Museum of Vasil Bykov
By 80-years anniversary of the national writer of Belarus Vasil Bykov on his native land, in a village Bychki of area Ushachi, the Museum of Vasil Bykov was opened. To tell the truth, it is not an estate, because it contains only a modest house and two farm buildings. Under the decision of Vitebsk authorities they were built up new. Actually the house, in which child’s pre-war years of the future writer passed, had been constructed within several years by his father Vladimir Fedorovich Bykov. Family Bykov`s family went into this house in 1932 or 1933. The sister of writer Valentina Vladimirovna, who is 78 years old now, testifies it:
In a new house the family went to live, when it had not been completed yet - the first years even the floor was earthen. Vasil Bykov had lived there only few years, as still before war, he went to Vitebsk to study. Then there were four years of war, then - army service, a transfer to the reserve, Minsk, Grodno, conscription again, returning to Grodno, moving on permanent residences to Minsk. Thus, since 40th years, Vasil Bykov did not live in Bychki. Only sometimes he came to visit relatives and native places.
When parents died and nobody lived in the house (brother Mikola moved into a peasant house, in which before war an elementary school situated and where Vasil Bykov had studied for two years; Valentina married and moved to the village Volcho of the same Ushachi area), Vasil Bykov was asked what to do with an old house Bykov answered categorically: "Burn it". But the house continued to exist, slowly going to ruin. By April, 2004, when it was pulling down, the ceiling and the floor had failed.
The house was small, it had a little hall and one room, which Vladimir Fedorovich separated into the kitchen and a living-room. Builders kept only an oven from the house. However, when builders saw the condition of the oven, they made it anew. They also demolished farm buildings. There new bases were erected, new shells were put up. On their place the bases which was not earlier have been erected, put new срубы. A new owner here is Mikola Kirpich. He is director of the Museum of national glory in Ushachi. He says that a new house is an accurate copy of an old one, but some disparities exist. Though Kirpich had to do some fighting, for example, for the size of entrance doors - according to modern standards the doorway must be two meters twenty centimeters, however when argued and Kirpich was asked: “You are very high, how you will go through the doorway?” - “The same as Bykov went”, - Kirpich answered. Nevertheless, as Valentina Bykova testifies, the ceiling became higher and logs were not rough-hewed. There was no fence - now it surrounds the estate (moreover, one part of the fence is constructed not in Belarusian, but in Russian architectural traditions). And if earlier the pipe was on the roof from the side of road, now - from the side of the yard.
By the way, Valentina herself made curtains for the museum. She recalled how she made curtains fifty years ago from bandage and newspapers and now tried to make a copy. And, at Kirpich`s request, she showed, where all things stood earlier - where wooden beds and tables were, where millstones laid, where a distaff was the Original exhibits of an estate can be counted on the fingers of one hand: two stools, an oven-door, door-handles, a poker and an icon of Divine Mother. Last years the icon was kept in Mikola`s house. Moreover, the portrait of young Bykov is hanging on the wall and near the house there are an oak and a maple, which were planted by writer’s brother. And a little garden is seen yet. A few bushes and apple-trees remained from family’s garden. This garden shows the position of an old house in which all children of Anna and Vladimir were born: Vasil, Valentina and Mikola.
However, the writer’s sister remained pleased with the museum: “The new house is beautiful!” She says: “My house is like a small church...” Also adds: “Thanks, certainly, that you respect and remember Vasil”.