|First United States museum dedicated to Greek culture, National Hellenic Museum, opens |
The exterior of the new 40,000-square-foot National Hellenic Museum in Chicagos Greektown neighborhood. The new four-story, green building of limestone and glass opened in early December. AP Photo/National Hellenic Museum.
By: Caryn Rousseau, Associated Press
CHiCAGO (AP).- Dolls a Greek woman made during World War II. Ice cream bowls and wooden spoons from a 1940s Greek candy store. Thousands of record albums filled with Greek music.
These items and many other beloved objects and family heirlooms have found their way from around the country to the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago, which has a new place to store and exhibit them all, in a four-story 40,000-square-foot environmentally friendly building of limestone and glass that opened in early December.
The $20 million project in the city's Greektown neighborhood, which includes temporary and permanent exhibition space, classrooms, oral history archives, a library and roof patio overlooking downtown, replaces the museum's previous space a few blocks away on one floor of a four-story building.
"This museum became by default the repository for artifacts from the Greek American experience because there was no other place people felt secure donating their items," said Stephanie Vlahakis, the museum's executive director.
Outside the museum, the street bustles with diners at Greek restaurants like The Parthenon, Athena or Santorini. A group of men speak Greek during an animated game of backgammon at the Panhellenic Pastry Shop with mounds of powdered sugar almond cookies and baklava piled in the glass cases behind the counter.
"We are telling the story of Greek America," Vlahakis said. "We just start from the beginning, from ancient times and bring it to the modern times."
The museum is a work in progress, with a skeleton version of the permanent exhibit on the second floor. Curators have scribbled design concepts in colored marker on the walls, like "absolutely want mosaic work" or "look into etching on glass?" The hope is to raise enough money to fill the displays out in a year.
But there is still plenty to see: shelves filled with items from a Greek family in New York, a wall of black and white pictures that chronicles the story of Greek immigrants in America and an area to learn the Greek alphabet. Visitors can watch a short introductory video narrated by, who else, George Stephanopoulos.
Museum curator Bethany Fleming hopes to travel to Greece and make casts of columns, gates and parts of temples to bring back to Chicago.
Downstairs the temporary exhibit space is home to "Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece," an exhibit on loan from the Children's Museum of Manhattan until August. It's a child's view of the daily life of ancient Greece and its legends and heroes, like Aristotle, Odysseus and Cyclops.
"What we want to do with all our exhibits is create a place where all generations of visitors can connect," Fleming said.
There's a kid-sized recreated Greek temple, and children can dress up in togas in front of a mirror or crawl into a jungle-gym Trojan horse. Interspersed are nearly three dozen Greek artifacts, including coins, pottery and figurines. One Macedonian drachma coin dates to 336-323 B.C. and is about the size of a dime.
The museum building itself is inspired by nature, containing elements of earth, air, fire and water. Inside a large, sky-lit stairway leads visitors from east to west, symbolizing the travel of Greek immigrants from Europe to America. Everything, Vlahakis says, was done deliberately to parallel the Greek American experience.
"So much of our world is inspired by the ancient," she said.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
December 28, 2011
Helen Frankenthaler, esteemed abstract artist for six decades, dies at 83 in Connecticut
Biennale appoints new Directors: David Chipperfield for Architecture and Alberto Barbera for Cinema
Professor Dr. Curt Glaser heirs sell Jan Van de Velde II painting back to the Rijksmuseum
Smithsonian Institution Fiscal Year 2012 Federal Appropriation totals $811.5 million
German industry mogul and Harvard Museum supporter Werner Otto dies at 102
Nest Egg Auctions to host Gala Holiday New Year's auction on January 7
Art that has a life of its own: London's Kinetica Art Fair 2012 exhibitors announced
Thomas Jefferson's Virginia estate Monticello highlights slaves' stories in new website
First United States museum dedicated to Greek culture, National Hellenic Museum, opens
Toledo Museum of Art to celebrate 50th anniversary of the Studio Glass Movement
Nelson-Atkins Museum attendance Jumps to 410,000, awarded re-accreditation
Ayyam Auctions announces Sixth edition of Young Collectors sale in January
Arnolfini presents part two of a major historical survey of museums created by artists
Electric Railway Museum wins major national award
Smithsonian receives $2 million grant from Coca-Cola Foundation
The Speed Art Museum announces temporary closure during the construction
Idaho man's Museum of Clean ready to shine
Vietnam store makes Christmas tree from cellphones
1941 fruitcake in Ohio sells for $525
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- 'Feeling Van Gogh' makes art accessible for visually impaired visitors
2.- Art lovers get naked for new exhibition tours at the National Gallery of Australia
3.- Broken in life, Billie Holiday enjoys revival on the 100th anniversary of her birth
4.- Research reveals significantly different composition in Jean-Honoré Fragonard's Young Girl Reading
5.- Retrospective exhibition of photographs by Luke Smalley opens at ClampArt
6.- Jewish teenager Anne Frank died at least a month earlier than thought, new study says
7.- Archaeologists find items that attest to the existence of an Egyptian administrative centre
8.- 'All the Rage in Paris: Diaghilev's Ballets Russes' on view at the McNay Art Museum
9.- Exhibition illustrates the fascinating creativity of Gustave Doré in an era of great changes
10.- Cynthia Lennon, British first wife of John Lennon, dies aged 75: Julian Lennon
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|