Natural Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Image - Natural Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Lviv (exhibit).

Natural Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Державний природознавчий музей НАНУ; Derzhavnyi pryrodoznavchyi muzei NANU). A museum and research facility of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine located in Lviv, specializing in the study of western Ukrainian flora and fauna. It was established in 1940 as the Lviv Scientific Natural Studies Museum of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR following the merger of the natural studies collections of the Dzieduszycki Museum of Prehistory, Ethnography, and Nature (established in 1870) and the Shevchenko Scientific Society Museum. In 1954 the museum became a separate division within the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR; it consisted of four departments: botany, zoology, paleontology, and exposition. In 1963–9 the museum was placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture of the Ukrainian SSR, but in 1969 it was returned to the structure of the Academy of Sciences. During the 1970s three more departments were added: biogeocenology, natural ecosystems, and scientific collections. In 1973 a new institution was organized on the basis of the museum: the Lviv section of the Institute of Botany of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. The museum changed its name multiple times, acquiring its current name and status in 1994.

The most prominent scientists associated with the museum have included Yevhen Lazarenko, Mykhailo Holubets (both academicians of the NANU), Yurii Chornobai (the museum’s director in 1987–2018), Ihor Kaprus, and Andrii Malynovsky. Between 1995 and 2012, the museum underwent capital reconstruction. In 2013–16, with the assistance from the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, the museum carried out a major project entitled ‘Natural Science Museum: From the Theory of Evolution of Life to the Practice of a Living Museum,’ which was a successful attempt to bring more public attention to the museum’s collection.

The museum holds over 400,000 items, of which approximately 9,000 are on public display. It has four research departments: biosystems and evolution; documentation of bioresources; landscape and biotic diversity; and applied museology. Founded in 1870 by Count Włodzimierz Dzieduszycki, the museum’s scientific library is one of the oldest natural science libraries in Ukraine, and as of 2020 it contains 74,809 volumes (of them 36,358 in foreign languages). Museum’s scientific collection consists of five main divisions: paleontology; geology; botany; zoology; and soil. Its permanent galleries feature exhibits on the development of the natural world, the flora and fauna of Ukraine, and the origins of man. Among the most valuable items in the museum’s collection are meteorites, amber, tropical beetles, butterflies, and paleontological materials (such as the remains of a mammoth and a woolly rhinoceros found in 1907 in the village of Starunia, in today’s Ivano-Frankivsk oblast). The museum’s herbarium contains around 100,000 pages. The museum has periodically published Naukovi zapysky DPM, (1914–24: 10 vols, 1951–62: 10 vols, 1994–), Naukovi kolektsii DPM, and Kataloh muzeinykh fondiv.

Museum’s official website:

Serhiy Bilenky

[This article was updated in 2021.]

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