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Memorial exposition

The Franko House is located on a picturesque hill of Sofiyivka, a well-known Lviv district, named after a local church of St. Sofiya (currently it is Greek Catholic church of St Sofiya), that has its own ancient fascinating history.
A small two-storey villa was built in «Swiss» style at the Franko family’s expense. The family moved here in 1902, and the writer lived here for his last 14 years.

It had always been Franko’s cherished dream to have his own house, as for a long time he had been renting flats for himself and his close ones. Franko’s push to make his dream come true was a little sum of money he was presented with on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his literary and public activity in 1898.

The villa was built within 1901-1902. According to the writer’s wife, Olha (née Khoruzhynska), the house was designed according to the model of the Kyiv house of a historian, Volodymyr Antonovych. Preserved photos prove similarity of the two houses.
The walls of the Franko House were erected by a Polish master Tseslevych and a renowned Lviv builder Martsyn Zakhodni, with Franko and his family assisting in the house construction.

The writer with his sons planted a lot of fruit trees and bushes around the house. Even now, on the nearby hill there grows a long-lasting resident of the garden – a pear tree, planted by Ivan Franko himself.
Nowadays, seven main rooms of the memorial museum, elegant and stylish, although far from being luxurious interiors, personal belongings, ancient books and art works keep the spirit of a person that became the symbol of the whole era It was possible to recreate the family life, everyday items, and the rooms appearance of the Franko House thanks to detailed memoirs and advice of Anna Franko-Kliuchko that she was kind enough to share with the museum staff during her visits to Lviv in 1967 and 1971, as well as in her numerous letters.

Entrance hall

This room will begin your acquaintance with Frank’s house, the history of the villa and its inhabitants. Famous, respectable, and not-so-famous guests came here, knocked on the oak door, and waited for the doctor if he was not at home, reading the latest newspapers and magazines. This is where the museum staff welcomed Anne Franko-Kliuchko back in 1967. Museum workers meet visitors here every day, rejoicing in the fact that people flock to Franko’s house again and again.


The largest and brightest room in the Franko House was the family salon, that also served as Ivan Franko’s working cabinet. It was a dream of every honourable Galician family – a living room like that, where all the writer’s prominent contemporaries were welcomed: Lesia Ukrainka, Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyi, Volodymyr Hnatiuk, Borys Hrinchenko, Ivan Trush etc. Franko’s workshop, where his famous works and grand plans were created, where philosophical disputes and political battles took place. The room that Franko’s children happily played «hide and seek» in, playfully calling it «Siberia». The doors of the room were widely open for guests during the writer’s life; here he started his eternal journey and was bid farewell, too.

Most of the items present here are memorial. These are not only photos and paintings that hung here during the writer’s life, but also his personal belongings and family presents from famous friends and guests.


The Franko House had a special room… for books. It was the library. A real family treasure cave, where high bookcases shelves hid paper «strange pearls», where only the host knew all the corners of this treasury and could find a needed book even in complete darkness.

Books always had the greatest value for Ivan Franko. He started collecting them while studying at a gymnasium, and could boast as many as 500 volumes when entering Lviv university. Traveling around Ukraine and Europe, Franko visited antique shops, monastery libraries, personal libraries and archives, finding rare manuscripts and books there.

Franko’s library was one of the biggest private book collections in Galicia. And, although sometimes Franko didn’t have a spare penny, he never parted with his treasures. One could find a book to every taste and need on the shelves of this room. It speaks volumes about the variety of its polyglot host’s interests. According to the writer’s testament, after his death, the library and the archive were passed to the Shevchenko Scientific Society in Lviv. Т. Alas, Soviets did not take Franko’s will into consideration, therefore, in 1950, his whole archive was moved to Kyiv, where it is kept up till today at the Shevchenko Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine.

Books that fill the Museum’s bookcases nowadays have been collected according to the writer’s catalogs. In that way it was possible to reproduce a part of Franko’s library. 

Men's bedroom

«Why men’s bedroom?» – museum visitors often ask, winking at the guide with a sly smile. Of course, this room was not always a witness of tragic stories during the family’s life at the house. Still, the dim and gloomy atmosphere is chilling visitors to the bone, as the men’s bedroom exposition is dedicated to one of the hardest periods in Franko and his family’s life. During his last years, the writer suffered from the severe disease – his hands were paralysed, and he constantly needed help and accompaniment. His eldest son Andriy was his loyal assistant in times of the disease, basically becoming his father’s «hands» up till the last days of his short life.

