Destroyed museum in Verkhnii Saltiv

After a full-scale invasion, the historical and archaeological museum-reserve “Verkhnii Saltiv”, located in the Kharkiv region, suffered significant destruction. Its premises were partially destroyed, and some of the exhibits were wiped out. Museum workers are currently trying to save what is left of the collection.

Directed and edited by Yuliia Gush. Videographer and interviewer – Yevhen Tytarenko.

Historical and archaeological museum-reserve “Verkhniy Saltiv” became one of the many Ukrainian museums, which suffered as a result of a full-scale Russian invasion. Remains of the Saltiv-Mayak culture were found near the village of Verkhniy Saltiv at the beginning of the 20th century. The first exhibits of the museum are artifacts found during catacomb excavations, that told about the history and culture of this place.

Viktor Aksyonov, head of the archeology department of the Kharkiv Historical Museum:
Excavations have been going on here for over a hundred years. Part of the materials were kept here, which gave an idea of the development of the material, cultural and spiritual life of the population in the last quarter of the first millennium AD – this is on the eve of the formation of Kyivan Rus’. The creation of the museum involved local residents who knew that they, in fact, live on the territory of the monument – and this was considered a museum-reserve. They found not only ancient things. But also, the same – the First World War, the Second World War – they brought here. In this case, it was a kind of museum, which illustrated the history of the village of Verkhnii Saltiv over the past 300 years.

Volunteers reported that the museum still has some exhibits.

Alla Panchenko, head of the scientific-methodological department of the Kharkiv Historical Museum:
As you can see, the museum was damaged during shelling, during hostilities. Unfortunately, shelling of this territory began from the very beginning of the full-scale war, therefore, the museum staff managed to hide only part of the collection, and hide it in the museum premises. But since there was no security, as there were shellings, strangers could enter here. We cannot say to what extent the collection has been affected until a full reconciliation is carried out – whether something is stolen or not stolen. But we already understand that due to the fact that the premises were without a roof, without windows – the roof was destroyed, the museum objects fell down with fragments of walls, fragments of the roof – they are damaged, many of them.

Viktor Aksyonov:
The village was on the front line, and as I understand it, it was even under occupation. So, in this case, it is clear that they must have entered the museum. We simply have no idea what was going on here, because we don’t have people who, in this case, specifically, saw it. But, judging by the hits, they got here, as they say. The building was badly damaged. The museum collection was also badly affected.

Alla Panchenko:
Culture is the identification of a nation. That is, this is the first thing we must hold on to, because without culture, we will not have our identity. And what makes us different from our neighbors? We are distinguished by our culture, which includes our spirituality, and historical heritage, and our upbringing. Again, what is upbringing based on? On historical traditions, right? Therefore, museums are the first institutions trusted by the population, and which preserve these cultural traditions, historical traditions.

Viktor Aksyonov:
Well, it’s just folk memory. As they say, a person must remember his roots, that’s all. That is, if we forget our roots, we will simply lose faith in the future. And it teaches us to live now.

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