May 3, 2019

Participate in a conservation workshop, learn about wooden churches in Ukraine

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Church of the Theophany (1693), Kuhayiv, Lviv Oblast.

The Department of Architecture and Conservation of the National University Lviv Polytechnic, in conjunction with U.S.A. facilitators Myron Stachiw (architectural historian) and Yuri Yanchyshyn (furniture conservator), is hosting a two-week workshop from June 24 to July 6. The goal of the workshop will be to teach participants how to conduct a conservation assessment: to examine, assess and document a wooden structure, in this case the Church of the Theophany (Bohoyavlennia Hospodnioho) in the village of Kuhayiv, Lviv Oblast, erected in 1693. The historic log church is no longer in use, as the congregation recently erected a new masonry church. The building and its 18th century iconostasis are in dire need of conservation and restoration. 

The workshop is open to students and recent graduates of art and architectural conservation programs, programs in historic preservation, art and architectural history, as well as to practicing early- and mid-career professionals in these fields. It will encompass the assessment of wood as the primary material of this art and architectural form, as well as the paintings on timber walls, the iconostasis and icons. This assessment will take the form of a highly detailed condition report and recommendations for conservation, to which all attendees will contribute. 

In addition to the assessments, participants will visit a studio conducting the conservation of a 17th century iconostasis; visit and tour other sites; and will attend lectures/seminars by U.S., Ukrainian and international practitioners in the field on the history of the wooden churches and their interiors, wood and its properties, wood identification, construction methods, documentation procedures, preservation issues and other topics. 

Field trips will bring participants to four of the eight Ukrainian wooden churches named in 2013 to the UNESCO World Heritage List in Rohatyn, Drohobych, Potelych and Zhovkva (see https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1424; a virtual tour of the eight churches is available at http://churches.authenticukraine.com.ua/en/). 

Ukraine has a long tradition of wooden church building; archaeological remains of wooden churches have been discovered dating back to the 10th-11th centuries. Within each of the ethnographic subregions of Ukraine unique and distinctive building technologies, forms and stylistic expressions have evolved, adopting and adapting fashionable European stylistic trends. In the eight oblasts within western Ukraine, more than 2100 wooden churches, dating from the 16th- through the 20th centuries, survive in various states of preservation. In all of Ukraine the number is greater than 3,000.

Andrij Saluk

Iconostasis of the Church of the Theophany (Bohoyavlennia Hospodnioho), Kuhayiv, Lviv Oblast.

Many of these churches are in need of conservation, repair and restoration. Sadly, the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, which oversees the preservation of these historical monuments, lacks the necessary funds and sufficient numbers of conservators trained in state-of-the-art methods of assessment and conservation to address these needs. This workshop is designed to begin the process of training a new generation of Ukrainian conservators. The Department of Architecture and Conservation at the National University Lviv Polytechnic, with help from Western scholars, is actively expanding its existing architectural conservation program (B.A. and M.A. degrees in conservation of masonry and artifical stone) to include the conservation of wooden artifacts and buildings, painting on wood, and the establishment of a state-of-the-art conservation laboratory at the Lviv Polytechnic. This workshop is the first of what will be an annual summer training program in the preservation, conservation and restoration of Ukraine’s architectural and cultural heritage. We invite your participation and support.

Additional details of the workshop can be found at https://www.periodfurnitureconservation.com/workshop.

For an overview of wood conservation in Ukraine please visit https://www.periodfurnitureconservation.com/speaking-arrangements/fulbright.

The cost of this workshop is $700 for students, and $1,000 for early- and mid-career professionals, which will include modest hotel accommodations, some meals and all ground transportation during the workshop. Travel to and from Ukraine is the responsibility of the individual participant. A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available for American students and first year graduates.

For more information readers may contact Myron Stachiw at mostachiw@gmail.com.

Mr. Yanchyshyn is the principal and senior conservator of Period Furniture Conservation LLC and Kensington Preservation LLC, both metropolitan New York City firms dedicated to furniture and objects conservation, as well as cultural heritage objects preservation. Before the founding of his firms, he worked as a consulting conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Cal Arts, and received conservation training from the Amsterdam Academy for Restoration and the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education. He has treated wooden objects for over 35 years, and his firm’s clients include institutions, private collectors and other conservators. He was awarded Fulbright Specialist Status in 2016 and taught a six-week introduction to wooden artifacts conservation at the National University Lviv Polytechnic in 2018. In 2019 he was awarded Fulbright Scholar status and will be returning to teach in Ukraine in the autumn of 2019.

Yuri Yanchyshyn

Iconostasis and painted interior log walls in St. George Church (circa 1500), Drohobych.

For the past 45 years Mr. Stachiw has worked as an educator, historian, archaeologist, architectural historian, historic preservationist and museum curator. Since 1974 he has been and continues to be engaged as an historical consultant to museums, historical agencies, and national, state and local preservation organizations and agencies in the U.S. and Ukraine. He has been the principal or a member of teams conducting historic structures reports on more two dozen historic landmark buildings in New England and Virginia. Between 1988 and 2004 he organized and taught a number of three- to six-week summer field schools in buildings archaeology, teaching the methods and practice of researching, investigating, documenting and interpreting historic structures. He has also taught courses and lectured in historic preservation, architectural history, social history and museum studies at a number of U.S. and Ukrainian universities. From 2004 to 2006 he was a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine, documenting the work of “cultural rescue” performed by Ukrainian ethnographers, folklorists, historians and linguists of the traditional culture of Polissia irradiated by the Chornobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986; from 2006 to 2012 he served as the director of the Fulbright Program in Ukraine.