10611 – 110 Avenue, Edmonton
Opening in 1944, the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, Alberta Branch, is the oldest Ukrainian museum in Edmonton and the affiliate of the original Ukrainian Museum of Canada founded three years previously in Saskatoon by the Orthodox-based Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada. Its collection features traditional folk, pioneer, cultural and religious artifacts.
The Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada (UWAC) was organized in 1926 around energetic, nationally conscious, current and former students at the Petro Mohyla Institute in Saskatoon. From the beginning members were highly conscious of the need to preserve the Ukrainian folk crafts and pioneer artifacts then disappearing from daily life; they also recognized the value of their Ukrainian handicrafts as an entry to Anglo-Canadian women’s groups who appreciated their beauty. The UWAC established the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon in 1941, although collecting had begun earlier. Three years later, the Edmonton-based UWAC opened a branch of the museum in the city; the organization and its members also regularly participated in local Canadian Handicrafts Guild exhibits, and in 1957 had 12 juried pieces selected by the Alberta government for the Canadian display at the International Women’s Congress in Montreal. The Ukrainian Museum of Canada, Alberta Branch, continues to emphasize women’s traditional handicrafts, especially embroidery and bead work, with a rich collection of men’s and women’s clothing organized to illustrate regional patterns, motifs, materials and techniques. This clothing includes garments brought to Canada from their native Bukovyna and worn by the parents of Mayor William Hawrelak, who worshipped at the adjacent St. John Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral. Some items, such as the series of traditional bride and groom headdresses on display, were created specifically to demonstrate the variations in style and practice across Ukraine. In addition to its rotating permanent exhibit, the museum also hosts an annual special-themed events drawing on its holdings—for example, during the extended Christmas season, visitors can see the animal costumes (and the devil’s mask) worn by costumed players on Malanka or New Year’s Eve. The museum is open May through August from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., otherwise by appointment.