Upcoming Events at the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago

The National Hellenic Museum in Chicago. Photo: Public domain

CHICAGO – The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) will be presenting some fascinating exhibitions beginning with Reaching for the American Dream: The Greek Story in America which re-opens on June 22.  An exclusive members’ preview will takes place from 5:30 – 6:30 PM with an open house from 6:30 – 8:00 PM.

NHM’s core exhibit has been refreshed to include more objects, photographs, and personal stories that reflect the Greek American experience. In tracing the path of Greek immigration to America, Reaching for the American Dream: The Greek Story in America teaches about our shared heritage and preserves our history for generations to come.

The Greek Story in America encompasses thousands of unique experiences that portray the successes and hardships that contribute to the American mosaic. While creating communities, building businesses, and participating in defining moments of American history, Greek Americans have always sought to preserve their Greek identity and culture. Through educational programming, the National Hellenic Museum shares the ever-developing narratives of the Hellenic legacy and continues to protect our collective memories.

The exhibition is free for museum members and free with general admission for non-members. More information is available online: www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org.

On June 25, NHM hosts the lecture Monetary Greek Debt – From Ancient to Modern Times presented by Johanna Hanink, an Associate Professor of Classics at Brown University and author of The Classical Debt: Greek Antiquity in an Era of Austerity.

Hanink will discuss the International Monetary Fund’s first bailout of Greece’s sinking economy in 2010 and the phrase “Greek debt” which has meant one thing to the country’s creditors, but for millions who claim to prize culture over capital, it means something quite different: the symbolic debt that Western civilization owes to Greece for furnishing its principles of democracy, philosophy, mathematics, and fine art. Where did this other idea of Greek debt come from, Hanink asks, and why does it remain so compelling today? The lecture takes place from 3-5 PM. Registration and tickets- $15 non-members, $10 NHM members, and $5 students, are available online: www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org.

The Museum was founded as the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center in 1983. Nine years later, the HMCC opened its first facility on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. Then, in July 2004, the Museum moved to a new location at 801 South Adams Street in Chicago’s Greektown. In 2009, the Museum re-branded itself as the National Hellenic Museum with a new logo incorporating the Greek key design and a new mission statement: “Connecting generations through Greek history, culture, and art.”

The Museum opened in its current location on Halsted Street on December 10, 2011. It is a four-story, 40,000-square-foot LEED-certification-pending building that is home to extensive collections and archives of more than 20,000 artifacts spanning thousands of years.

The mission of the museum is to share the legacy of Hellenism and to preserve the stories and honor the contributions to the United States of Greek immigrants and Americans of Greek heritage.

A Greek-American from the south side of Chicago, Demetrios Stavrianos is the NHM’s principal designer. Stavrianos is the Senior Associate Vice President at the Chicago office of RTKL, a worldwide architecture, engineering, planning, and creative services organization. Stavrianos drew inspiration for the building from Greek monasteries and the “Meteroa,” which means “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above.” Other notable projects by Stavrianos include: Riverwalk at Port Imperial (Weehawken, NJ), US Capitol Visitor’s Center (Washington, DC), and the Food and Drug Administration Headquarters (White Oak, MD).