Odesa Fine Art Museum museum opens to public its scientific archive in English
The digital archive of Odesa Fine Arts Museum is now open to researchers and general public all over the world through the multimedia online platform both in Ukrainian and English.
Important documents from the history of the museum, photographs, exhibition plans and posters, articles, materials about prominent museum’s employees, multimedia materials about artists and the artistic life of Odessa through the different epochs — in total, more than 5,400 files from more than 30 museum funds have been cataloguing and digitized. 11 funds are now available online in English.
The OFAM team from the archive, scientific and educational departments worked on the project: Kyrylo Lipatov, Halyna Simchenko, Volodymyr Damaskin, Vira Fenelonova, Valeriy Korshunov, Anastasiia Yavtushenko, Olha Dzeryk, Yuliia Zharkova.
The digital multimedia archive is an important part of the museum’s work on the preservation and popularization of cultural heritage and a rich material for historical, art history and journalistic researches. As a part of the common European practice of accessibility and open collections, the digitization of the scientific archive makes special sense in Ukraine during the full-scale war and direct threats to museum collections.
«In general, the scientific archives of Ukrainian museums are closed to general public and hard to access even for researchers. We are glad to join the few Ukrainian colleagues who have changed this practice and become open not only to researchers, but also to wider audience. This is an important step for the openness and accessibility of historical research, particularly within the framework of the decolonization discourse and huge international interest to Ukrainian culture», — Kyrylo Lipatov, Head of the Scientific Department at OFAM and digital archive team lead, said.
Here are some highlights presented on digital archive platform among others: a collection of glass photo negatives of 1910-1950s documenting exhibition projects of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum and which can be considered a unique photographic documentation of Ukrainian museology of pre-war times; a personal archive of the notable Ukrainian artist and former OFAM Director Oleksandr Roitburd (unknown works, photos and videos, manuscripts and notes, documentation of art events, etc.); official documentation on how museum expositions and narratives have changed through the times and epochs; new personal funds transferred to the museum in 2022 — archives of curator and one of the key representatives of Odessa nonconformism in the 1960s-80s Margarita Zharkova, artist Victor Kashevarov, art critic and performer Ute Kilter.
Funded by the Stabilisation Fund for Culture and Education 2022 of the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut.
The Odesa Fine Art Museum was created in 1899 at the initiative of the then Odesa mayor, philanthropist and collector Hryhoriy Marazli. The museum has an outstanding collection of art objects and is located in the center of Odesa, in the XIX century palace of the Naryshkin’s family. A kind of revival of the OFAM as an important cultural point on the map of the city and the whole Ukraine began in 2017, when it was headed by the artist Oleksandr Roitburd (1961-2021). In 2021, the museum became Odesa National Fine Art Museum. Despite significant cuts in funding, human resources, and building damage from a Russian missile attack, the museum continued its exhibition, research, and educational activities during the full-scale war.