As temperatures drop, World Monuments Fund (WMF) and Cultural Emergency Response (CER), with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, have partnered to support the winterization of several historical sites in Ukraine.
Having been damaged by Russian artillery during the war, these buildings are now at additional risk from ice and snow. We are taking urgent preventative measures to protect the exposed interiors and structures from further damage, degradation, and potential collapse. Making sure cultural heritage survives the winter is an ongoing and crucial effort for future interventions in stabilizing and restoring cultural heritage in Ukraine. Together we are supporting institutions in Kyiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv:
Over a century old, this regional museum in northeastern Ukraine suffered a major blow when Russian bombs hit Okhtyrka’s historic center in March of 2022. The blast severely damaged the roof, blew out the building’s windows, and affected the exhibits inside. To safeguard the museum from further damage due to winter weather, WMF and CER have signed a memorandum of understanding with the museum and are partnering with a local NGO that will implement the project to protect this important heritage site.
Housed in a striking Gothic Revival Building, Chernihiv’s Museum of Antiquities possessed a rich collection of artifacts thanks to the work of founder Vasyl Tarnovsky. Prior to the Russian Revolution, it was the only museum devoted to Ukrainian culture in the Russian Empire. Though the collection was moved when the building was converted into a regional library in 1978, the site retained both its splendid ornamentation and its reputation for historic richness.
In March of 2022, Russian shelling resulted in the collapse of part of the building’s roof and walls. Experts have already conducted comprehensive onsite surveys in preparation for the installation of a fence, the removal of debris, and the filling in of the crater left by the bombing. WMF and CER are supporting the winterization of the site, including shielding the partly ruined building from further damage and medium-term stabilization.
Originally comprising the private collection of philanthropists Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko, this Kyiv museum is one of Ukraine’s most important artistic institutions, featuring works from across the globe. The nineteenth-century buildings in which the collection is housed are also of great architectural value.
The Khanenko Museum was among a number of important cultural institutions that suffered damage during a missile attack on the Ukrainian capital in October of 2022. WMF and CER will support emergency actions to protect the museum, including its damaged metal roof tiles and roof lanterns, among other activities.
*Text and photos provided by World Monuments Fund
We are grateful for the collaboration and contributions to our work in Ukraine from the Whiting Foundation, the JM Kaplan Fund, the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, the Smithsonian Institution – Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI), the Cultural Protection Fund of the British Council, TEFAF, the Teiger Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.