A portrait of Franko’s firstborn, Andriy, is hanging above the bed where he had slept, reminding us about one of this room’s occupants. The other occupant – his father – is represented by a white embroidered shirt (the only Franko’s shirt that was preserved up till today) and an image of the Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses. Franko wrote his poem Moses before the first serious strike of his disease, and, ironically, our Ukrainian Moses was weak, poor and alone during the years of his literary triumph and fame. However, creative ideas often floated in this bedroom as well, and the residents made plans for the future and dreamed of happiness.

Women's bedroom

This room was at some point occupied by the house’s hostess Olha Franko (née Khoruzhynska) and the youngest of Franko’s children – Anna. In her memoir, the daughter wrote: «Only my and mother’s bedroom was rich. Here, there was furniture my mother brought from Kyiv, some paintings, and carpets». It was not strange at all, as Olha Khoruzhynska was an educated, honourable, intelligent and well-behaved young lady, and a bride with rich dowry, too.

The story of Olha Franko (née Khoruzhynska) still has quite a lot of dark stains, untold mysteries and gossips. A complicated life story of Franko’s wife, her way to recognizing herself as a Ukrainian, a story of hope and frustration, challenges and sacrifices, victories and defeats, a story of symbolic union of Galicia and Greater Ukraine. How a young Kyiv lady, with excellent for that time education, «a great enthusiast of the Ukrainian literature, music and theatre» decided to marry a famous Ukrainian writer, how she discovered a fantastic world of Galician culture and everyday life and, finally, what became out of it – that is the topic of the women’s bedroom exposition.

Dining room

The warmest room in the Franko House was a dining room – a place of frequent family gatherings. It was a place to dine and communicate on weekdays and holidays, a place for children to study and play, for the father to write his new works and edit another issue of Literary-scientific Herald of the Shevchenko Scientific Society, and for the mother to mend the clothes or to embroider.

This is a place with a live memory of Franko, who loved a «three-layer» coffee and a mushroom soup, was fascinated by fishing, picking mushrooms, as well as traveling, and of Mrs Franko and her household. Here, a new samovar just brought from Odessa hisses and burbles, and the family silver chatters. Here, it smells of a favourite birthday cake and Olha Fedorivna’s special jams. Here, the voices of small Franko’s children can be heard, when they douse themselves with water or run around dressed like Indians. As, although the Frankos loved their house, only this room became truly family one and stayed like this up till now.

Second floor

Taras and Petro Franko's room

One of the two rooms on the second floor belonged to the Franko brothers – Taras and Petro. While their father was still alive, they were very close and friendly and didn’t mind sharing the space. After the war, the already married men and their families came back here to their mother and lived in their parental home, until they founded their father’s museum here. Both – Petro and Taras – were the Museum’s directors at different periods. The actual exposition of the brothers’ room tells us what Taras and Petro were like, what they longed for, about their families and everyday life, about their descendants. Here, you will listen to their life stories, so complicated and full of events, stories of honourable people who, regardless of difficult historical circumstances, craved for full and free life, who acted with dignity and lived according to their father’s words – «only fighting, can you truly live».

Second floor

Olha Franko's room

Another women’s room of the Franko House awaits for you on the second floor. The main character of the exposition is Olha Franko (née Khoruzhynska), the villa’s hostess, the writer’s wife, his “loyal friend and companion”. However, here she is presented at a different period – during the last years of her life in this house. She lived here after returning from the hospital and up until her very death. For some time, she was a neighbor to her sons and their families, later sharing her house with other people, renting the first floor. And even when her husband’s museum was already up and running on the first floor of the house, the old lady in black didn’t leave her home. Personal belongings and an old piano of a respectable Austrian brand reminds of her hobbies and youth memories, that warmed Mrs Franko’s heart till her last days.

In this room, there are some family photos hanging on the walls, depicting the mother and the daughter – Olha Franko and Anna Franko-Kliuchko, and on the table there lie their long tender and sad letters, that they often wrote to one another after Ivan Franko’s death. Anna, a married woman with two wonderful boys at that time, never managed to persuade her mother to move in with her for good, Olha only agreed to come for visits. Olha Franko categorically refused to leave her home. Anna returned to her home walls, but after her mother’s death already, many years later, in 1967. This room’s exposition will also tell you about a complicated life of the youngest of Franko’s children.