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Culture

Grand Opening of the Renovated Heritage Museum of Epirus in Astoria

NEW YORK – Folklore exhibits with objects from a different era, which bring the visitor in direct contact with the tradition of peoples long gone, are valuable to nations and community. The updated exhibits of the renovated Heritage Museum of the Society of Epirotes “Anagenesis”, which reopened its doors to the public after a year and a half, is welcoming and enlightening new visitors and old friends.

According to the President of the Association, Christos Pantazis, the space was under renovation, a decision taken during the pandemic, when due to health protocols, the possibility of visiting the site would have been limited anyway.

An official ceremony was held to mark the reopening of the museum, with those present paying tribute to all who worked for the excellent and tasteful result.

From left to right: Christos Pantazis, Eva Kantli, Vasiliki Kantli, Anastasia Mantziou and Dimitrios Moustopoulos. (Photo by TNH/C. Athanasatos)

“It’s the only one of its kind in New York City and we’re opening it up for everyone. There was a lot of work done by everybody, not just those of us present, but those who were involved 20 years ago when the museum originally opened. We’re just carrying on. We want to open it up to the Diaspora so they can come and see it,” Pantazis said.

The Heritage Museum of the Society of Epirotes “Anagenesis” was established in 2003 under the presidency of Christos Kotsovitsas. Most of the objects in the exhibits were collected by him, and then donations were made by other members. In addition to traditional costumes and jewelry, other typical traditional items of the Epirus heritage have been added to the collection, as well as photos from dances and activities of the Greek community in America that go back as far as eight decades.

The museum also includes photographic material of the Epirotes of America. (Photo by TNH/C. Athanasatos)

“Most of the exhibits are of costumes of men and women of the era, worn by parents and grandparents. We also have agricultural utensils, embroidery, musical instruments, jewellery, silverware, and photographs from the previous century, from the 1930s and beyond, old dances, etc.,” Pantazis said.

Eva Kantli, vice-president of the society, who was one of the members of the committee that worked intensively for the restoration of the Museum, pointed out that it is important to schedule visits, especially from schools, in order to showcase Epirus’ heritage and history.

“We invite everyone to come and see the work that has been done and the heritage we are leaving to the next generation. It is very important for us that the museum is open again. You can see for yourselves, it is definitely worth it. We would love to see the schools here as well, to learn about our history and see what we want to leave as a legacy for those to come,” said Kantli.

Many people attended the reopening of the renovated museum. (Photo by TNH/C. Athanasatos)

According to Christos Pantazis, the Museum will be open to the public during certain hours, probably from September, as basic staffing will have to be completed in order for it to operate properly and according to high standards.

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