Emergency Winterization to Protect Ukrainian Heritage Sites

As temperatures drop, World Monuments Fund (WMF) and Cultural Emergency Response (CER), with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, have partnered to support the winterization of several historic sites in the Ukrainian oblasts of Kyiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv. Having been damaged by Russian artillery during the war, these buildings are now at further risk from ice and snow unless preventative measures are taken to shield the exposed interiors from precipitation and prevent the structures from further degradation and potential collapse. The following sites are being supported for emergency winterization:

The Okhtyrka Local History Museum

Over a century old, this regional museum in northeastern Ukraine suffered a major blow when Russian bombs hit Okhtyrka’s historic center in March of 2022. The blast severely damaged the roof, blew out the building’s windows, and affected the exhibits inside. To safeguard the museum from further damage due to winter weather, WMF and CER have signed a memorandum of understanding with the museum and are partnering with a local NGO that will implement the project to protect this important heritage site.

The Library of Youth/Museum of Ukrainian Antiquities in Chernihiv

Housed in a striking Gothic Revival Building, Chernihiv’s Museum of Antiquities possessed a rich collection of artifacts thanks to the work of founder Vasyl Tarnovsky. Prior to the Russian Revolution, it was the only museum devoted to Ukrainian culture in the Russian Empire. Though the collection was moved when the building was converted into a regional library in 1978, the site retained both its splendid ornamentation and its reputation for historic richness.

In March of 2022, Russian shelling resulted in the collapse of part of the building’s roof and walls. Experts have already conducted comprehensive onsite surveys in preparation for the installation of a fence, the removal of debris, and the filling in of the crater left by the bombing. WMF and CER are supporting the winterization of the site, including shielding the partly ruined building from further damage and medium-term stabilization.

Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko National Museum of Arts 

Originally comprising the private collection of philanthropists Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko, this Kyiv museum is one of Ukraine’s most important artistic institutions, featuring works from across the globe. The nineteenth-century buildings in which the collection is housed are also of great architectural value.

The Khanenko Museum was among a number of important cultural institutions that suffered damage during a missile attack on the Ukrainian capital in October of 2022.  WMF and CER will support emergency actions to protect the museum, including its damaged metal roof tiles and roof lanterns, among other activities.

Learn more about WMF's Ukraine Heritage Response Fund 


World Monuments Fund is grateful to supporters of our work in Ukraine and the Ukraine Heritage Response Fund, including the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Richard Lounsbery Foundation, Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation, U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), individual donors, and an anonymous funder.