In 2016 the Museum of Revolution of Dignity obtained status of the National museum. Now it has its director and staff, funds allocated from the state budget for 2017 and development strategy for the next five years. In addition, it submitted two applications for grants from the US Embassy. At the same time its team of experts participated in conferences and discussions, continued research and organized up to 40 projects and events.
The first steps to create the museum started in 2014 as activists’ initiative. In 2015 the Cabinet of Ministers issued an order on foundation of the museum as a state museum. Today the museum has nearly 2 thousand exhibits in its collection, however, it still has no premises, said Igor Poshyvaylo, executive director of the National Memorial in honor of Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred – the Museum of the Revolution of Dignity and Volodymyr Viatrovych, head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Maidan Museum as a space for reflection and dialogue
According to co-initiators of the museum, it should be “not a narrative museum offering ready answers but a space that would address complicated issues and offer its visitors to find their own answers,” explained Oleksandr Zinchenko, member of the initiative “Maidan Museum / Museum of Freedom”. “We need new forms of commemoration that would resonate not only with the vision of those who participated in those events and those who lost their loved ones there, but which could awaken interest of large public and future generations to encourage them to stand for the values for which the Heavenly Hundred gave their lives. […] The core of the idea is to avoid ready answers, clichés and stereotypes, to encourage reflection and dialogue,” elaborated Igor Poshyvailo. In search of these new forms of commemoration Ukrainian experts communicate with their foreign colleagues, for instance, from Poland. According to Oleksandr Zinchenko, one of the best examples is European Solidarity Center in Gdansk.
The museum will consist of three sections. “These are Memorial of Heroes […], Maidan museum as a classical museum that will preserve, examine and exhibit tangible and intangible heritage, and a public space, platform for discussions and implementation of the initiatives under a symbolic name “House of Freedom,” elaborated Igor Poshyvailo.
Museum urgently needs premises
Museum still has no premises and this is an urgent need. A vacant plot on Instytutska st. 3/5, close to the place where the Heavenly Hundred was killed, would be the best site for the museum. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in his speech on the third anniversary of Euromaidan promised that the museum will be situated there. “I express gratitude to the President for this political decision. […]I’m going to do my very best and encourage other people to promote this idea as well as help to find permanent premises for the period when the new building will be under construction,” said Igor Guryk, representative of families of the Heavenly Hundred, head of the Board of the foundation “Maidan of Dignity”.
Igor Poshyvailo added that this issue will be examined today by the respective Commission of Kyiv City State Administration.
Projects of the Museum
In 2016 the team participated in a number of conferences and roundtables in Ukraine and abroad, including the USA and UK. They organized 10 exhibition projects, for instance, “The Brave” (Ukr. “Vidvazhni”), and participated in Warsaw biennale “Poster Remediated”. They also launched a series of excursions in memorial places related to revolution and currently create a tourist guide-book together with Ukrainian Institute of National Memory.
In addition, the museum created six information boards about events of Maidan and installed them in key sites such as Ukrainian House, Mykhailivska square, Maidan, avenue of Heavenly Hundred Heroes and near Kyiv City State Administration. “There is short information in Ukrainian and in English, map of Maidan as of February, 2014, “vocabulary” of the Revolution of Dignity and memoirs of the activists. On the reverse side there are images of the most important artifacts related to this place,” explained Igor Poshyvailo.
The team of the museum also prepared documents to include a number of objects from public space, witnesses of those events, into the list of heritage of national importance. They also continue arranging chronology of the Revolution of Dignity and collect memoirs of the activists.