The open-air museum is set on 150 hectares of picturesque terrain on the southwestern outskirts of Kyiv. It was founded in the late 1960's, and in 1976 it was opened to the public. To date, the museum has over 200 structures moved here from various regions of the Ukraine or reconstructed on the spot. The museum has some 40,000 ethnographic exhibits, including folk costumes, fabrics, embroidery, carpets, ceramics, articles of metal, wood, glassware, musical instruments, paintings, tools, household articles and the like. These objects are exhibited both inside the cottages and other farm buildings and in the permanent exhibition halls.

The museum consists of two departments: Architecture and life in the Ukrainian Village Before the Revolution and Folk Architecture and Life in the Socialist Village.

The pedestrian itinerary around the museum runs along a 12-kilometer circular road and covers all the most significant sights in the museum. The itinerary has rest stops at specially allocated grounds, glades and lawns.

The first department of the museum is divided into six sections, each corresponding to a historical and ethnographic zone which appeared in Ukraine by virtue of its geographical location, natural conditions, and distinctive historical, socio-economic and cultural development: 1. Middle Dnieper area; 2. Poltava area and Slobodian Ukraine (Slobozhanshchina); 3. Polesye; 4. Podolia; 5. The Carpathians; and 6. Southern Ukraine. The terrain has been cultivated to recreate a corresponding natural environment and typical vegetation for each of the geographical zones.

The second department is the exhibition of Folk Architecture and Life in the Socialist Village. It spreads over 13 hectares and consists of houses and domestic buildings of the 1960's and 1970's from 25 administrative regions, arranged in accordance with the natural and ethnographic zones already mentioned.

The exhibits in this section illustrate the development of rural architecture in Soviet times. Many of its elements derive from folk traditions. Yet the increased prosperity of the peasants as well as the appearance of new building materials, tools, techniques, and other factors have led to radical changes in rural architecture.

The museum organizes craft days three or four times from May to November, when visitors can see blacksmiths, potters, copper, weavers, carpet makers and other craftsmen at work. On Sundays, choirs and folk musicians stage concerts of Ukrainian music.

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