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Thursday, May 16 • 9:30am - 10:00am
(Architecture) A Comparative Finish Investigation of Vernacular Wood Structures at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village Alberta

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A Comparative Finish Investigation of Vernacular Wood Structures at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, Alberta
Both the Hlus (Xата Глусів) & Hewko (Xата Гевків) houses, located at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village (Села Спадщини Української Культури), are idiomatic of architectural and homesteading patterns of Ukrainian settlement in East-Central Alberta. A large open-air museum begun as a grass roots movement in the 1960s, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is a collection of relocated historic buildings. First curated as a locus for community, and to tell the tales of a people whose history was not considered to be “Canadian” at the time, this museum transferred ownership to the Province of Alberta in 1976 who carried out the majority of its current development. The two subject homes, as part of larger farmsteads, represent two significant stages in Ukrainian-Canadian settler history. The Hlus House (built 1915) represents a successful secondary stage of farm development, Pre-WWI, settlers having moved out of their sod houses and having cleared tens of acres of their 140 acre title-to-be. These settlers adapted their vernacular building and decorative traditions to the geographic realities of locally available materials and economy. Contrastingly, Hewko House (built 1917), is representative of later stages of farm development, sometimes known as the Ukrainian-Canadian transitional style. During this period, when the Ukrainian-Canadian farmer did very well, contemporary “Canadian” building materials (paint, varnishes, enamels, and siding) were used for performance and style, masking the traditional vernacular Ukrainian building traditions beneath.
Every intervention in a building is an opportunity for its greater understanding. This presentation will consider the restoration of Hlus house, within the Gallician farmstead, along with a finish analysis of its exterior blue apron-wash, this is compared and contrasted with later finishes as used in Hewko House within its historical context. Research methodology includes historic records, a recently collated building material reference collection, and analytic methods including polarized light and fluorescence microscopy, FTIR, and SEM. Information gathered is of use in terms of building archaeology and replication of finishes (some of which have now been re-formulated). The author would like to thank colleagues from the Government of Alberta’s Heritage Division and the University of Alberta for their collaboration and support in this research.

Evan Oxland, Heritage Conservation Technologist
Conservation & Construction Services
Historic Resources Management Branch
Old St. Stephen’s College

avatar for Evan Oxland

Evan Oxland

Architectural Conservator, Government of Alberta
Evan Oxland is an architectural conservator working for Conservation & Construction Services within the Government of Alberta's Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism, and Status of Women. He has an MSc in Historic Preservation from UPenn, an MA from the University of Bristol, and... Read More →

Thursday May 16, 2019 9:30am - 10:00am EDT
Salon A1, Uncas Ballroom Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun