SHP (www.eefshp.org) announced recently its cooperation with the Prefecture of Attica for the establishment of a Museum on Philhellenism.
The announcement was received with enthusiasm by the thousands of friends of SHP, who are aware of our work and follow our actions.
However, we consider it necessary to explain our initiative and answer some of the questions that may arise.
- What will be the role of the Prefecture of Attica?
- Why do we need a museum with this subject?
- Isn’t the issue covered by some of the other important museums in the country?
- When will the new museum be ready? Will it be launched before 2021?
- How will it operate?
- Who will fund it?
- Who will ensure its maintenance?
The Museum on Philhellenism is founded by the Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism (SHP) and it constitutes a key element of its mission. SHP designed and organized this project, and it will staff it with important scientists and executives, at its own responsibility and at its own expense.
The projects of SHP are financed by Greek businessmen (who do not have any business relationship with the Greek state), who have already paid important amounts for the formation of the collection, while they have also allocated funds for its expansion of in the future.
In addition to its work and the establishment of the Museum, SHP plays (and it will continue to do so) an important role in the society in many areas. For example, SHP donated recently, in cooperation with its sponsor, Euro 100,000 to the Ministry of National Defense to strengthen military hospitals in the fight against COVID-19.
The role of the Prefecture of Attica, in this phase, is to support certain actions that have to do with the establishment of the Museum and a series of initiatives concerning events in Greece and internationally, during 2021. The support of the Prefecture will follow the applicable procedures.
The Museum will be ready to operate before the end of 2020, in a privately owned building of SHP in Athens, in a place that ensures easy and comfortable access to the public. After 2021, the Museum will move to a new privately owned building in the center of Athens.
The goal of the Museum of Philhellenism is to present art objects, books, documents, medals, letters, personal objects, images – lithographs, etc. that will explain 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 Hellenic-centric?
- How was archeology born?
- When and how did European citizens realize the importance and uniqueness of Greek culture?
- Who were Barthelemy and Winkelman?
- Who inspired Rigas Feraios to design his Charta and to write the Thurios?
- 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 Hellenic-centric 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 1820s?
- 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.)?
- etc. etc. 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 realise 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.