Greek Culture on Display at New Hellenic Museum

National Hellenic Museum is at 333 S. Halsted St., in the heart of Chicago's Greektown

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Friday, Dec 9, 2011  |  Updated 11:46 AM CDT
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Chicago's Greek Town has a lot more to offer than just great food, and now it's something of a Greek cultural capital for the entire country.

Chicago's Greek Town has a lot more to offer than just great food, and now it's something of a Greek cultural capital for the entire country.

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Did you ever wonder how much a Greek Warrior’s shield weighs, or what it was like to live in ancient Greece?

Now you can see for yourself at National Hellenic Museum in the heart of Chicago’s Greektown neighborhood.

The 40,000 square foot museum is unique in the way it connects Ancient Greece to today’s Greek American community, said the museum's executive director.

"We really bring to life Greektown," said Stephanie Vlahakis.

The facility was designed by Greek American Architect Demetrios Stavrianos and tells the story of how ancient Greece laid the foundation for Western Civilization. But it also tells the story of the Greek immigrants who settled this part of Chicago.

"II think we have to highlight the contributions of Greek Americans and what they have accomplished," said John Calamos, who came from such a family.

He said a museum like this is especially important now, at a time when the financial chaos in modern day Greece is regularly in the news.

The first major exhibit for the new museum, Gods, Myths and Mortals, is designed so that children can experience ancient Greek life and culture. A giant Trojan horse lets them hide inside like Greek soldiers did.

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