“It’s good that we’re finally opening this museum,” says Svitlana Baytalyuk, director of the Department of Culture and Tourism of the Ternopil OVA, with some indescribable joy. Indeed, as soon as they began to organize it, the pandemic of the coronavirus disease began, and last year it was not possible to open its doors at the scheduled time due to the full-scale invasion of Muscovites into Ukraine.
The war continues, but each of the Ukrainians on their front is bringing our victory closer. And in such a difficult time, thanks to the enthusiasm, persistence, and efforts of the museum workers, the community, local and regional authorities, patrons, it was possible to wait for a landmark event in the village of Zaliztsi – the official presentation of the new local history institution and archaeological exposition.
Vasyl Ilchyshyn is a well-known archeologist and preservationist in the region. Obsessed with the idea of creating a local history museum in ancient Zaliztsi, he, to his surprise, found warm support from both the local community and the regional government. The director of the department of culture and tourism of the Ternopil OVA Svitlana Baytalyuk admits that when Mr. Vasyl came with his idea, she believed him, because he very clearly and meaningfully explained the strategy of his own actions.
With the beginning of 2020, they started actively working. The community found an opportunity to finance the necessary works, several times a large group went out to the town hall. Entrepreneurs-sponsors contributed a lot.
We had to restore an abandoned, dilapidated building that once served as a meeting place for employees of the local polyclinic. as well as the nearby tenement house of the 18th century, which was used by the regional department of the KDB in the Soviet period and was a prison here. Now, archeological finds have been systematically placed in the polyclinic building, and the ethnographic department will operate in the ancient building. They also intend to open a permanent exhibition here in October, dedicated to national liberation struggle.
According to Svitlana Baytalyuk, the museum in Zaliztsy is a phenomenon from the very beginning of its creation, because it had not yet been opened, and he presented three traveling exhibitions “Embroidery of the Zalozets Region” in Ternopil and Lviv region, convened a plein-air exhibition, and based on its results organized an exhibition- auction in support of the Armed Forces. Conducted several archaeological excavations, joined work on social adaptation, integration of internally displaced persons. The international scientific and practical conference “Management of archaeological heritage and museum practices” was held here.
Ms. Svitlana says that she would really like to see Zalozetsk community as a model for all local self-government structures of the region. She is convinced that the new museum will be not only an interesting tourist object, but also a serious center for the study and popularization of Ukrainian history. Therefore, the Department of Culture and Tourism of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences will continue to support the Zalozet Museum of Local Lore, implement joint projects with it.
The heads of the neighboring territorial communities of Ternopil and Lviv Oblast came to the opening of the facility in Zalizka, as well as many other distinguished guests and colleagues. Many arrived with interesting gifts. Maryna Yagodynska, director of the Ternopil Regional Center for the Protection and Scientific Research of Cultural Heritage Monuments, presented an iron sword of the 13th-14th centuries on behalf of her institution, which will undoubtedly complement the exposition of the new museum.
The head of the Zalozets community, Andriy Noga, noted that the museum had never been opened anywhere during the war, so maybe someone will be skeptical about it. Currently there is a place to invest, but, according to him, if we do not show our culture, do not appreciate our distant past, then will we be worth the future. I think he is right.
According to Maryna Yagodynska, the local history museum in Zaliztsy became the magnet that united the community. After all, they helped as a group, tried to contribute to a good and necessary cause. Now it is possible not only to conduct excursions, but also various events, including lessons for schoolchildren. Students may eventually participate in archaeological and other research. The museum will have not only an archaeological department, but also an ethnographic, national liberation struggle department. Hrazotek museum workers will receive numerous groups of tourists – Ukrainian and foreign.
In the museum, not only gray antiquity blows, but also modernity. The archaeological exposition was arranged according to modern standards.
As the director of the institution, Vasyl Ilchyshyn, emphasizes, all the exhibits, maps, schemes of settlement of people in different historical periods show Zalozechchyna not as some deserted island in the middle of the ocean, but in the context of the history of Ukraine, Europe, and the world. All signatures are duplicated in English, so there will be no problems for foreign travelers. In addition, QR codes were placed on the windows, thanks to which you can find out more information about a certain exhibit. Some items and models can be viewed in 3D format. Two Vasyls were digitizing things and designing window displays: Ilchyshyn, the head of the museum, and Kovbasa, an employee.
In the archaeological premises, care was taken not only for showcases with unique exhibits, but also for a large round table in the middle of the exhibition hall, which makes it possible to hold various events here.
“It is interesting from a cognitive point of view, at the same time there is an opportunity to solve serious issues,” says Maryna Yagodynska.
And the representatives of the Sokndal municipality delegation from Norway, who established cooperation with the Zalozetsk community, were probably the first to sit down at this table. The guests from the Scandinavian country noted that their community now actively supports Ukraine in the fight against racism, helps, but at the same time strives to cooperate in the cultural and tourist spheres.
In the archaeological exposition, almost a thousand unique items, things from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, Iron Age, Roman Empire, Slavic-Russian period and subsequent centuries were presented. The tour was conducted by the director of the museum, Vasyl Ilchyshyn. He said that the oldest exhibits date back to 40,000-35,000 BC. In particular, Mr. Vasyl discovered the Paleolithic plate in 2020 near the village of Chistopady. In April of this year, he was lucky to find an arrowhead that was 9,000 years old.
Vasyl Ilchyshyn is an archaeologist. He has already organized several excavations on the territory of old Zaliztsi and surrounding villages. Now the original finds have replenished the museum display cases. Here you can see, first of all, stone and flint tools, jewelry, ancient types of weapons, pottery of the Tryplian culture, coats of arms of the founders of Zalozets Castle and many other interesting rarities. The tools related to the development of the Seret River and its resources are presented. For example, there is a needle for weaving nets from the 8th century BC, a bronze hook for a pike from the 3rd century, a harpoon for wool, river shells that people used for food, as well as making buttons, mother-of-pearl overlays, and inlays from them. A large number of coins testifies that this area was in the zone of influence of the Roman Empire, conducted trade with it. The Roman gladius sword, which was found nearby, is kept here the village of Pidkamin.
Last summer, during archaeological research in Zaliztsy, it was possible to come across the site of a former inn and find a lot of glass and ceramic products of local and foreign production, coins, pipes, contemporary weapons, leather belt, Turkish razor and other things. They also added to the museum exposition.
Vasyl Ilchyshyn notes that Zaliztsi are unique in that the local swamp preserves organic matter very well, which is why they now have fragments of wooden shingles. They date back to the 16th century kresala, drimbu, kortik, arrowhead and other original things.
The showcase, in which a wooden sculpture of St. Francis was placed, also attracts attention. She was found in Zaliztsy, once she decorated the local church. In Soviet times, the cult building was abandoned, this figure was destroyed there. Museum workers cleaned it, conserved it and now put it on display for visitors of the local history institution. They even show it in 3D format, they made a short film about it in English “The Story of One Exhibit”. The author of the sculpture is Ferdinand Stufleser from the Austrian city of Tyrol.
The newly opened local history museum in the village of Zaliztsi offers a lot of interesting and informative things. What did the Zaliztsi themselves look like? The castle can be seen on an engraving of the 18th century. A monument should appear near the museum. Whom? The black chicken is a symbol of the Ironmen. I think that every year the exposition will be replenished with new exhibits and finds. It cannot be otherwise, because the museum is headed by an ascetic, enthusiast, professional, obsessed with archeology and museum affairs, Vasyl Ilchyshyn.