May 18 – International Museum Day
What is the Philhellenism Museum?
May 18 is the International Museum Day, and we take the opportunity on this occasion to remind the mission of the Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism (SHP) and the Philhellenism Museum.
The goal of the Philhellenism Museum is to present through 3.000 paintings, art objects, books, documents, medals, letters, personal objects, images – lithographs, etc. the birth and evolution of Philhellenism, but also the critical role that it played for the liberation of Greece.
The Museum aspires to answer through experiential navigations, to the Greek and foreign visitors, a series of important questions. Here are some of them:
- How was Philhellenism born from the Renaissance to the beginning of the 19th century?
- How did it affect education in Europe turning it to Hellenocentric?
- How was archeology born?
- When and how did European citizens realize the importance and uniqueness of Greek culture?
- Who were Barthélemy and Winckelmann?
- Who inspired Rigas Feraios to design his Charta and to write the Thourios?
- How was neoclassicism born?
- Who were the members of the Chenier family in France and what was their role?
- What was the Greek Language Hotel and what was its contribution to the struggle of the Greeks?
- How was romanticism born?
- Who was Shelley?
- What prompted Lord Byron to love Greece and write his Hellenocentric emblematic works that became best sellers internationally?
- How did Lord Byron help the Greek liberation struggle?
- What were the Philhellenic Committees and what did they offer to the Greek Revolution?
- Who were their members?
- What was the Philhellenic music?
- Who were the Philhellenes who fought in Greece and what did they offer?
- How many Philhellenes died heroically for Greece or suffered terrible tortures?
- How many Philhellenes undertook secret missions in favor of Greece?
- Where are their descendants today and what do they think about Greece?
- What did the international press write about Greece in the 1820’s?
- How did Philhellenic art evolve and what was its role in the struggle of the Greeks?
- Which enlightened intellectuals of the time passionately supported Greece?
- To whom does Normanou Street and Hastings Street in Plaka refer and to whom does Veranzerou Street refer?
- Who were Eynard and Dr. Howe and what did they offer to Greece?
- What did Garibaldi and Fratti offer in Greece?
- Why is the term “Philhellene” a title of honor and identified with noble intentions, while in the case of all other ethnicities, the component “friend” (philos) is placed second, and attributes something with a negative connotation (e.g. Turkophile)?
- Why only a movement on Philhellenism emerged, and nothing similar for other ethnic groups who also revolted or suffered persecution and genocide during the Ottoman period and later (e.g. Albanians, Serbs, Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Kurds, etc.)?
The answers to these questions form an integral part of modern Greek history and it is a matter of principle for Greece to know this history, to promote it and to pay tribute to those who deserve it.
At the same time, however, the Museum of Philhellenism aspires to emphasize another important dimension.
Professor Jacques Bouchard, Director of the Modern Greek Studies Program at the University of Montreal in Canada, explains: “For me Greece represents Hellenism’s anchorage through the ages and the Holy Land of the West“.
So why do foreign tourists, but also students from all over the world, crowd in the archeological sites of Greece? Does this act constitute, indirectly or directly, consciously or unconsciously, the “pilgrimage of the citizen of the Western world, to what constitutes the Holy Place of Western civilization”? Isn’t it what the first trip of Lord Byron (and so many other famous and anonymous) to Greece represent? Isn’t it what the work of Byron Childe Harold’s pilgrimage is about?
Greece is the center of a large cultural ecosystem.
The goal of SHP and the Museum on Philhellenism is to allow the whole planet, and especially the societies that are inspired by Western culture and rely on it, to realize that they have a place and an equal role on the side of the Greeks, who continue to be the guardians of the universal humanistic values of freedom and democracy.
Our aim is to build relations of friendship and cooperation with our allies around the world, to whom we will always remind that we honor what their ancestors offered to us, and that they continue to have the same motivation to support Greece, the cradle and the Holy Land of their own culture.
Our aim is to launch a new Philhellenic movement of the 21st century.
SHP and the Museum on Philhellenism aim to fulfil this mission.