A hedgehog from Luxembourg: the story of a specimen as evidence of migrations of museum collections between Kharkiv and Kyiv in the 1930s

Keywords: zoological collections, natural history museums, migration of collections, Ukraine


The history of the formation and migration of natural history collections in Ukraine in the first half of the 20th century is considered on the example of a unique specimen – a hedgehog with the label "Luxembourg" collected in 1932, and on the label is written "Museum named after Artem". The study showed that the specimen represents the species Erinaceus roumanicus, collected by the Kharkiv botanist E. Lavrynenko and the zoologist Panchenko, who worked in the south of Ukraine. Information about this specimen was found in one of the old inventory journals (circa 1935) of the Zoological Museum of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, which is now part of the NMNH of Ukraine. The full reconstructed label information is as follows: "Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Polohy Rayon, Azov railway station near the village Luxembourg Ukrainian, 23/05/1932". This locality is situated 15 km away from the Kamyani Mohyly Reserve, which was most likely the destination of the researchers. According to the author’s reconstruction, the specimen was collected at a railway junction (RS Azov is known as "376 km Junction"), that is, at the place of long train stops in anticipation of passing the oncoming traffic, which was likely to have been the practice of the researchers at that time. The label "Museum named after Artem" should be identified as that belonging to the Kharkiv museum named after Artem (there were museums of the same name in Bakhmut and only since 1950 in Luhansk). An analysis of the movements of scientists, the most important of which took place in 1934–1936 in connection with the transfer of the capital of Ukraine from Kharkiv to Kyiv and the reorganization of a number of institutions, shows that this particular and many other collection specimens were transported to academic institutions in Kyiv. The collectors of this specimen are also the authors of mammal specimens from the Kherson (1928) and Kharkiv regions (1932, 1934); in 1934, Lavrenko moved to Kyiv, but there he was known only as a botanist. The analysis of the old inventory books of the NMNH collections and the history of movements of zoologists-collectors shows that the studied specimen, together with hundreds of others, was part of the working collection of O. Mygulin and was transported by him from Kharkiv to Kyiv when he began to work in “Zagotkhutro” in Zavorychy and as a doctoral student at the Zoological Museum of VUAN. Later, this specimen, like hundreds of others, was transferred to the osteological collection of the Department of Palaeozoology of ZooBIN (which was reorganized into the Institute of Zoology in 1939), and finally ended up in the Department of Palaeontology of the NMNH. During 90 years of forced "migration", the specimen changed at least four locations of storage and at least six nominal institutions (two in Kharkiv and four in Kyiv).


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

I. Zagorodniuk, The National Museum of Natural History at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Bohdan Khmelnitsky st., 15, Kyiv, Ukraine, 01030, zoozag@ukr.net


Boreyko V.E. (2001). History of Nature Conservation in Ukraine: X century to 1980. 2nd ed. KECC, Kyiv, 1–544. (Series: History of Nature Conservation. Issue 24). (in Russian)

Borshchenko L. (2006). History of the Luhansk Regional Art Museum and its collection. Art culture, 3, 356–580. (in Ukrainian)

Grama V.N., Krivitsky I.A., Shvalb B.G., Berezinskaya R.G. (1995). Fauna and flora of Kharkov region. Systematic index of literature 1791–1985. Issue 1. Animal world. Kharkov State University, Kharkov, 1–128. (in Russian)

Diukov N.N. (1923). Wolves in the Kharkiv province. Hunting and Fishing (Kharkiv), 3–4, 9–12. (in Russian)

Diukov N.N. (1927). Blackish Dagestan hamster. In: Dagestan Collection, Volume 3. Dagestan Research Institute, Dagnarkompros, Dagmuseum and others, Makhachkala, 169–174. (in Russian)

Zagorodniuk I.V., Mishta A.V. (1995). On species identity of the Erinaceus hedgehogs of Ukraine and adjoining countries. Vestnik zoologii, 29(2–3), 50–57. (in Russian)

Zagorodniuk I.V., Emelyanov I.G. (2012). Taxonomy and nomenclature of mammals of Ukraine. Proceedings of the National Museum of Natural History, 10, 5–30. (in Ukrainian)

Zagorodniuk I.V. (2013). Zoological collections as source of biographical information: towards history of investigations of Anatol Argyropulo and Boris Popov. Practical Topics of Natural Museology. Materials of the III scientific and practical conference (October 24–25, 2013, Kyiv). NMNH NAS Ukraine, Kyiv, 15–16. (in Ukrainian)

Zagorodniuk I., Korobchenko M., Pidhainy M. (2015). The oldest collected samples of Ellobius talpinus s. l. (Rodentia) in natural history museums of Ukraine: an investigation into the history of collections. Proceedings of the National Museum of Natural History, 13, 101–110. (in Ukrainian)

Zagorodniuk I., Parkhomenko V. (2018). Boris Valkh and the development of zoology and museology in the East of Ukraine. The Journal of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Series “Biology”, 31, 72–98. https://doi.org/10.26565/2075-5457-2018-31-8 (in Ukrainian)

Zagorodniuk I., Ocheretna K. (2019). The Zoological Museum of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences for 100 years: statuses, subordinations, and leaders. Natural History Museology. Vol. 5. NMNH NAS of Ukraine. Kyiv, 45–52. (in Ukrainian)

