Commencing in 2014 and continuing for an unprecedented ten years, the Hellenic Museum of Melbourne plays host to a magnificent permanent collection from Greece’s most iconic cultural institution, the Benaki Museum.
When dynasties reigned, kings conquered, cities fell…
This unique joint venture brings treasures spanning 8,000 years, from pre-historic times through to modern day. Over the next decade, the collaboration between the Hellenic Museum and the Benaki will bring to Melbourne: Neolithic pottery, Cycladic statues, Minoan figurines, Mycenaean jewelry, Hellenistic sculptures, Byzantine icons and manuscripts, Post Byzantine secular art and costumes, and Neo-Hellenic art and weaponry, including ornate swords and pistols belonging to Greek revolutionary heroes Kolokotronis and Mavromichalis. These antiquities recognize and celebrate the development of history, when dynasties reigned, kings conquered, and cities fell. Through the exploration of the cultures and technologies of the past, visitors are provided the opportunity to immerse themselves in history while gaining new perspectives on today.
Experiencing the history of civilization
The Benaki and Hellenic Museum collaboration allows visitors to experience the history of civilization. The collections move from mythology to representation; from the Minoans who benefited from trade to the Myceneans who took by force; from the establishment of legends such as the defeat of Troy, to the cyclical nature of beauty as shown through the striking resemblance of Cycaldic statues to modern depictions of the female form in art and media. This vital partnership allows visitors to engage in a sensorial and experiential manner the foundations of our society and culture, while investigating the conceptions and misconceptions of observation, and the benefit of time on forming knowledge and understanding.
In addition to the vast collection of Greek antiquities, the partnership also includes access to the Benaki’s collections of Coptic, Chinese, Indian, and African works, as well as one of the world’s most significant Islamic art collections. These collections allow visitors to experience civilisations and histories that are fundamental to the makeup of modern day culture. Special events around the collections further establish dialogue between contemporary Melbourne and ancient cultures, in exploration of Australia’s diverse cultural identity and makeup. The partnership also provides students with access to Benaki’s extensive education resources, offering an invaluable tool for schools and universities. The Benaki collection opens at the Hellenic Museum mid year, 2014.