CHICAGO, IL – Over 700 of the city’s Greek-American and Philhellene community members attended the National Hellenic Museum’s (NHM) annual Gala held at the impressive Field Museum Saturday May 9th. A collaboration between the two museums announced at last year’s gala will complement the anticipated exhibit “The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander the Great” set to launch November 26th of this year.
Award-winning radio and television reporter Andrea Darlas emceed that night, while speakers included NHM Chairman of the Board of Trustees John P. Calamos Sr., NHM Executive Director Elizabeth Martin, and NHM co-Chairs Aristotle Halikias and John S. Koudounis.
“The collaboration with the Field Museum is an incredible connection,” said Aristotle P. Halikias, past president and current vice-chairman of the board of trustees of the NHM.
In an elegant dinner setting among Greek column designs, stuffed elephants, and dinosaur bones, the event also featured a silent auction and live musical entertainment by Thanos Petrelis and the Chris Sarlas Orchestra.
“Through an exhibition like this we have the opportunity to tell the amazing story of Ancient Greece and the emergence of Western civilization to hundreds of thousands of people in America,” said Dr. Bill Parkinson, Curator of Eurasian Anthropology at the Field Museum. “What’s most exciting for me is that this is not just another Ancient Greek exhibit with a bunch of classical pots. Throughout the show, we focus on the individual and how the individual interacted with others and with the gods throughout their life,” he added.
The upcoming exhibit will include some of the most iconic artifacts from ancient Greece, with over 500 objects from 22 different Greek museums, some of which are being showcased outside the country for the first time. The exhibit follows the “Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections” display featured at the Art Institute of Chicago that closed May 10th.
“This is one of the biggest exhibitions showing Greek antiquities throughout the years,” said Consul General Ioanna Efthimiadou. “Since this is the U.S. opening it’s very important because it’s one of the rare cases where such a big event is starting in the Midwest, especially for a city so well connected with the arts,” she added.
In collaboration with the Field Museum, the National Hellenic Museum will be hosting parallel programming including small events and various activities associated with the Field Museum’s hosted exhibit.
“What we will try to do through this program is to allow the NHM to reach out not only to the Greek-American community in Chicago, but reaching out to the Pan-American community, speaking to them on the basis of values and ideas that are part and parcel of the American way of life,” said Ambassador Loucas Tsilas, former executive director of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation in the United States.
“Our opportunity to partner with the Field Museum is unprecedented and a great opportunity to elevate the awareness of the National Hellenic Museum by providing thought-provoking complimentary exhibits and programs that further tell the story of the Greeks, Martin said. “We are grateful for the leadership that the our Chairman of the Board of Trustees showed by providing the funding needed to secure the exhibit and bring it to the Field Museum of Chicago, one of only two stops in the United States,” she added.
After its stay in Chicago, the exhibit will move on to Washington, DC. To learn more about “The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander the Great” and special related programs and events, visit fieldmuseum.org and nationalhellenicmuseum.org.