Slovakia’s Museum of Ukrainian Culture

The Ukrainian-Slovak border is 60 miles long and lies largely in the Carpathians.  Communities near the border on both sides often reflect in their demographics the ethnic history of the area, with Ukrainians, Slovaks, and Rusyns present.  There are also more institution-based signs of this diversity; another 60 miles or so on the Slovak side of the border is the village of Svidník (Свидник/Svydnyk in Ukrainian), where the Museum of Ukrainian Culture is to be found.

I only learned of the museum when cataloguing a brief guide to it (the images above show its front and back covers, and its inside covers and neighbouring pages), which I found among the very slight and/or fragile items which are the last to be processed from the Peter Yakimiuk collection.  Here is a background to the museum, from the English summary of a 1990 publication celebrating its 35th anniversary which I found online here.

“Efforts began in the mid-19th century for an institution recording the westernmost group of Ukrainians’ national and cultural development […]  After World War II the collecting and studying of items of historical value to the Ukrainians in Eastern Slovakia became associated with the foundation of the Ukrainian National Council of Priashivshtchina […]  In February 1957 the Council of the Regional National Committee of Prešov adopted the resolution to establish the Ukrainian Ethnographic Museum in Medzilaborce.  That museum existed under hard conditions, within the first six months of its existence having to be moved into new locations as many as five times.  In 1960 the museum was moved to Krásny Brod and four years later finally moved to Svidník.” (page 185)

I came across the 1990 book in my attempts to provide a date for the guide’s catalogue record, with none given in the item itself.  WorldCat didn’t help, because the only possible match was for a Czech catalogue record that was too brief to allow me to be confident that it was definitely the same thing.  The 35th anniversary book did come to my aid, though, on page 142, at the end of a chapter about publications by the museum’s employees.

The guide was written by Ivan Chabyni︠a︡k, who was the museum’s director from 1960 to 1974.  The section about Chabyni︠a︡k’s publications doesn’t mention the guide, but I found it in the section at the end of the chapter, where promotional materials are listed.  The image here shows the entry (black text on white background) and the publication details provided in the guide itself (white text on black background).  The main match is that both give the Chabyni︠a︡k as the author and M. Siranko as the designer of the item.  The first gives the pagination as 9 pages where I have counted 11 in the iDiscover record, but that’s a difference of catalogue approach when it comes to a lack of page numbers in the publication itself.

While books pass through our hands at a fast rate when cataloguing, except when cataloguing from scratch is needed (as here), it is remarkable what one can learn as one catalogues – the museum, as I said earlier, was something I had previously been totally unaware of.  Not so the Library, thankfully!  The UL has three other books published by the museum:

Mel Bach

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