The Songs of Our Ancestors: Ukrainian Settler Heritage on the Prairies
Opening September 28, 2023

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 28, 2023, 7 PM

This exhibition is an imaginative reworking of the permanent collection of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada. Visitors can step back in time to explore the museum’s holdings in new ways.

A showcase comprised of six elements, The Songs of Our Ancestors is a multi-faceted exploration of the material culture, hopes, sorrows, and achievements of early Ukrainian settlers who shaped the cultural landscape of Canada’s prairies.

The exhibition includes:

Tools of the Prairie Pioneers
A display of the tools used by early Ukrainian settlers as they toiled to cultivate the Canadian prairies, build homes, and care for their families.

Ceramics by Peter Rupchan
An unsuccessful Ukrainian homesteader in Saskatchewan, Rupchan found solace and sustenance in pottery, building his own pottery wheel and kiln, mining and processing clay and glazes, and marketing his creations by selling them from his wagon to local communities.

Ukrainian Canadian Folk Art
A display of the vibrant and colourful paintings and sculptures of Ukrainian Canadian folk artists, including well-known figures Ann Harbuz, Dmytro Stryjek, Molly Lenhardt, and William Kurelek.

Legacy in Photographs
A heartfelt display of early 20th-century family photographs belonging to Ukrainian settlers, now in the archives of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada.

All We Carry
A collection of trunks that were once the precious possessions of the first Ukrainian settlers arriving in Canada, along with a display of the objects packed inside them, including tools, textiles, and seeds.

Echoes of Home
A soundtrack of Ukrainian and early Ukrainian Canadian folksongs, resonating with homesickness and reflecting the hardships endured by the pioneers in a foreign land – guest curated by acclaimed Ukrainian folk singer and ethnomusicologist, Olga Zaitseva-Herz (Zaitsa).

The Songs of Our Ancestors is a celebration of Ukrainian Canadian heritage in the Canadian prairies, and a new look at some of the remarkable artefacts, artworks, and photographs in our collection. It is the first of three planned re-examinations of the collection, which also includes one of North America’s largest ethnic textile collections.

The Ukrainian Museum of Canada is grateful for the Shevchenko Foundation’s support for this exhibition.