At the Museum of Greek Folk Art (MELT), an air of enthusiasm prevails. The new MELT being prepared in the heart of Athens in Monastiraki is set to revive the neighborhood of old Athens.
Despite the hardships of the previous year, the renovations are nearing completion. They’re expected to be ready by early July, and then the big project of preparing the showrooms begins. “We want to establish a new identity for the museum,” says Helen Melidis, “for it to become more extroverted.” The ultimate goal is for the new museum to be ready to have its grand opening in time for its 100th birthday in 2018.
Meanwhile, the neighborhood has already acquired a color and the neighbors are waiting to see just how the museum’s operation will give the region some of its character back. The building’s coverings mean that there isn’t a lot for the passerby to see. However, the finished buildings can be distinguished by their completed loggia and the different colors on their facades which create a harmonious palate.
The new museum, spread across 4000 square meters, is based on a different logic. “We forget that most museums just show their collections. We don’t want the usual fare, we want to talk about the continuity of Greek culture and the identity of the modern Greek” says Haralampos Floros, who takes care of the funds from the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA).
In the MELT’s 23 new venues, thousands of activities, exhibits, interactive digital applications, multimedia and visual material will be available. There will also be a gift shop and restaurant dedicated to the Greek diet.
The Tzisdarakis Mosque in Monastiraki Square will act as a precursor for the museum, while the other spaces (the Bath of the Winds, the building on Panos street, the Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments will be used for one-off exhibits. The building on Kidathineon street will converted into a storage facility).
17th- 20th century
The new museum will capture the narrative of the 17th century to the 20th century.
Until then, in the imposing Bath of the Winds an exhibition by the artist Tina Karageorgi is taking place. Titled “Sanctuary”, it centers on the refugee crisis and the coexistence of different cultures, ethnicities and religions.
In the small maze of rooms, the windows reveal how hot was channeled between the baths for men and women. Beautiful banners from handmade paper with the words “live” and “breath” in Hebrew, Armenian, Pontian, Sephardic and Vlach on them to emphasize that once, we used to all coexist.
The exhibition is part of the cycle “TOGETHER” with events focus on intercultural dialogue. It opens on May 29 and runs until June 19, including music from Latin America, a concert by the Hurdy Gurdy Band, fairy tales with Lamia Bedioui, both in the baths and in the garden of the Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments.