the Galaxidi Museum
As picturesque and atmospheric as an island and framed by a beautiful mountainside, Galaxidi retains all the prestige and stately air of its nautical legacy. Cut off from other Greek mainland until 1950, the people of Galaxidi relied on the sea for transportation from as far back as the 18th century. Galaxidi was then home to some of the country’s most important shipping families, a legacy which can be observed at the Nautical and Historical Museum, the first of its kind in Greece.
The History of the Galaxidi Museum
The building that today houses the Naval and Historical Museum of Galaxidi was built in 1870 and was originally used as the City Town Hall. The idea of creating a local collection of objects related to the history of Galaxidi became reality in 1928 by medical physician Efthimios K. Vlamis, who served as the local mayor and Township Officer of Galaxidi.
Therefore, all the birthright gifts and heirlooms, which for years decorated their homes, such as paintings of sailboats, ship accessories, nautical instruments, nautical tools, deck calendars, nautical maps, etc. composed the core of the Museum’s Maritime Collection, which became the first Naval Museum of Greece.
In 1932, the very active youth club «United Youth of Galaxidi» created the Archaeological Collection of the Museum, which included findings from archaeological excavations along with random finds. In 1962, all the collection findings were gathered in the then large room of the building.
In 1980, after the relocation of the offices of the Community Branch to another building, for the very first time there is a special room, exclusively for the Archaeological Collection, while its findings are placed in new showcases by the then curator of Ancient Antiquities of Delphi, Professor Petros Themelis.
In 2000, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, thanks to the personal interest of Professor Nick. B. Karatzas, made a significant contribution for the conservation of exhibits and the radical restoration and renovation of the preserved building of the Museum. All objects of the collections were placed in their new dedicated areas under the scientific supervision of Professor P. Valavanis and the folklorist P. Stathakis – Koumaris. The working tasks were completed in 2002 and the Museum acquired its present name «Naval and Historical Museum of Galaxidi».
Exhibitions of the Naval Section
«The Chronicles of Galaxidi».
One of the most important exhibits of the Galaxidi Museum is the hand-manuscript «The Chronicles of Galaxidi» written by a Christian monk called Efthimios. It is a post-Byzantine text that covers the period from the late 10th to the early beginnings of the 18th century, a valuable resource, it provides important information about the town of Galaxidi and its inhabitants.
The figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the prow of ships, generally of a design related to the name or role of a ship. The seamen from Galaxidi believed that they personified the soul of the boat and brought good luck to the ship. In the Museum there are four female «acroprora» that came from Galaxidian sailing vessels.
Art Gallery of sailing vessel paintings
The art gallery comprises the largest collection of sailing vessel paintings in Greece. All of them are Galaxidian, originated and built from the regional shipyards of Galaxidi, except for two, which were built in Trieste and in the island of Syros.
Shipbuilding and Navigation Tools.
These are exhibits of the Museum’s Maritime Collection, most of which belong to the thriving peak period of the naval state from the 1830s to the beginning of the 20th century and all are donations of people of Galaxidi. Hooks, scoops, octants, compasses, barometers, routers, thermometers, binoculars, small and large nautical charts, nautical timers, are some of the objects in this collection.
The «Argonautes» Collection of Stamps and Shipping Documents.
In 2007 the Galaxidi Museum incorporated a collection of stamps and rare maritime naval documents. The so-called «Argonautes» collection having as its focal-point almost exclusively, the sea and the history of shipping from antiquity to the present day. The uniqueness of the collection, donated by Konstantinos and Irene Anitsa, firstly is due to the fact that it presents world-wide events and secondly, that it includes in its documented highlights, the people involved in these events(giving individual names, ships, seas etc).
W.W. II Famous ships – Famous Men: Roosevelt and the USS “Augusta”, Churchil and the HMS “Prince of Walles”
Commemoration stamps of the Battle of St. Lucia
Art Paintings section
Spyros Vassiliou paintings collection. These are art paintings by Spyros Vassiliou, a Galaxidi nativ, that are located in the last room of the Museum. They portray the town of Galaxidi and various moments of living in Galaxidi, through the eyes of the artist.
The Archaeological Collection section
The archaeological collection of the naval & historical Museum of Galaxidi presents its history from the 3rd millennium B.C. all the way to the early Byzantine times.
Coin collection . It was gathered and came from the local area and today’s settlements of the town of Galaxidi. It covers a long time period from the 4th century. B.C. until the times of the Modern Greek state with coin cuts, such as those of Kapodistrias, Othon (First Governor and King respectively of the new modern Greek state) and George the 1st.
Keep in mind that the identification of coins from this period is a valuable element, as it highlights not only the continuous human occupation of Galaxidi, but also the trade history of the inhabitants in this region.
1821 – The Greek Independence War section
During the Struggle of Greek Independence (1821-1829), the Galaxidians fought on land and sea and sacrified everything to the cause: houses, boats, fortunes, their lives. Initiated from the very beginning early into the secretive revolutionary «Filiki Eteria» (Society of Friends), they were one of the first inhabitants from Central Greece to raise the flag of Freedom on 27 March 1821. They dedicated a remarkable size of military force, but mainly with their equipped ships, they ensured the free movement of Greek vessels in the Corinthian Gulf.
That is why the Ottoman Turks destroyed Galaxidi to the ground three times: more poignant on September 23, 1821, in May 1825, with Turk commander Kioutachis, and finaly in November 1825, when the Galaxidians were forced out of their homes and migrated elsewhere, establishing settlements such as those on the beach shores of Corinth and elsewhere.
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