The State Museum of Books and Book Printing of Ukraine was founded in 1972 and opened to the public in 1975. It is situated witthin the territory of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (National Historic-Cultural Reserve) in the building of former printing house which was operating for over 300 years (from 17th to the early 20th century).
The museum’s collection comprises over 58 thousand items: the unique handwritten manuscripts (15th-17th centuries), the first Ukrainian printed publications - “Apostle” (1574) and famous Ostrog Bible (1581). There are over 800 early printed books and incunabula, rare European publications, folios with covers made of precious materials, 18th-century wooden clichés. Some books are presented in a unique copy that could be found nowhere else in Ukraine.
The Museum’s exposition represents the history of Ukrainian book, book publishing industry from the Kievan Rus to modern times. Visitors are given an insight on the origins of the written language of Eastern Slavs, invention of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets by Saints Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century, the usage of live Ukrainian language and specific font - “Ustav” - in handwritten books from the 11th to 16th centuries. During excurision the visitors will be able to find out more about the history of printing in Europe, publishing business of Ivan Fedoriv and other prominent Ukrainian and European publishers of 16th-18th centuries; multiple facsimile publications of famous handwritten books: “Anthologies of Sviatoslav” (1073), Reims Gospel (11th century), Ostromir Gospels (1056-1057), Peresopnytsia Gospel (1556-1561) and many other old printed books of Lviv, Ostrog, Pochayiv, Chernihiv, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra printing facilities.
Items and articles of museum's collection cast light on the history of printing in Ukraine and its Diasporal centers throughout the world; documents, examples of typolithographic equipment, paper specimens, fonts, etc. Moreover, the museum hosts over 12000 originals of artists’ works dated back from the 17th century to the present day. Among them are masterpieces by V. Krychevskyi, I. Yizhakevych, M. Deregus, O. Hubarev, O. Danchenko, Georgiy Yakutovych, Serhiy Yakutovych, V. Lopata, M. Stratilat, V. Garbuz, V. Perevalskyi, M. Storozhenko, Y. Charyshnikov, K. Lavro and others.