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Agricultural equipment from the collection of the Museum of Greek Folk Art


Museum of Greek Folk Art


The Museum of Greek Folk Art belongs to the state and comes under the Ministry of Culture. It was founded in 1918 under the name "Museum of Greek Handicrafts" and was housed in the Tsisdarakis Mosque in Monastiraki Square. In 1923 it was renamed the "National Museum of Decorative Arts". It was given its present name in 1959.

Until 1973 the museum was housed in the Tsisdarakis in Monastiraki Square. Its main functions were then transferred to the building at Kydathinaion 17 in Plaka. There are museum annexes in the Tzami where the "V. Kyriazopoulos collection of folk pottery" now is housed as well as in the building at Kyrrestou 8, known as the "Baths of Athena" and the building at Thespidos 8 in Plaka.

The Museum owns rich collections of objects representing all branches of folk art: embroidery, weaving, costumes, masquerades, shadow theatre, silver work, metalwork, pottery, woodcarving, folk painting (works of Theophilos Hatzimichail) and stone carving. The collection dates from 1650 until today.

Well presented items at the Museum of Greek Folk ArtThe ground floor is dedicated to embroidery exhibits, including elaborate articles made for the matrimonial bed using symbolic and narrative subjects. On the mezzanine there is a small pottery collection from Skyros and Tsanakkale as well as metalwork and artifacts carved in wood such as utensils and objects of worship from all over Greece. There also are five costumes from masquerade celebrations from Nikissiani of Kavala, Kali Vrissi of Drama Sochos of Thessaloniki and of Naoussa and Skyros. Opposite is a reconstruction of an entire stage with all the popular heroes of the folk shadow theater.

The first floor is largely dedicated to temporary exhibitions while the rest of the floor houses a permanent exhibition of works by Theofilos Chatzimichail (1868-1934), an outstanding modern Greek naïve painter. Among his most impressive works are murals removed from a house in Mitilini.

On the second floor visitors can admire silverwork, divided into ecclesiastical objects (crosses, chalises, cherubim, shrines and gospel covers) and secular objects (trays, weaponry, flintlock pistols, cartridge belts, powder flasks, scimitars) as well as women’s jewelry (coronets, earrings and clasps). All these objects display elaborate decorations inspired by nature as well as by Christian symbols.

Traditional costumes of Greek Folk ArtThe highest floor of the museum is dedicated to traditional costume from all over Greece. Both male and female costumes are shown, festive wear, particularly for weddings, and daily costumes, some plain, some colorful and richly decorated.

The Museum of Greek Folk Art also has a library with 5.000 volumes on folk art, folklore, ethnology and museology as well as rich photographic, film and sound archives. The conservations laboratory for museum objects is staffed by specialists in the conservations of fabrics and different materials, especially wood and metal.

Finally, the museum organizes educational programs, creative workshops for children, pottery classes and shadow theatre performances. On the last Sunday of carnival, the museum mounts a festival based in Kidathinaion Street and the surrounding area. Dance groups from all over Greece perform traditional carnival dances and dances relating to fertility rites and nature worship.

The Tsisdarakis Mosque, which houses the V. Kyriazopoulos Collection of Folk Pottery, the old Ottoman Baths at 8, Kirristou Street and the building at 8, Thespidos Street in Plaka are all branches of the museum. In addition, a collection of tools relating to professions has recently been mounted at 22, Panos Street in Plaka. This permanent exhibition has a modern approach towards the exhibition concept and aims to familiarize visitors with the idea of work in traditional societies.

Opening hours Opening hours and admission
Locaton map 6 Ang. Hadjimichali - Plaka

Nearest metro station
Syntagma - Monastiraki Top



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