The Museum was founded as the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center in 1983. Nine years later, the HMCC opened its first facility on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. Then, in July 2004, the Museum moved to a new location at 801 South Adams Street in Chicago’s Greektown. In 2009, the Museum re-branded itself the National Hellenic Museum with a new logo incorporating the Greek key design and a new mission statement: “Connecting generations through Greek history, culture, and art.”
The Museum opened in its current location on Halsted Street on December 10, 2011. It is a four-story, 40,000-square-foot LEED-certification-pending building that is home to extensive collections and archives of more than 17,000 artifacts spanning thousands of years.
The mission of the museum is to share the legacy of Hellenism and to preserve the stories and honor the contributions to the United States of Greek immigrants and Americans of Greek heritage.
The Museum is constructed with natural limestone and glass, materials that represent the artistic and technological traditions Greeks have impacted from the Classical Age to the modern day. The building incorporates historic architectural examples 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 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 incorporated to represent the importance of water.
A Greek American from the south side of Chicago, Demetrios Stavrianos is the National Hellenic Museum’s principal designer. Stavrianos is the Senior Associate Vice President at the Chicago office of RTKL, a worldwide architecture, engineering, planning and creative services organization. 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 Stavrianos include: Riverwalk at Port Imperial (Weehawken, N.J.), U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center (Washington, D.C.), Food and Drug Administration Headquarters (White Oak, MD), Tangdao Bay Yacht Club (Qindao, China), Cleveland Flats Master Plan (Cleveland, Ohio), and the Orland Park Main Street Triangle (Orland Park).
View the latest Museum news and announcements about exhibitions, events, and programs.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Our Board of Trustees represents a cross section of civic, corporate, professional, and philanthropic communities across the country. The Trustees are responsible for guiding the Museum and ensuring it can fulfill its mission and vision. They provide leadership regarding strategic direction and financial resources.
The National Hellenic Museum has a hard-working and dedicated staff that is committed to the development of the Museum.
If you’d like to join the dedicated staff of our world-class museum, please check our list of current job openings.
The National Hellenic Museum offers unpaid credit and non-credit internships for undergraduate and graduate students throughout the year.
Whether you want to meet new people, gain work experience, or help out in your community, we have plenty of rewarding ways for you to pitch in as a volunteer.