A Chios trea­sure in a base­ment

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY CHRISTINA SANOUDOU

Be­sides an Olympian and two Ortho­dox pa­tri­archs, Kal­li­ma­sia on the is­land of Chios also boasts a small trea­sure in the base­ment of its mid­dle school. Around 20 years ago, the vil­lage school’s prin­ci­pal at the time, Yian­nis Kol­liaros, started col­lect­ing ob­jects that no longer had prac­ti­cal use – like old tools, doc­u­ments, fur­ni­ture, ma­chines, uten­sils, ce­ram­ics – but are part of the area’s his­tory. This col­lec­tion led to the Kal­li­ma­sia Folk Mu­seum, ded­i­cated to the tra­di­tional oc­cu­pa­tions of Chios from the Mid­dle Ages to the mid-20th cen­tury.

“I wrote the names of the donors on the first lot of ob­jects I amassed. Once peo­ple started see­ing the names writ­ten down, they came forth with more stuff and within two years, I had around 2,000 ob­jects,” says Kol­liaros. “Now we have some 6,000 ob­jects re­lated to 30-40 tra­di­tional oc­cu­pa­tions. It is the largest col­lec­tion of folk his­tory in Greece,” he adds.

De­ter­mined to cre­ate a true rep­re­sen­ta­tion of a typ­i­cal Chios vil­lage, Kol­liaros and a team of vol­un­teers se­cured fund­ing from pub­lic and pri­vate sources and got to work. “We built rooms with arches in the tra­di­tional man­ner. First, the olive press and the ouzo dis­tillery, then the cob­bler’s worskshop, the tai­lor’s and the smith’s.”

Kol­liaros is also re­spon­si­ble for as­sem­bling and man­ag­ing the displays. Un­able to re­ject dona­tions even if he al­ready has them, sur­plus ob­jects have ended up in smaller mu­se­ums on the is­land or in an old house he owns.

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