|The museum of Tovste is located at Ukrainska
Str., 109, on the main road passing through town. The
small building is at the heart of Tovste, both figuratively
and literally: it bore witness to and holds much of the
fascinating history of the town. It is also centrally
situated, in a geographic sense, at a crossroads that
leads in all directions.
|The museum owes its modest origins, in the
mid-1960s, to Mykhailo Zolotyy who was principal and teacher
of history at Tovste secondary school. At the time, he
created the so-called ‘History Corner’, which
rapidly grew in importance. As 150 exhibits were collected,
he decided to allocate two classrooms in a separate building,
for their display. It was in that small house that Tovste’s
museum was initially opened, under the direction of Yaroslav
Pawlyk, then in his 30s. Mr. Pawlyk (pictured here) went
on to devote his life’s work to the development
and maintenance of the museum. (He passed away in February
2019 at the age of 92. A ceremony was held at the museum
in October 2019 to commemorate his invaluable service
to the community.)
In 1973 it was decided to transfer the museum to a new building,
the former Polish landlord’s ‘Palace’. It
remained there until 1989, when some town officials decided
to use that space as accommodation for collective farmers.
A new home had to be found for the growing museum.
|The small community centre at Ukrainska
Str. 109 turned out to be the perfect location –
in part because it had a rich history of its own. The
centre had been established in the early 1900s as a library
or reading room, known as Prosvita or ‘Enlightenment’.
Details can be found in the Lviv State Archive. The building
took many years to finish, as it had to compete for limited
resources that were destined for the construction of the
Greek Catholic church. Rooms were added one by one over
time, resulting in the compact structure one sees today.
The building was in need of repair in 1989, before it could
assume its new role as a museum. The Litiy plant
and Druzhba collective farm donated money for capital
repairs. A local artist, Stefan Dolynchuk, decorated the first
two rooms of the museum; while the rest of the rooms were
decorated by local craftsmen under Yaroslav Pawlyk’s
The relocated museum was formally inaugurated in 1990 by
the decision of Zalishchyky District Board no. 143, dated
20 July 1990. On 29 December 1992, the Ternopil regional culture
board on conferred upon it the honourable title of “People’s
The museum boasts a varied collection of exhibits and artifacts
from Tovste and the surrounding region, ranging from pre-historic
times through to the occupation of Ukraine in the period of
the Second World War. [Click for a photo
gallery of some of the museum exhibits.]
Regrettably, until now, limited resources have not permitted
the preparation of informative signage to accompany many of
the exhibits. Plaques in Ukrainian and, ideally, in English
would be extremely useful, since a great number of the exhibits
have a fascinating story to tell.
If you would like to contribute to the further development
and upkeep of the museum, please use the Feedback
page to indicate your potential support.
Pawlyk, J. History of Tovste. Chortkiv, 2000,
pp. 100-1, and pers. comm.