Zagorodniuk I. (2021). Ground squirrels of the war: a history of zoological research and Spermophilus collections in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. Proceedings of the State Natural History Museum (Lviv), 37, 17–38. https://doi.org/10.36885/nzdpm.2021.37.17-38 (in Ukrainian)

Zagorodniuk I. (2022). Sokur Ivan Tarasovich, a celebrated mammalogist and naturalist. Novitates Theriologicae, 14, 309–312. (in Ukrainian)

Iliukhin Yu. (2018). Representatives of the order Chiroptera in the collection of the Museum of Nature at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Theriologia Ukrainica, 16, 77–84. http://doi.org/10.15407/pts2018.16.077 (in Ukrainian)

Korobchenko M., Zagorodniuk I., Redinov K. (2014). Review of distribution and morphometric peculiarities of the northern mole vole Ellobius talpinus (Arvicolidae) in the Lower Dnipro river region (Ukraine). Proceedings of the Theriological School, 12, 89–101. https://doi.org/10.15407/ptt2014.12.089 (in Ukrainian)

Korobchenko M. (2016). Evdokia Reshetnyk (1903–1996) – an outstanding figure in the history of academic zoology and ecology in Ukraine. Proceedings of the National Museum of Natural History, 14, 136–146. https://doi.org/10.15407/vnm.2016.14.136 (in Ukrainian)

Korobchenko M. (2019). Evdokia Reshetnyk’s collections in the mammalogical funds of the National Museum of Natural History, NAS of Ukraine. Natural History Museology. Volume 5. NMNH NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv, 67–71. (in Ukraine)

Krivitsky I., Zagorodniuk I. (2008). Eminent Ukrainian theriologists Oleksiy Mygulin and Yakiv Zubko. Rarity Mammal Fauna and its Protection (Ed. by I. Zagorodniuk). Luhansk, 295–298. (Series: Proceedings of the Theriological School; Vol. 9). (in Ukrainian)

Lawrenko Ye. (1927). Vegetation der Ukraine (Endung). Naturwissenschaftliche monatschrift, 2, 77–94. (in Ukrainian)

Markovska O., Zagorodniuk I. (2022). Mygulin Oleksiy Oleksiyovych, an ecologist, faunist, zoogeographer, specialist in plant protection from pests. Novitates Theriologicae, 14, 218–221. (in Ukrainian)

Myhulin O.O. (1938). Mammals of the Ukrainian RSR (Materials to Fauna). AS Ukr. SSR, Kyiv, 1–426. (in Ukrainian)

Pidoplichko I.G. (1968). Researcher of the fauna of Ukraine А. А. Mygulin. Vestnik zoologii, 6, 84–86. (in Russian)

Pryn’ M.O. (2010). The Luhansk regional museum is a centre of work on the guard of monuments of history and culture on the east of Ukraine. Pratsi Tsentru Pamjatkoznavstva, 17, 151–156. (in Ukrainian)

Pryn’ M.O. (2012). Creation and activity of the Artemivsk District Museum in the 1920s and early 1930s. Topical Issues in the History of Science and Technology: Materials of the 11th All-Ukrainian Scientific Conference. Center for Heritage Research, NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv, 81–84. (in Ukrainian)

Putshkov P., Zagorodniuk I. (2022). Pidoplichko Ivan Grygorovych, a mammalogist, palaeontologist, palaeoecologist, archaeologist, and museologist. Novitates Theriologicae, 14, 249–253. (in Ukrainian)

Rybalchenko L.L. (1993). From the history of the museum of Slobidska Ukraine (20s). In: Problems of museology and historical regional studies: Scientific conference on May 18–19, 1993 for the International Day of Museums. Kharkiv, 48. (in Ukrainian)

Rudynsky O.N. (1936). To the biology of the pine vole. Proceedings of the Physics and Mathematics Department of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, 11, 125–128. (Series: Proceedings of the Zoological Museum; Issue 16). (in Ukrainian)

Sosnovska T.O., Yaroshyk V.O. (comp.). (2009). Museum business in Kharkiv region: formation and development: index. Kharkiv State Scientific Library named after V. G. Korolenko, Kharkiv, 1–265. (in Ukrainian)

Chernyakov D.A. (2007). Essay on the history of the Black Sea Reserve. JSC HGT, Kherson, 1–64. (in Russian)

Shevchenko L.S., Zolotukhina S.I. (2005). Mammals. Issue 2. Insectivores, Bats, Lagomorphs, Rodents. Zoological Museum, NMNH of Ukraine. Kyiv, 1–238. (Series: Catalogue of collections of the Zoological Museum of the NMNH NAS of Ukraine). (in Russian)

Yarotska M.O., Yarotskiy V.Yu. (2016). Territorial distribution of forest vegetation in the valley of the Sіverskіy Donets River within the Forest-Steppe zone. Ukrainian Botanical Journal, 73(4), 367–377. https://doi.org/10.15407/ukrbotj73.04.367 (in Ukrainian)

How to Cite
Zagorodniuk, I. (2023). A hedgehog from Luxembourg: the story of a specimen as evidence of migrations of museum collections between Kharkiv and Kyiv in the 1930s. The Journal of V.N.Karazin Kharkiv National University. Series «Biology», 40, 4-18. https://doi.org/10.26565/2075-5457-2023-40-1