Mount Olympus Moves to Chicago: Gods, Myths and Mortals Opens the New National Hellenic Museum

Museum opens with family-friendly special exhibit

CHICAGO (November 14, 2011) — Match wits with Aristotle in a game of 20 questions; climb inside a 13-foot Trojan horse; channel your inner “Greek Idol” in the Sirens Karaoke Cave; travel back in time on a highly immersive and interactive historical journey.

No passports or time travel required.

With its grand opening on December 10, the new National Hellenic Museum presents the 4,000-square-foot special exhibit Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece. This family-friendly exhibition created by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan gives visitors of all ages the chance to meet with Greek gods, enjoy 25 interactive experiences and imagine themselves in the detailed texture of life in ancient Greece.

“This exhibit is the perfect way for guests to discover the most exciting stories of ancient Greece while exploring our new home in the heart of Greektown,” said National Hellenic Museum executive director Stephanie Vlahakis. “Ancient Greece is the bedrock of western civilization, and Gods, Myths and Mortals is a fun way for families to discover the great epics, art and architecture of ancient Greece. These stories and ideas continue to influence us all to this day.”

The engaging exhibit, which runs through summer 2012, is a highlight of the all-new National Hellenic Museum. The Museum is the only major museum in the U.S. dedicated to the Greek journey – from ancient times to the modern Greek American experience. Celebrating its grand opening in December 2011, the Museum inspires in people of all backgrounds a curiosity for their own story through a greater connection to Greek history, culture and art.

The exhibit is the culmination of years of research by staff at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, five universities and the cooperation of the Greek government. Gods, Myths and Mortals connects guests to many critical concepts and ideas that derived from ancient Greece.

Located in the John P. Calamos, Sr. Great Hall, the exhibit is divided into four main sections that highlight a key aspect of ancient Greek society and mythology: The Gods of Olympus, Growing Up Greek, The Odyssey: A Hero’s Journey and Discovering Greece.

The Gods of Olympus:

  • Take an on-screen personality quiz to discover which Greek god you most resemble
  • Solve riddles about the Olympian family of gods
  • Listen in as Zeus, Poseidon and Athena reminisce about the accomplishments of the ancient Greeks
  • Watch images of ancient myths and forces of nature
  • See how gods and mortals interacted

Growing Up Greek

  • Play 20 Questions with Aristotle
  • Write words in Greek letters
  • Translate messages from ancient Greek to English
  • Test your arm-wrestling prowess in the Gymnasium
  • Engage in a virtual weaving contest with the goddess Athena

The Odyssey: A Hero’s Journey

  • Navigate a game path of rocky caves and open seas
  • Crawl through the Cyclops Cave
  • Climb inside a 13-foot Trojan horse
  • Make like a Greek Idol and belt out tunes in the Sirens’ Karaoke Cave
  • Play the homecoming board game in Odysseus’ palace
  • Seek your own solutions to the trials faced by Odysseus on his journey from Troy to Ithaka
  • E-mail home your personalized on-screen Hero Record.

Discovering Greece

  • Investigate the Antikythera Mechanism, considered the world’s oldest computer
  • Operate a mechanical model of the Antikythera Mechanism (with 30 bronze dials and geared wheels)
  • Discover how the Antikythera Mechanism led to the development of the scientific method
  • Marvel at a 3-D version of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia
  • Assemble a scale model of the Temple
  • Assist a virtual archeologist in micro-games

The National Hellenic Museum is the first in Chicago to showcase and interpret the Antikythera Mechanism for a family audience. The Museum is the initial stop for Gods, Myths and Mortals on its four-year national tour throughout the United States.

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Gods, Myths & Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece was produced by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and supported by major grants from The John P. Calamos Foundation, The Jaharis Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs through the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation.

The National Hellenic Museum’s mission is to preserve and explore Hellenism and to chronicle the Greek American journey through exhibitions, oral histories, archival collections and education programs. Our purpose is to inspire in people of all backgrounds a curiosity for their own story through a greater connection to Greek history, culture and the arts. Located at the corner of Halsted and Van Buren in the heart of Chicago’s famed Greektown, the Museum celebrates its grand opening in December 2011. For more information, visit or call 312-655-1234.

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Media Contacts:
Veronica Jackson
312/558-1770, ext. 128