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Traditional Greek Handicrafts Get their Own Museum

Greek Handicrafts museum
handicrafts at the historical building of the printing and dyeing workshop “Hellenic Handkerchief Industry (BEM)”. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

Traditional Greek handicrafts will get their own museum in Athens, the Ministry of Culture announced on Monday.

The museum will be hosted at the historical building of the printing and dyeing workshop “Hellenic Handkerchief Industry (BEM)” in Metaxourgeio, near the center of Athens, which is now in the process of restoration for its conversion.

Greek authorities have given the green light for the conversion of the building in January 2021 which provides for a permanent exhibition, archive space, administrative offices, craft workshops, multi-purpose spaces, periodical exhibition space, dining area and shops.

Greek Handicrafts museum
The proposal was adopted for the building of the Greek Handicrafts museum. Credit: Ministry of Culture

As stated by the Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni, “the restoration of the building, which housed a unique printing and dyeing workshop of stamped traditional handkerchiefs with continuous operation for more than a hundred years, is on track for implementation.”

She added that BEM was inextricably linked to the unique art of printed fabric, and “should develop into a lively Handicraft Center, in the historic neighborhood of Metaxourgeio.”

Greek handicrafts museum can revive traditional techniques

Greek Handicrafts museum
Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

Mendoni said that by “restoring and transforming it into a versatile cultural center, it can revive the traditional printing and dyeing technique, utilizing modern artistic creation, industrial design, and production.”

The building was built around 1900 and housed the printing and dyeing workshop of the Oikonomopoulos Brothers after the business was transferred from Syros, where it was founded in 1879.

It is classified as a historical monument, along with equipment and other movable objects. The building is a unique surviving sample of the pre-industrial production of stamped headscarves, with authentic traditional designs from all over Greece, which were exported during the first half of the 20th century.

Wing A of the Handicrafts Museum, with an area of 292 sq.m., will become the main exhibition space showcasing the history and development of printing and dyeing art.

Wing B, with a total area of 608 sq.m. will host cloth craft workshops, periodical exhibitions and screenings.

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