National Museum of Art in Kiev was founded in 1899. Initially, the institution was called "City Museum of Antiques and Art" and was used for the storage and display of the artifacts found by the famous archaeologist Vikontii Hvoika. Museum collection included iconography of the Middle Ages, monumental portraits of Cossack times depicting the military sergeants, Church leaders and educators, as well as the ironic pictures of "Cossack Mamai". The funds were collected from Holland to Chernigov.
Later, in December 23, 1904, the building was officially opened and named in honor of the Emperor Nikolai Aleksandrovich "Kiev Museum of Art Industry" or "Museum of Antiquities and Art". The first museum director was the great historian Nikolai Biliashivskyi. The museum collections were replenished by Kiev art patrons. Many exhibits from nationalized private collections became a part of the museum funds during the Revolution. Later, in 1936, the museum acquired a new name "The State Museum of Ukrainian Art" and in 1964, it was renamed "The National Museum of Decorative Arts of USSR".
In 1990s, the museum collection was demonstrated in the famous museums of France, Denmark, Canada and Croatia. Therefore, a highly developed Ukrainian culture with its thousand-year history was presented worldwide, and many previously unknown artists such as A.Petrytskyi, V.Ermilova, O.Bogomazov became famous in other countries.
Nowadays, museum fund has more than 40,000 exhibits, including sculptures and drawings of the Kievan Rus period, masterpieces of Ukrainian and foreign painting, a rich collection of icons, Ukrainian avant-garde, as well as the paintings of the XIX-XXI centuries.
The founders of the museum believe that Ukrainian art is a unique part of the world cultural heritage.