The Ukrainian Museum of Canada, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is headquarters to a network of museums across Canada that promote Ukrainian cultural life, with a particular focus on the experiences of Canadian Ukrainians.
The Museum was established by the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada in 1936, with the aim of promoting Ukrainian arts, culture, and heritage. The vision of the women who founded the museum was bold, since Ukrainian culture was not well understood or respected by most Canadians at the time, and in Soviet Ukraine, following Stalin’s rise to power, Ukrainian culture and language were being violently suppressed.
For several decades, the museum was housed in the Mohyla Ukrainian Institute, but in 1980 funds were raised for a new, purpose-built museum architecture. The building, in which the museum is still housed, is a contemporary stylized version of an early Ukrainian settler home, which was typically a clay-plastered log house with a thatched or shingled roof.
The museum – made of bricks, not logs and clay – contains three main floor galleries, a gift shop, library, meeting room, and multi-purpose room for community use, along with offices, collections storage, a prep room, and more.
The Ukrainian Museum of Canada has one of the largest ethnic textile collections in North America, including regional folk costumes, kylym (tapstries), and vyshyvka (embroidery). It is home to a suite of 12 paintings, the Ukrainian Pioneer Women series, by the well-known artist William Kereluk.
The museum also collects and preserves ancient maps, rare books, audio recordings, community archives and photographs, musical instruments, folk art, and fine art. The temporary gallery exhibits work by Canadian and international Ukrainian artists.
Throughout its history, the Ukrainian Museum of Canada has been active in writing and publishing books on Ukrainian arts and culture, including works on pysanky-writing, Ukrainian embroidery, and weaving.
Notable books and catalogues published by the museum include Ukrainian Embroidery Designs and Stitches (Nancy Ruryk, ed., 1957); Psyanka: Icon of the Universe (Marie Kishchuk, Alice Nicholaichuk, and Mary Tkachuk, 1977); and Ukrainian Pioneer Women (Vera Nokony, 1991).