CHICAGO, IL— The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) unveiled a new interactive book on August 9 offering visitors a unique view of the Olympic Games from ancient times to the modern revival. The new digital book is part of the NHM’s exhibition Olympic Revival: The 1896 Olympic Games which presents intimate photographs of events and athletes by Albert Meyer, the official photographer for the 1896 Olympic Games. The enlightening exhibition commemorating the 120th anniversary of the first modern Olympic Games is enhanced by the digital book that tells the story of the Olympics. Rena Lee, Director of Museum Experience, said, “The interactive book uses engaging photos and text to examine concepts of competition and excellence in ancient Greece and how the Olympics created unity within city-states.” She went on to say, “The book also explores the modern Olympics, the impact of the civil rights movement, women in sports, the Paralympics, and how the Olympics foster global peace.” Olympic Revival: The 1896 Olympic Games is on loan from the renowned Benaki Museum in Athens, featuring photographs of the first US Olympic team; fourteen pioneers who went to Athens amid the complete indifference of the United States, and stunned the world by winning eleven championships, essentially creating the US Olympic movement.
The digital section takes the visitor through a journey that traces the Games to their beginning at Olympia, highlighting the ancient athletic events and ceremonies. It features ancient athletes and their modern counterparts, including some of our very own Greek-American athletes, who embody the Greek ideal of a sound mind and body,
With thousands of highly trained athletes competing in Rio in this Olympic year and the millions of spectators around the world viewing the games on TV and online, it is a perfect opportunity to visit NHM and learn more about the history of the modern Olympics through this interactive exhibition. The ancient games ran from 776 BC until the Roman Emperor Theodosius banned them in 393 AD as part of a ban on all pagan festivals when Christianity was relatively new as the established religion of the empire.
The Olympic spirit of fair competition, the pursuit of excellence, and the potential of a peaceful and better world through sport might have been completely lost if not for the revival of the modern Olympics in 1896. The exhibition at NHM runs through September.
Located in Chicago’s Greektown, the sleek 40,000-square-foot National Hellenic Museum at 333 S. Halsted St. is both contemporary and timeless, connecting all generations—past, present, and future—to the rich heritage of Greek history, culture, art, and the Greek American experience. The National Hellenic Museum, previously known as the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center, has been fulfilling this mission since 1983. More information is available online www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org or call 312-655-1234 or follow NHM on Facebook and Twitter.
The Benaki Museum, the oldest and one of the most significant cultural centers in Greece, is the only museum in the world that showcases the history and art of Greek Civilization from pre-historic times to the present day. The mission of the Benaki is to safeguard and promote Greek culture, to study the links between periods of Hellenism and their interaction with neighboring cultures, and to provide visitors, students, and scholars with a comprehensive narrative of the Greek impact on world history. More information is available online www.benaki.gr the Benaki Museum website.