Among numerous attractions like sightseeing and delicious cuisine spots, Kyiv has dozens of unusual museums that are no worse at luring in tourists and locals. One of them is a museum of costume and fashion - Victoria Museum, neatly tucked away in a cozy lane not far from the Arsenalna metro station. The 7 halls hold a vast collection of more than 200 exhibits of Victorian Era — all right in the heart of Kyiv.
Victoria Museum was opened in 2017 on the initiative of the local fashion and museum lover Viktoriia Lysenko. Having visited various museums across the world, Viktoriia realized that Kyiv lacked one more intriguing location, namely a constant exhibition dedicated to the history of costume. Before the museum creation, there has been no single expo space in Ukraine, as most vintage exhibits usually belong to the private collections and are only rarely presented to the public. Luckily, now Kyiv has a permanent spot to indulge in the history of fashion.
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The museum consists of 7 spacious exposition halls, organized thematically and chronologically according to the modern standards. Here visitors can explore the pre-revolutionary fashion of Kyiv: 40 authentic men’s suits and women’s dresses, as well as about 200 exhibits that reflect the style and atmosphere of the period. Carefully preserved items help to build the full detailed picture of life and culture in the capital before the WWI and October Revolution. As the time period coincides with the Victorian Era, some artifacts and clothes remind of the ones seen in numerous BBC dramas — just with the special Ukrainian charm.
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Some of the vintage dresses and accessories not only outlived their owners but also saw continuous historical events like two World Wars and a bunch of revolutions. Thus, the oldest exhibits are more than 150 years old and are still doing fine in the careful hands of the museum’s staff. All artifacts are placed behind the glass in a special microclimatic mode to ensure the cloth is preserved in its primary condition.
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The pride of the museum is a Victorian dress of the Balmoral style; it in fact was the first dress bought by Viktoriia in 2017. Ever since the collection is constantly expanding, thanks to various auctions and private collectors. The museum encourages visitors to take pictures and videos of all exhibits. Moreover, a separate selfie-zone with various costumes to dress up is available here as well. Victoria Museum offers excursions to groups of 7+ people and booking tickets.
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Address: 23, Butyshiv Lane, Kyiv
Photos provided by Viktoriia Lysenko