Ivan Mazepa” Foundation aimed at revealing the previously “hidden” chapters of the Ukrainian history. Each of Ukraine's three main hetmans (governors) have separate expositions, highlighting their lives and deeds in substantial detail. Over 6,000 exhibits have been gathered to tell the story of Ivan Mazepa (1689 -1709), Paul Skoropadsky (1917 -1918) and Phylyp Orlik (April – December 1918), all of whom were previously denounced as “traitors of the Ukrainian people” for their nationalistic views and attempts to revolt against the authority of Moscow.

The most complete collection is the one dedicated to Paul Skoropadsky. It features documents, pictures and personal items, most of which were donated by Skoropadasky’s daughter. The collection dedicated to Ivan Mazepa is made up of large paintings, engravings, pictures of the churches built under the hetman's rule all over Ukraine, as well as Mazepa’s personal weapons. The permanent exhibit of Bogdan Khmelnitsky shows him as a complex political figure with nationalistic views.

The Museum of Hetmanship is a historic treasure in its own right. The building was constructed in the 17th century and is known as “the house of Ivan Mazepa”, even though Mazepa himself never lived there. The building survived the fire of 1811 and remains one of the oldest edifices in the city.

Operation hours: Saturday - Thursday: 10 am - 5 pm
Chernobyl Museum

2) Chernobyl Museum (must see)

The Chernobyl Museum in Kiev chronicles the disaster at Chernobyl nuclear power plant that happened in 1986. Presented in two halls, the collection describes the explosion of the nuclear reactor and its consequences. As you climb upstairs to the main hall, you will see road signs along the staircase, indicating the locations affected by the explosion and exposed to radiation. Inside the hall there are pictures of the firemen and members of the rapid response units who were the first on the scene and died shortly after the accident. A large panel, portraying the children-victims of the disaster, is placed on the wall alongside other photographs showing Chernobyl before, during and after the tragedy. Also, there are masks and equipment used in the liquidation of the accident. Personal effects of the people, who lived near Chernobyl, and related documents complete the collection.

Heading down the stairs, you can also see road signs with the names of towns and villages crossed by a red line; these indicate the residential areas abandoned for good, following the accident.

In addition to documents, there is also an artistic display, featuring paintings, the leitmotif of which is mostly religious, filled with hope for the better future for the people of the affected areas.

Operation hours: Monday – Saturday: 10 аm – 6 pm
One Street Museum

3) One Street Museum (must see)

Located on the famous Andreevsky Spusk (Andriyivsky [Andrew’s] Descent), the One Street Museum is a small museum dedicated to the history of one street - Andriyivsky Descent - from its early days to the present, making it one of the kind institution in Europe. The museum was inaugurated in 1991 by a non-governmental, non-profit organisation - Artistic Society "Master" - whose main goal is to preserve the Ukrainian cultural heritage.

The museum houses over 7,000 artefacts telling the story of the landmark buildings on Andriyivsky Descent, including St. Andrew's Church, the Castle of Richard the Lion's Head and others. Some of the items on display illustrate day-to-day life of the Descent back in the 1930s, 1940s and 1960s. Other items, - postcards, newspapers, photos, umbrellas, autographs, manuscripts and historical documents, - recreate the atmosphere of the times long gone. The collection also features numerous books, signed by local authors, some of which are true rarities and unique copies. Special highlight is given to Mikhail Bulgakov, renowned Russian author and resident of Andreevsky Spusk in the early 1900s, whose literary works are widely presented at the museum.

The displayed objects seem to turn back time and recreate the atmosphere of the days in which generation of our grandparents and parents lived.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 12 pm - 6 pm
Literature-Memorial Museum to Mikhail Bulgakov

4) Literature-Memorial Museum to Mikhail Bulgakov

The Mikhail Bulgakov Museum in Kiev is a bit of a blend between fiction and reality. Dedicated to Mikhail Bulgakov’s life and literary work, the museum was first opened in 1989, as a department of the History Museum, and then transformed into a separate entity, in which capacity it was unveiled to the public on May 15th 1991, on the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth.

The museum is located at the famous Andrew’s Descent, no. 13, the house in which Bulgakov was born and spent much of his life. The museum features two sections: the one representing the house itself, just as it was before the restoration, containing some of the original items; and the other one, hosting the collection of Bulgakov's exhibits. In fact, the museum depicts the life of two families at the same time - the real Bulgakovs, who once lived in the house, and the Turbins, the fictitious characters of Bulgakov’s “The White Guard” novel, also set in the same house. The imaginary and real worlds overlap here, complementing each other, just like a perfect dream. There are in total some 2,500 exhibits in the collection, including 500 belonging to the Bulgakov family. Many of them have been donated by the writer's relatives and the people who knew him personally.

Operation hours: Monday: 12 pm - 5 pm; Tuesday, Thursday - Sunday: 10 am - 6 pm
The National Museum of Ukrainian History

5) The National Museum of Ukrainian History (must see)

Due to the large number of exhibits, incredibly vast time-span covered and uniqueness of collections displayed, the National Museum of Ukrainian History is rightfully considered to be one of Kiev’s most prominent tourist sites. Founded in 1904, the museum initially comprised mainly archaeological findings from private collections. In 1909, it started to receive governmental support and in 1935 the collections were moved to the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra for a better display. During World War II, the museum was evacuated to Ufa, the Far Eastern part of Russia. By 1944, it had returned to Kiev and remained in its current location ever since.

