History of the Museum

The National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945
Memorial complex «The National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945»

In June 1943, in the middle of the battle for liberation of Ukraine, the Republic's government made a decision to create a museum of the Great Patriotic War of the Ukrainian people. However, other priority issues, like reconstruction and development of the economy, postponed the implementation of this decision till 70s of the previous century.

The Republican exhibition named The Guerillas of Ukraine in Their Fight against Fascist German Invaders, opened in 1946, is considered to be one of the main predecessors of the modern museum. At the time of opening, the collection included 13 thousand exhibits. After closure of the exhibition in 1950, its materials were transferred to the exhibits’ depository of the State Historic Museum; in 1970 it hosted a task force with the mission of founding a museum of the war history.

Klovsky Palace, where The Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 was located in 1974-1981
Klovsky Palace, where The Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 was located in 1974-1981

The Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 was established in commemoration of 30th anniversary of Ukraine's liberation from the Nazi invaders on Pechersk hills in the former Klovsky Palace on 17 October 1974. It immediately drew attention of the public and numerous visitors. It became obvious that scale of the topic and rich collection demand different scientific concept and special premises. The work started to establish Memorial complex named The Ukrainian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, which was finally opened on 9 May 1981.

Construction work performed on the main square of the Memorial
Construction work performed on the main square of the Memorial

The museum is the biggest in Ukraine in terms of its size and importance. Its collection, which is permanently replenished, includes more than 300 thousand exhibits. This enables to refresh the main exposition and permanent relic expositions named Tragedy and Valor of Afghanistan and Wars on Foreign Soil, as well as to create numerous annual exhibitions. Nowadays, the Memorial is a leading research, scientific, methodological, cultural and educational center of military history of Ukraine. Over 24 million visitors from almost 200 countries have familiarized themselves with its expositions.

Taking into account the importance of the Memorial Complex as a unique memory sight of the national culture, as well as to preserve its historic and cultural values, the museum was granted National status by a decree of the President of Ukraine dated 21 June 1996. Since then, the museum bears the name of the Memorial complex «The National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945».

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