CHICAGO – While the City of Chicago is expected to enter Phase 4 of the Illinois’ reopening plan between June 28 and July 1, allowing museums and other public spaces to reopen with limited capacities and other safety requirements, the National Hellenic Museum (NHM) announced on June 24 that it determined it is in the best interest of public safety to continue to offer access to collections and exhibitions online. Its building will remain closed at this time.
“In the best interest of our supporters, community, and staff, we continue to look at Phase 4 guidelines which are applied to museums of various sizes throughout the state,” said Kristi Athas on behalf of the NHM. “While we have a magnificent structure in the heart of Chicago’s Greektown neighborhood, the social distancing and capacity restrictions – which we fully support – pose challenges for our smaller space, requiring our continued consideration. We are excited to continue and expand our online options.”
Among those online options is the NHM’s Oral History Collection. The National Hellenic Society (NHS) has partnered in the effort to gather and archive more stories of the Greek American experience, adding to the Collection. First-hand accounts and personal stories are critical to scholars, genealogists, communities, and families. The goal is to grow the Collection through outreach to local communities and parishes representing more diverse experiences within the Greek story in America. It will provide young Greek Americans among NHS’s Heritage Greece alumni opportunities to both connect with Greek-American history and have a hand in preserving the rich legacy they have inherited.
Also among the NHM’s newer virtual offerings is a collection of eight paintings by George Kokines, donated by Kokines’ daughter, Anne Miller, and available for viewing on the NHM Collections Portal.
“One very real advantage of offering collections such as the Kokines paintings online is they can remain available for viewing even after an exhibit is rotated out of the Museum’s gallery,” said Athas.
In July, NHM will launch its first ever online exhibition, Snapshots of Life: The Photograph Collection of George Phillos. This exhibition is built entirely around artifacts held in the NHM collection and highlights Phillos, an early 20th-century Greek immigrant to the United States who took photographs over several decades and across the United States and Greece. The exhibition illuminates the experiences of early Greek immigrants to the United States on their journey toward becoming Americans and is built around the themes of Military Service, Entrepreneurship, and Community.
The Museum remains committed to its Greek Language Program and is pleased to share that students successfully completed the recent term online. NHM staff is using the summer months to plan for a fall virtual offering and will continue to monitor safety guidelines toward resuming on-site classes.
About the National Hellenic Museum
The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) preserves, portrays and celebrates Greek history, culture and the impact of Hellenism in America through educational classes, exhibits and programs. With a growing repository of over 20,000 artifacts, the Museum catalogs and highlights the contributions of Greeks and Greek Americans to the American mosaic and inspires curiosity about visitors’ own family journeys through cultural expression, oral history and experiential education. Located in Chicago’s Greektown, the NHM provides lifelong learning for the whole community using artifacts and stories to spark inquiry and discussion about the broader issues in our lives.
More information is available online: https://www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org or by phone: 312-655-1234.