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National Hellenic Museum Opens in Chicago

The National Hellenic Museum has opened in Chicago it is the first and only major museum in the country dedicated to the Greek journey, from ancient times to the modern Greek American experience.

Chicago has one of the world’s largest Greek populations. But Greek or not, this journey touches everyone. Greek history and culture is at the very foundation of western civilization, and continues to influence our lives to this day. Our government, language, architecture and theater all have their roots in ancient Greece.

National Hellenic Museum

The Museum’s first feature exhibit is Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece, located in the John P. Calamos, Sr. Great Hall. This family-friendly exhibition, created by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, gives visitors of all ages the chance to meet with Greek gods, enjoy 25 interactive experiences, climb into a 12-foot Trojan Horse and imagine themselves in the detailed texture of life in ancient Greece. This special exhibit runs from December through August 2012.

Located in a new 40,000-square-foot space that is both contemporary and timeless, the Museum connects all generations—past, present and future—to the rich heritage of Greek history, culture, art and the Greek American experience.

“We don’t just preserve Greek culture; we celebrate it,” said Stephanie Vlahakis, the National Hellenic Museum’s executive director. “The contributions of ancient Greece and of Greek America are everywhere in our culture. The U.S. is a country of immigrants, and these stories will strike a universal chord with museum goers. We all share the legacy of ancient Greece and of the Greek American experience. That’s why we say we’re all Greek! This Museum is for everyone.”

Previously the Museum occupied space in temporary locations. The new three-story LEED-certification-pending building is the home to interactive permanent exhibits and high-profile traveling exhibits, as well as a children’s education center, research library, oral history center, rooftop terrace, gift shop and special events hall. As Chicago’s newest world-class cultural attraction, the Museum is expected to attract area residents, regional visitors and international tourists.

“The National Hellenic Museum has been important to the culture and character of our neighborhood for years,” Chicago 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. said. “Now, in its new building, it can take its rightful place as an anchor in the heart of Greektown.”

The National Hellenic Museum’s mission is to preserve and explore Hellenism and to chronicle the Greek American journey through exhibitions, oral histories, archival collections and education programs. Our purpose is to inspire in people of all backgrounds a curiosity for their own story through a greater connection to Greek history, culture and the arts. Located at the corner of Halsted and Van Buren in the heart of Chicago’s famed Greektown, the Museum celebrates its grand opening in December 2011. For more information, visit or call 312-655-1234.

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