"The Greeks" Ready to Take Over America


The Field Museum of Natural History and the National Hellenic Museum will co-present an extraordinary exhibition of ancient Greek antiquities — “The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander the Great,” The exhibition will come to Chicago in November of 2015.

This is the first time the two museums have co-presented a project of this magnitude. The museums decided to partner around the exhibition to take advantage of the unique attributes of each institution.Together, the museums will offer Chicagoans an unprecedented chance to experience both the exhibition and its links to the Greek-American experience.

The Greeks is the most comprehensive exhibition about Ancient Greece to tour North America in a generation. It will feature more than 500 outstanding artifacts from 22 Greek museums. The exhibition invites visitors on a journey through 5,000 years of Greek culture, from the Neolithic Era to the age of Alexander the Great. The artifacts — many of which have never been exhibited outside Greece — include the iconic bust of Alexander the Great from Pella, the impressive statues of Archaic-period Kouroi, and golden jewelry from famous tombs.

The exhibition is organized under the leadership of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. The first stop on the tour will be at Gatineau, Ontario, followed by the co-presentation in Chicago, and finally the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC.

Both Museums are embarking on extensive preparation for the exhibition. The Field Museum will host The Greeks, while new permanent and temporary exhibits at NHM will complement the traveling exhibition, as will a variety of lectures, demonstrations, and other education programs linking the development of Greek civilization to its deep impact on the American way of life.

NHM has an excellent reputation for making the ancient history accessible to its audience including outstanding children’s education program. Additionally, NHM and The Field plan to explore opportunities to display Greek artifacts from The Field Museum that have rarely – if ever – been on public display.

Both organizations are seeking funds to pay for the enterprise, with NHM Chair John Calamos leading local and national fundraising efforts in conjunction with The Field Museum.

“This is a momentous opportunity for Greeks in America, for the city of Chicago, and for both museums. We are honored The Field Museum is joining with the National Hellenic Museum to make this possible. It is our hope and my belief, this amazing exhibition will remind people of the importance of Greek culture to this country and the world at a magnitude similar to the Tutankhamun exhibits of past decades.”

The Field Museum was founded to house the anthropological and biological collections assembled for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 while the National Hellenic Museum (NHM) was founded in 1983 as the only national museum in the United States dedicated to the display and celebration of the cultural contributions of Greeks and Greek-Americans. The Field Museum is an icon for the Chicago area, while the new NHM building (opened in 2011) is rapidly becoming a source of pride to the city and its prominent Greek American community.