Who We Are

The Order of St. Basil the Great established this museum to preserve the history, culture, and religion of both the pioneers of the Beaver Lake–Mundare settlement and the early Basilians who served the area. Future-bishop Fr. Neil Savaryn, OSBM (1905–1986) and Fr. Meletius Solovey, OSBM (1918–1984) were the key organizers of the items, with Fr. Josaphat Jean, OSBM (1885–1972) contributing numerous artifacts from his personal collection.

The museum opened to the public in July 1957. It was housed in a two-storey building — the former home of the Basilian’s Printing Press — behind the current Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church. Fr. Orest Kupranec, OSBM (1924–1988) served as the first museum director, with Fr. Jean named as senior honorary director. Members of the local Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada (U.C.W.L.C.) formed a Museum Committee that assisted with cleaning and the upkeep of the displays. These women also enhanced the exhibits with samples of embroidery, Easter eggs (pysanky), and other folk art pieces.

The museum moved into the current facility in 1991, the one hundredth anniversary of the arrival in Canada of the first Ukrainian settlers. In addition to ethnographic and religious artifacts, the collection includes documentary archives, a non-circulating reference library with antique maps and books dating from the fifteenth century, and more than 6,000 photographs.