Museum founder I. F. Pavlovsky
Ivan Frantsevych Pavlovsky was born in Bobrove, Kaluga province village, on 9th (22nd) January, 1851. In 1854 his family moved to Poltava region. At first they lived in Homutets village, Myrgorod district, but later they came to Poltava where his father worked as a foreman in a railway repair workshop. In 1870 Pavlovsky finished Poltava Public High School; in 1874 he graduated from St.Vladimir University in Kyiv (historical and philological Department, with a Candidate’s Degree). After his graduation, he returned to Poltava and started working as a teacher at the local Petrovsky Cadet School. Having worked for almost 40 years, he resigned in 1913. For his scientific and pedagogical activities he was decorated with the following orders: the Order of St. Stanislav III (1879), the Order of St. Ann III (1883), the Order of St. Stanislav II (1887), the Order of St. Vladimir IV (1895), the Order of St. Vladimir III (1909). In the noble genealogical book of Poltava province there is the record № 2653 on 27th October, 1903: «The Heraldry Cabinet Edict of stating the Nobility rank of a counselor of State I.F. Pavlovsky, his wife Olga and daughters —Aleksandra, Vera, Antonia and Liubov». Later, his rank of State counselor, equal to a general rank, was officially approved. Pavlovsky was personally awarded by the Russian tsar Nicholas II on 27th June, 1909.
In addition to his teaching activity at Petrovsky Cadet School, Pavlovsky was also engaged in a wide range of public works: he was a co-founder of the Public enlightenment Project; he taught history; lectured on the region history at Sunday Schools; was the most active participant of the Poltava Battle Bicentennial festivity preparations.
In 1903 I.F. Pavlovsky was a co-founder of Scientific Archive Commission in Poltava Province together with O. Maltsev, L. Padalko and V. Shchepotyev. He had been a Secretary of this Commission all the time up to its disembodiment in 1919.
According to the decree of the Synod, Orthodoxy Church Senior Authority, Poltava Church Archeological Committee started its work on 26th October, 1906. That was due to initiative of a group of scientists which was represented by such figures as: V.O. Parhomenko and I.F. Pavlovsky, lecturers of Poltava theological college; O.F. Mal’tsev, a scientist-doctor and the Head of Poltava Psycho neurological Hospital.
This Committee played an important role in the Poltava Battle History Museum foundation. For the first time the question of Poltava Battle History Museum creation in honour of its Bicentennial Anniversary was raised by I. F. Pavlovsky in his article in the newspaper «Istorychnyj Visnyk» (Historical Herald). Pavlovsky undoubtedly can be considered as a «Father» of Poltava Battle History Museum. He submitted a project of a Museum at the Swedish Grave to Poltava Church Archeological Committee on 13th August, 1907.
Working at the museum collection, Pavlovsky visited many scientific institutions, Archives, museums (The Museum of Artillery in Saint-Petersburg), Academy of Science and Arts, Russian Empire Public Library; moreover, he was in correspondence with Royal Archives in Stockholm. For this collection, Swedish officers Tama and Sparre presented portraits of generals, which hadn’t been known in Russian editions beforehand. The museum exposition was personally worked out by Pavlosky for 2 months and set up with the help of his colleagues and cadets of Petrovsky military school. The Poltava Battle Museum was inaugurated on 26th June, 1909; Pavlovsky became the director of this Museum. In 1910 he issued «The catalogue of Poltava Battle Museum at the Swedish Grave». There were displayed 339 exhibits collected by Pavlovsky. They are: the portraits of Peter I, Charles XII, Ivan Mazepa and officers of both armies, pictorial canvases, prints and engravings, weapons and flags. The results of studying of Poltava Battle history by Pavlovsky were such issues as: «Poltava Battle on 27th of June 1709 and its monuments», «The Swedish Grave» and «As to the Swedish Grave history» — these books are still popular among the researchers.
Last years of his life Pavlovsky studied Poltava Battle History and its monuments and worked in the Museum. Nowadays, due to Swedish Archives, it is known that Pavlovsky was in correspondence with the Swedish side about erecting of «The monument to Swedish Warriors from compatriots» in Poltava. Pavlovsky actively cooperated with the Swedish archeological team, which worked in Poltava and in its outskirts in 1911. In one of the Royal Archive photos we can see I.F. Pavlovsky and K. Benedych, the Head of the Swedish expedition.
Scientific and Research work in the museum of Pavlovsky was interrupted by the October Revolution and the Civil War. After a few burglary cases I.F. Pavlovsky had to give the rest of the exposition to the Poltava Central Proletarian Museum (nowadays: Poltava Local Lore Museum). There it was displayed under the name of «Poltava Battle». But, in spite of destitution, achievements of Pavlovsky haven’t been forgotten: in 1950 the work of the Poltava Battle History Museum was resumed. On the 30th March, 1981 the Poltava Battle History Museum and its monuments were declared as the State Historical and Cultural Preserve «Poltava Battle Field». Eventually our museum became cultural and methodological centre on Ukraine History of XIV-XVIII centuries in the European History context of that time. The museum is the only one Ukrainian member of IAMAM — International Association of Arms & Military History Museums under the aegis of UNESCO- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The Scientist died on 27th May, 1922. Last five years of Pavlovsky life touched the times of Bolshevism. In 1919 Scientific Archive Commission was disbanded and Pavlovsky also suspended his publishing activity. In spite of being in great difficulties, historian kept on working. According to his relatives’ testimonies, he kept a dairy and fixed carefully all events in Poltava. These notes of the scientist were preserved in the Family Archives. A worker of Poltava Arhives — Taras Pustovit — says these notes were liquidated by scientist’s family in troublous 30-s of XX century.
Thus, the scientific research work of I.F. Pavlovsky is a priceless source of History and Culture of Poltava Region and must be considered as a starting point of research works for modern regional ethnographers, historians, archeologists, writers and everybody who is interested in Past of his region.