In a city full of culture, artsy events and concerts, it is easy to overlook the important cultural venues – small museums
Let’s start with a definition first. Museums are like an external hard disc for humans; preserveing the most valuable and essential memories of history, culture, and science. The role of museums is to counteract forgetting and that is what you get in major museums. Small museums, on the other hand, offer a bonus – a personal touch and unique insight into local culture. A micro-history. As a bigger risk-taker than major museums, they are more able to experiment with new and challenging ideas. Small museums bring more memorable experiences and unique, quirky stories, often becoming significant cultural spots.
Nowadays, in a time of diminishing state-subsidies for the cultural sector, visiting small museums is the best way to support their work to remain real game-changers.
An 18th-century neo-baroque building houses the story of the first Kyiv private apothecary, opened by German-born pharmacist Johann Heiter. Composed of 12 exhibition halls full of pharmaceutical utensils, glass jars, books and antiques, the interior recreates the look of a two-centuries old pharmacy. With more than 3 000 exhibits, including a very old cash register and prescription book from 1834, the museum discloses not only pharmacy operation back in time but the history of a German family and community in Kyiv, once the fourth-largest ethnic minority in Ukraine. Altrough there is not an English translation in, but don’t feel discouraged to visit the museum. Once you are there, a small museum team will help you delve into the museum’s treasures.
Don’t miss the café seating in the picturesque courtyard of the museum with a beautiful view of Florovsky monastery right next door and the famous Andriivsky Church. It’s a great place to relax in the warmer months ahead.
+380 44 425 2437
Software and Computer Museum
This one-room museum connects visitors with the early beginnings of IT technology, tracing its incredibly fast development to present day. A small but stunning collection of different artifacts related to the history of computing includes hardware, game consoles, robots, photographs, and moving images. Some of the exhibits will definitely evoke a nostalgia for the good old days and gadgets you used to love. All museum items are translated into English and the friendly staff will provide an English-language tour if you register on their website.
The museum display-cases are full of history and bring something new to the IT world – the first domestic social robot, named Jibo. And it works.
+380 67 539 4050
Museum of Toys
(Klovskiy Uzviz 8)
There is no doubt that this museum offers strong emotional power for visitors and great fun for kids. With almost 20 000 items, the main accent is on Ukrainian toy production during the Soviet era. Don’t miss the collection of dolls in folklore costumes displaying the diversity and colorfulness of folk costumes.
A room where kids are free to play with old toys. It is refreshing to see today’s younger generation not with gadgets, but instead playing with old toys.
+380 44 253 5400
Museum of Useless Things
(Yevhena Malaniuka 112)
Not a museum in the real sense; more of a collection centre of old and valuable things found in the garbage. The spot is dedicated to trash, or, to people who got rid of interesting and old items. If you don’t have a problem with the potholes while driving there, or maybe get lost since there are no signs for the so-called museum, this treasure trove is worth to visit. Situated within the local recycling company – Київміськвторресурси, on the left bank of Kyiv, near one of many new construction blocks, contact through Facebook before visiting is a must.
Amongst everything else you can find copies of the first issues of the Soviet daily newspaper Pravda and old turntables and radios.
One Street Museum
(Andriivskiy Uzviz 2b)
This modestly-sized museum with a carefully curated collection recreates the story of Kyiv’s famous Andriivskiy Descent. With more than 10 000 artifacts, the museum reiterates the importance of the street and its inhabitants for the city throughout different historical epochs.
Using its artifacts and local stories, the museum solidly presents the almost forgotten romantic and bohemian soul of the street and the city itself. One of the display cases tells the story of the famous inhabitant of number 13.
An apt reminder to check that address and visit the museum of Mikhail Bulgakov. The museum provides an English-language tour and an English-written description booklet for each display case.
The museum holds an extensive and authentic collection of death masks of prominent historical figures such as Leon Trotsky, Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, and many more. Don’t miss the exhibition of death masks when it taken place.
+380 44 425 03 98
Museum of Toilets
“In every museum there is a little bit of you” – a saying that perfectly fits the narrative of a museum dedicated to toilets. Set in the premises of an old Kyiv fortress, today Business Center Tower 5, this unique museum has a great collection of toilets, water closets, and toilet bowls from different countries and epochs. The exhibited collection of historical evidence, models, replicas, and photographs portray in a fascinating way the progression of hygiene of mankind through such a simple device. The biggest attraction for youngsters is no doubt the world’s largest collection of souvenir toilet bowls, which brought the museum a Guinness World Record.
With an English description of every item and an English-language guided tour, there are no excuses for not visiting this Kyiv tourist attraction.
A short video in the small theatre within the museum showing interesting details about toilets, including the healthiest way of doing your “business”.
+380 44 499 3161