NHM’s New Building

The new National Hellenic Museum is the only major museum in the United States dedicated to telling the story of Greek history, culture, and art from ancient times to today.

The New Museum

The National Hellenic Museum opened in its brand-new home on December 10, 2011. The Museum is a four-story, 40,000-square-foot-LEED-certification-pending building home to an extensive collection and archives of more than 17,000 artifacts spanning thousands of years. Visitors of all ages experience Greek history and culture through the words of storytellers past and present. Its interactive exhibitions, Library, Oral History Center, and Education Center showcase the contributions of Hellenism, Greece, and Greek Americans to the world.

The Museum is constructed with natural limestone and glass, materials that respond to the artistic and technological traditions Greeks have experienced from the Classical Age to the modern day. The building incorporates historic architectural references such as a covered walkway, or stoa, found in classical pagan structures and natural wood accents and elements common to Byzantine monastic structures. The symbolic heart of the new building is a dramatic, sky-lit east-to-west-staircase leading to the permanent exhibit that represents the immigrant experience, cultural ties to Greece and the limitless potential of Greek Americans in the United States. The Museum contains design elements associated with Aristotle such as earth, wind and fire. Although water is not physically present, light and glassy surfaces are utilized to represent the importance of water.

About the Architect

Demetrios Stavrianos is the National Hellenic Museum’s principal designer. Stavrianos is a principal at the Chicago office of RTKL, a worldwide architecture, engineering, planning and creative services organization. A Greek American, Stavrianos’ grandfather emigrated from Greece. He grew up on the south side of Chicago and knows Greektown well. Stavrianos drew inspiration for the building from Greek monasteries and “The Meteroa,” which means “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above.” Other notable projects by Demetrios Stavrianos include: Riverwalk at Port Imperial (Weehawken, N.J.), US Capitol Visitors Center (Washington, D.C.) Food and Drug Administration Headquarters (White Oak, MD), Tangdao Bay Yach Club (Qindao, China), Cleveland Flats Master Plan (Cleveland, Ohio) and the Orland Park Main St. Triangle (Orland Park).