Increasing the Potential of Cultural Heritage in Ukraine: Expert Recommendations

Linda Norris, an American expert in cultural heritage and museums, and Vaiva Lankeliene, head of the department dealing with museums, libraries, and archives at the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania analysed the problems and challenges facing Ukrainian museums and put forward recommendations based on European experience.

The report on the development of the sphere of cultural heritage in Ukraine is based on the analysis of legislation, a questionnaire filled in by 315 museum specialists, and consultations, interviews, and discussions with heads of museums, galleries, and cultural centres, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Culture.

The study was initiated by the EU-EaP Culture and Creativity Programme. We have chosen the main recommendations on how to improve the competitiveness of the museum sector.

Main Challenges and Problems Facing Cultural Heritage in Ukraine

  • Sluggish transformation of society and overcoming the post-Soviet syndrome. During Soviet times, cultural policy served as an instrument of propaganda based on a single narrative approved by the state.

  • Outdated legislation regulating the cultural heritage sector.

  • Virtually absent strategic planning that would ensure the sector’s development.

  • Lack of digital archives of cultural heritage.

  • The sector’s limited funding, including that of restoration and preservation of architectural monuments and museum collections.

  • Lack of skills and understanding of how to obtain support beyond the confines of public funding.

Strengths and Opportunities of Cultural Heritage

  • The country’s unique and diverse cultural heritage.

  • The emergence of strong cultural organisations in terms of initiative-taking and management, such as Mystetskyi Arsenal, Izolyatsiya, Mikhail Bulgakov Museum, etc.

  • The growing number of professionals open to cooperation, joint training and exchange of ideas.

  • Decentralisation of cultural heritage: This process stimulates creative ideas on how to solve many problems that the sector faces.

Expert Recommendations


  • Review the law on museums to define museums based on international practices; Create a clear national system for museums; Establish a procedure for creating museums and financing.

  • Create a transparent financing mechanism for the sector focused on tangible results.

  • Develop a strategy by setting clear short and long-term goals. It is important to draw up such a document in cooperation with specialists in culture and preservation of heritage. The monitoring of results is also necessary.

  • Establish transparent standards that shall be mandatory for all museums.  Specialists recommend enlisting not only Ukrainian but also foreign specialists in this process.

  • Develop a decentralised system for the protection of cultural heritage, delegating some functions to regional institutions.

Financial Resources and Personnel

  • Establish full transparency and accountability in financial management.

  • Adopt legislation to allow museums to make money from, souvenir shops, for example, and use the profit to develop these museums.

  • Develop and encourage personnel skills in fundraising, budget management and work with multiple sources of funding. Experts expect that the raising of funds from the private sector will grow in Ukraine.

  • Analyse members of staff drawing on European experience. For example, a museum might have a large scientific staff without clearly defined functions but lack the positions necessary for the functioning of a modern museum, such as digital media specialists and development experts.

Marketing and Communication

  • Ensure dissemination of information on the Internet for a broad audience. This includes digitising collections and creating thematic stories to engage readers.

  • It is worth providing attention to working with different communities.

  • Develop communication plans that are based on social media and free advertising.

Work with the Audience

  • Initiate cooperation between different sectors at governmental and institutional levels by implementing joint projects.

  • Encourage museums to take part in an open dialogue with citizens and encourage joint use of different opportunities.

  • Most museums are not visitor-friendly, as there is often no system of signs and signage. Moreover, it is worth encouraging museum workers to be friendly and not just to keep order inside the museum.



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