Mayor Daley, Others Gather to Celebrate National Hellenic Museum

WGN's Ana Belaval reports from the location of the new National Hellenic Museum, and introduces the Orpheus Dance Troupe.

Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley, among other notable guests, including Congressman Danny Davis and Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr., plus a virtual ‘Who’s Who’ of Greek Chicago, gathered in Greektown on August 27 to celebrate the completion of the first phase of construction of the new National Hellenic Museum. It was also as a kickoff for the weekend’s Taste of Greece festival.

The new 40,000 square foot museum anchors the ethnic enclave at the southeast corner. The event also featured a performance by the Orpheus Dance Troupe and a sampling of food from local restaurants. Many young children were in attendance. They’d decorated kites earlier in the day, to launch at the conclusion of the event. The theme was “Soaring to New Heights.”

Pre-event activities were seen during the broadcast of the WGN Morning News.  In several segments throughout the show, “Around Town” reporter Ana Belaval interviewed staff of the museum and showcased the dance troupe. One segment featured Kyriakos Mellos from Daily Frappe demonstating how to make a Frappe. Another showed an animation of what the new museum will look like at completion.  Belaval encouraged people to come to Greektown for the annual fest, and to support the new museum. The city-wide press event was covered by many area TV stations and newspapers.

In his remarks, Mayor Daley joked about his trip to Greece, that everyone he encountered had relatives in Chicago. “They told me where you worked, what restaurants you owned.  It didn’t matter where I was… We had a wonderful time there, because it was like they were all a part of Chicago.” He added that the museum is good for the country, and that all Greek Americans will come to Chicago to view their history and its impact on mankind. He noted that $2.5 million in city TIF (tax-increment financing) funds were committed to the new museum.

Alderman Burnett was equally passionate about the milestone. “This museum is not just about Greek history; it’s the history of the world.”