Pioneer palaces and houses

Pioneer palaces and houses (palatsy i budynky pioneriv i shkoliariv). Centers of extramural education and activities for schoolchildren in Soviet Ukraine. They were under the jurisdiction of the various republican ministries of education in the USSR. The first such palace was opened in Moscow in 1923–4. In Ukraine the role of the palaces was filled by children's clubs in the 1920s, and the first Pioneer palaces were opened only in 1934–5 in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Poltava, and Donetske. Palaces existed in almost all urban centers. They operated under the supervision of the appropriate organs of public education, the Communist Youth League of Ukraine, and the Pioneer Organization of Ukraine. Their primary function was to support the school system, to inculcate communist values, and to prepare children for membership in the Pioneers and, eventually, the Komsomol. The Pioneer palaces organized classes in industrial arts, art, and physical education and sports and organized trips and tours. They hosted large concerts and celebrations, sporting meets, artistic competitions, and meetings with important or interesting citizens. Children's choirs, orchestras, dance and theater troupes, and the like were based at palaces. The largest Pioneer palace in Ukraine was in Kyiv. In 1980 there were 804 Pioneer palaces and houses in the Ukrainian SSR, 135 more than in 1959. They served a total of 573,000 children. In 1987 there were 820 palaces and houses, which served 935,000 children.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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