Open for Renovations Program Promotes Eastern Ukraine Culture
The Open for Renovations program aims to help reconnect the population of Ukraine's eastern regions with its cultural heritage. The program, funded by USAID, enables seven museums in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions to make their exhibits more attractive
“The unique thing is this pocket right here. It was worn under the apron,” she said, demonstrating, “This is the prototype of a woman’s handbag. Women put their money, small keys, candy, and nuts into this bag to then treat kids with them.”
The next piece was made by a known local tailor.
“The male tailor was Vasyl Mal’tsev, who was making clothes for all the residents of the Raihorodka area. He sewed everything: from outerwear to shoes. He sewed 20 buttons on this floral embroidery. Initially, they were painted blue. Just imagine, blue embroidery and blue buttons – how beautiful and stylish it was!” Sorokina said.
Three-and-a-half dozen costumes displayed were collected in surrounding towns and villages over the past 20 years.
“There are descendants of Zaporizhzhya Cossacks, and Don Cossacks here, as well as descendants of those from Russian governorates: Oryol, Kursk, Belgorod. And the Ukrainian ones from Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Poltava regions. This ethnic diversity led to the diversity of the population that lived in this region. And people brought with them their customs and them costumes.” Director of Novoaidar local history museum Anna Bozhkova said.
The presentation of exhibits was improved owing to extra funding as part of the USAID program supporting museums in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Novoaidar museum spent the extra 100,000 hryvnias (about $3,800) on renovations, a new podium, and tablets.
“Since the greatest treasure of our museum is the costumes, our project focused specifically on clothes. We called it The Preservation of Novoaidar Region Costumes for our Descendants,” Bozhkova said.
Museum visitors have included people from around Novoaidar, tourists from around Ukraine, and foreigners alike.
“All the costumes are wonderful. I’m probably more interested in what’s behind my back. These are the costumes from Lemkivshchyna area. Because there is a special story about it. I’m from Lviv. And there is a connection here, because, after the Second World War, the Soviet government organized a forced relocation of the Lemkos ethnic group. They were forced to move to Luhansk region,” Museum attendant Viktoriya Amelina said.
“In this museum, most of all I like this outfit. Because this is the outfit of my countrymen. This is what they used to wear in my native village of Hrechishkine. I still remember that women wore clothes like this.” Novoaidar resident Viktor Matushkin said.
The management plans to expand the premises to make room for yet more costumes in the future.