The idea to create a museum dedicated to history of Great Patriotic War in Kiev arose for the first time in 1943, when warfare still were going on in Ukraine. This project was finally realized only in 1970’s because of great losses during the war and top-priority of rebuilding projects. The city was lying in ruins, so there was no time or resources for the museum. On the 17th of October of 1974 on the 30th anniversary of liberation from fascists in Klovsky palace was opened the first museum of Great Patriotic War. It became very popular and it was quite obvious that much more space will be needed to house all the artifacts and precious showpieces. At the same time it was decided that the museum needed bigger building and another concept to it, as the theme was great and a lot of people from all over Ukraine were anxious to visit it.
So on the 9th of May (which is the Victory day) of 1981 memorial complex was opened on Dnieper hills. Huge complex is situated on 10 ha area.
It consists of the museum and monument of Motherland, main square and the alley of hero-cities, monument “Forcing of Dnieper” and “Arms transfer”, composition “Heroes of front and base”, bowl “The Flame of Glory”, exposition of warfare and arms of 1940’s. In a separate building there is an exposition “Tragedy and bravery of Afghanistan” and “On foreign wars”. Also visitors are able to look over transport plane Li-2, helicopter Mi-24V and jet-fighter Flogger (Mig-23).
Collection of the museum is one of the largest in Ukraine and new items are constantly added. Currently collection of The National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War consists of more than 300 000 items.
Present-day exposition is created in 1994-95 and is based on a story of WW2 on Ukrainian territories and contribution of Ukrainian people to the Victory over fascism. Exposition shows in a chronological order history of the war and life of Ukrainian people at the front and also of civilians. One of the main attractions of the memorial is monument of Motherland. The height of it from the pedestal to the end of the sword is 62 meters, overall height is 102 meters and weight is around 500 tons. This monument is the biggest in Ukraine and one of the largest in the world.
The National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War is not only a museum, but it is also scientific, research, cultural and educative center. It was visited by more than 24 million guests from almost 200 countries of the world.
This museum is unique, because all of museums in the world that are dedicated to WW2 pay attention to the warfare – they expose maps, schemes, models, examples of equipment, photos of commanders, but none of them focus on a life of people and stories of individuals during the war. The main feature of Ukrainian memorial is that a war life is shown from the point of view of common man, let it be worker, or soldier. Workers of the museum think that the way to tell about this great war is to speak on behalf of ordinary person, who lived through this tragedy and won the victory. The point of view of common people can be seen through large collection of letters (most of them are from 1941), personal diaries and memoires.
Visitors of the museum enjoy exploring city from the viewing point of Motherland monument. Guides show what the main damage to the city was and tell about enthusiasts, who were renewing it after its great losses.
The next important date for the museum workers is 65th anniversary of Victory. To commemorate this date they have started creating new expositions and arrangements.
Working hours of the museum are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.. Museum doesn’t work on Monday. The address is Ivan Mazepa street 33.
By Kateryna Martynenko