The collection traces the history of Ukraine from the first Trypillya settlements (dating approximately to 7000 B.C), to the Greek period, followed by Kievan Rus, the Cossack period and, finally, the Soviet era (presented somewhat differently to what it used to be under the Soviet Union). The newer exhibits, featuring Ukraine's strive for independence and the recent Orange Revolution, are also on display. Particular mention deserve collections of rare coins, weaponry, books and documents, as well as archaeological relics and ethnographic items, including rare glass and porcelain objects. A special highlight is given to Serge Lifar, famous Ukrainian dancer, who is nicknamed locally “the god of dance.”

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 10 am - 6 pm; Saturday - Sunday: 11 am - 7pm.
Ukrainian House

6) Ukrainian House

The Ukrainian House is a facility built in 1982 to accommodate the museum of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet state. The collection, featuring the life and deeds of Lenin, remained in the building until the museum was shut down in 1991, immediately after Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union, and the space was converted to an exhibition centre.

Today, the Ukrainian House hosts different exhibitions, fairs, trade shows and conferences. The outdoor platform is suitable for open air events, while the inner halls provide necessary amenities for various sorts of indoor gatherings.

The Ukrainian House also provides professional sound and video equipment, parking space, qualified personnel, on-site bar, restaurant and café. They offer secretarial services, transport and hotel booking services.

Apart from major industrial shows, such as Textiles, Building & Construction, Cosmetics, and Gas & Petroleum, that are often held here, the space is used for various public events, gatherings and manifestations.
National Museum Of Art

7) National Museum Of Art

The National Museum of Art traces the history of Ukrainian art from its origins to the present day. The collection comprises over 20 thousand art objects. The building was constructed in 1898, to a design by Vladislav Gorodetsky, and was initially meant to host exhibits gathered by antique lovers and patrons of art. First known as the Kiev City Museum of Antiques and Art, the museum featured works by the likes of Taras Shevchenko, Vladimir Borovikovsky, Nikolai Ge, Mykola Pimonenko, Vasily Andreevich Tropinin and Mikhail Vrubel, to name but a few. Some of the Cossack painters were featured here as well.

After World War I, the museum embraced historical collections and its name changed to the Museum of History. That name lasted until after World War II, when the museum regained both its original name and function. During the Soviet era, some of the exhibits, forming the core of the museum's art collections, were lost or damaged or retained in a repository and never displayed. After the Ukrainian independence of 1991, some of the old paintings have been put back on display along with the new ones, recently acquired, created by contemporary artists. The new artists, exhibited at the museum currently, include David Burliuk, Victor Palmov, Kliment Red'ko Solomon Nikritin, Vadim Meller, Aleksandra Ekster, Maria Sinyakova, Mikhail Boichuk and Mykola Pymonenko. In a bid to promote Ukrainian art internationally, the museum often lends its collections to other countries.

Operation hours: Wednesday - Thursday, Sunday: 10 am - 6 pm; Friday: 12 pm - 8 pm; Saturday: 11 am - 7 pm
Taras Shevchenko Museum

8) Taras Shevchenko Museum

The Taras Shevchenko Museum in Kiev is devoted exclusively to the life and work of one of Ukraine's main cultural figures, Taras (Grigorievich) Shevchenko, renowned bard and artist. The museum is found on the street with the same name, and contains about 4,000 exhibits, each of which has its own story and particular charm. Visitors can see the tools (writing utensils and painting accessories) used by Shevchenko, original paintings, sketches, pictures of the poet, his friends and family, as well as manuscripts, original books and autographs.

The items are displayed in a chronological order and arranged into three sections, namely: the Fate, the Muse, and the Glory. The Fate section contains personal belongings of the poet from his early years. Among them particularly interesting is the log of births with the poet’s entry in it and the portrait by Karl Brullov. The Muse section features graphic and literary heritage of Taras Shevchenko, whereas the Glory commemorates him as a great national poet (Ukrainian: kobzar) and painter.

The museum is housed in the building in which Shevchenko lived and worked, while in Kiev, during the 1840s. The building was renovated by the local authorities to resemble the original look of the mid 19th century. The collection was first opened to the public on November 10th, 1928.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10 am - 6 pm
Kiev Museum of Western and Oriental Art

9) Kiev Museum of Western and Oriental Art

The Kiev Museum of Western and Oriental Art is a trove of international culture found at 15 Tereshenkovskaya Street. It boasts a wealth of artefacts, including rare 16th century Chinese paintings and bronzes, china and glassware from various countries of the Orient and historic periods, as well as Japanese engravings, Greek and Roman sculptures, Egyptian statues and other works of art from Turkey, Persia, Spain, Italy and Flanders, gathered here under one roof. A good number of items on display once belonged to Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko. The couple garnered these during their lifetime from a number of auctions. After Bogdan Khanenko's death, the collection was donated to the Ukrainian people.

In 1919, it was made into a museum and since then, owing to the continuous private donations, has expanded to the total of 20,000 items (from the original 1,250 left by the Khanenkos). However, because of the lack of space, only 2,000 pieces can be displayed at a time. Others are held in a special storage, away from public eyes. Among the most valued artefacts are the famous “Portrait of Infanta Margaret” by Diego Velasquez and paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, Claude Joseph Vernet and Claudio Coello. Without pretence to be complete, exhaustive or representative, the collection is indeed fascinating for true art lovers.

Operation hours: Wednesday - Sunday: 10:30 am - 5:30 pm

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