Maecenas, philanthropist and collector (to the 190th anniversary of the birth of V. Didushytsky – founder Natural History Museum in Lviv)
Authors: Karolczak K.
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Karolczak Kazimierz MAECENAS, PHILANTHROPIST AND COLLECTOR (to the 190th anniversary of the birth of V. Didushytsky – founder Natural History Museum in Lviv)
The founder of the Lviv Museum of Natural History was Count Volodymyr Didushytsky (1825-1899), one of the wealthiest aristocrats of the 19th century Galicia. Fascinated by the local fauna and flora from the young age, he supported scientific research in the field of so-called natural history. In 1880 he presented the Museum to the state of Galicia, yet he did not cease to finance its activities: to that aim, in 1893 he created an entail on the Potorytsya-Zarichchya estates of the Didushytsky family. He was a generous patron of science and culture: he sponsored publication of scientific works and textbooks, and funded scholarships for the education of the youth. He collected works of art, which constituted the Manchynsky-Didushytsky Gallery, opened after his death (1909). He substantially extended the Potorytsya library of the Didushytsky family, which he inherited from his father, and he opened it for the public. He also funded the library of the National School Board. He received international acclaim for the world exhibitions in Vienna (1873) and Paris (1878); he was responsible for the Galicia exposition in the former, and then for the whole Imperial exposition in the latter. On his initiative, industry and crafts schools began to be established in the country; he promoted folk culture and showed Europe the art of the Hutsuls. Though esteemed at the imperial court in Vienna, and awarded hereditary membership of the State’s Council, he did not feel at home in politics. He was, however, forced by the circumstances to take the position of the Speaker of the Diet of Galicia in Lviv. He was an associate member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in Krakow, an honorary doctor of the Lviv University, and a member of many European scientific societies, respected among the naturalists – especially ornithologists. Several Galician cities, first of all Lviv, awarded him honorary citizenship. Common regard and reverence that he earned in his lifetime in the multicultural society of Lviv made him a prominent figure that even now unites Poles and Ukrainians.