Ukrainian Museum Archives Internship

The Nanovic Institute is sponsoring up to four student interns at the Uranian Museum Archives in Cleveland. The Institute will cover an internship stipend of $10/hr and living expenses in Cleveland.

Interested students should apply here by April 21 at 11:59 pm

Ukrainian Museum-Archives History:

The Ukrainian Museum-Archives (UMA) in Cleveland was founded in 1952 by displaced scholars who took on the mission of collecting and preserving items from Ukrainian history and culture during an era when these materials were being deliberately destroyed in Soviet Ukraine. The building now occupied by the UMA was constructed more than 100 years ago. In the 1920s, it was an orphanage for Ukrainian children who lost their parents to industrial accidents or the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918.  Later, it was residence for Ukrainian nuns from Sts. Peter & Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church who ran the parish school. In the mid-1950s, the Ukrainian Scouting organization, Plast, purchased the building and for the next twenty years it served as a vibrant center of youth activities.

In the late 1970s, the building became the home of the UMA, which, in its first quarter century, had already amassed an important collection of rare, many unique items. In the late 1980s, a second generation of Ukrainian- Americans assumed responsibility for the UMA, maintaining and enhancing the collection with much of the work done by volunteers. 

With the break-up of the Soviet Union and Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the UMA’s collection began to attract attention from institutions such as the Library of Congress, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Ohio State University’s Slavic Studies Department and the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. In 1998, the Government of Ukraine incorporated the UMA into the U.S.-Ukraine Agreement on the Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage. This status led to major support from the federal, state, and local governments in the United States and partnerships with libraries, universities, and other cultural institutions in Ukraine.

One of the major UMA achievements was construction in 2005 of an environmentally-secure facility, consistent with Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) environmental standards to house the museum's important archival and library resources, including books, periodicals, newspapers, photographs, and records from the community, along with space for rotating historical, cultural, and artistic exhibits. 

UMA Collection

  • primary source materials: minutes, ledgers, personal accounts, letters;
  • an archive and library that contains more than 40,000 books printed in the Ukrainian, English, and other languages, published on five continents, from the 17th century to the present, as well as more than 1,800 unique periodical titles that date from the late 19th century;
  • several thousand photographs that depict life in Ukraine and in Ukrainian immigrant communities throughout the world, including a large number from the Cleveland area community;
  • currency, coins, and postage stamps from 1917 to the present;
  • posters from Cleveland, Ukraine, and elsewhere;
  • fine art highlighted by sculptures and prints by Alexander Archipenko; woodcuts by Jacques Hnizdovsky; and an oil painting attributed to Taras Shevchenko;
  • more than 4,000 different postcards;
  • a phonograph record collection with 3,000 vinyl disks that date to the 1910s;
  • a year-by-year compilation of Ukrainian community life in Cleveland beginning in the 1910s, consisting of thousands of handouts, photos, programs, and other documents;
  • a collection of Voice of America Ukrainian section tapes and dvds, including a complete collection of a weekly television program that was broadcast into Ukraine since 1993. The collection was transferred to the UMA by an Act of Congress. 

Internship Projects:

  • The UMA uses an online cataloguing system, Library World, to catalogue books and periodicals, and would like help cataloguing and creating finding aids. While the museum's rare books and periodicals have been inputted into this system, the general collection and two special collections still need to be added. These items need to be transferred into Library World manually (the special collections have already been inventoried in Excel).
  • The UMA has filing cabinets of materials on historical figures, artists, leaders of the Ukrainian community and ordinary immigrants. An intern would help itemize these individuals in a finding aid. No special language skills are necessary to transfer the items from Excel into Library World, but some knowledge of Ukrainian may be needed for the other collections. Interns who know Ukrainian can be paired with a non-Ukrainian speaker for these projects.  
  • The UMA collection includes stamps, coins, posters, and manuscripts, The museum would like to create several online exhibits to showcase items from our collection. Tasks would include research, scanning, writing labels and text, and designing the online exhibit. No special skills will be needed as interns can be trained on web creation if necessary. For an example of an exhibit that was created by UMA interns please see our exhibit for the Plast National Scout Organization.
  • The UMA collection includes hundreds of posters going back many decades which need to be inventoried and scanned. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the UMA worked with the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) to scan the posters on oversized scanners. Many are now on the CPL website. Depending on Covid-19 restrictions, the museum may be able to continue this project. Items would be scanned offsite in downtown Cleveland. Language skills will not be necessary for scanning and, if needed, a Ukrainian speaker can be paired with a non-Ukrainian speaker. 
  • In 2009 the UMA received a large donation from a family in Michigan. Items from this collection need to be organized, photographed and inputted into museum software, PastPerfect. This software is used by museums around the world so may be a good fit for someone interested in working in working with museums in the future. No special language skills will be needed. 
  • The UMA has other projects such as sorting new donations, sorting duplicate items, and landscaping that will need to be addressed during the summer. 

The UMA is located approximately five miles south of downtown Cleveland in historic Tremont. The Greater Cleveland area is home to the Cleveland Indians, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Great Lakes Science Center. University Circle a short drive away, home to Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Museum of Art and The Natural History Museum.