Saturday, October 20, 2018

 

The Folklore Museum and the Art Gallery, both of which are integral parts of the Koraes Library, contain mainly items that belonged to Philip Argenti’s personal collection. In 1932, Philip Argenti founded the Argenti Association whose mission was to preserve and promote the historical and folklore treasures of the island of Chios (i.e. valued items, traditional costumes, garments and other valuables)

In 1937, one of Chios’ Middle Schools dedicated a room to housing the folklore museum. Since then, the museum’s collection has grown larger and richer thanks to donations as well as additional purchases made by Philip Argenti.

Given the growth of the museum’s collection, its founder decided to expand the library by building an additional floor. The purpose of this construction was to ensure that the folklore collection and the historical and topographical paintings of the island of Chios, also donated by Philip Argenti, would be kept under one roof. This new section was officially opened in 1962.

Following the death of Philip Argenti in 1974, his son Pantelis donated more of his father’s books and paintings. It was at this time that the museum expanded to its current configuration. Visitors should pay special attention to the paintings showcased at the library’s entrance and along the staircase and the corridors of the upper floor. All of these paintings depict Chios’ history and came from Philip Argenti’s personal collection.

The busts of the library’s benefactors, namely Adamantios Koraes and Philip Argenti, occupy a prominent location on the building’s main floor. They are displayed next to the coat of arms of Chios’ most noble families and window displays containing manuscripts and personal items that belonged to Koraes and other important persons, along with medals, stones, fossils as well as numerous books and various paintings.

Along the staircase leading to the upper floor are hung historical and topographical paintings, mainly watercolours and copperplate engravings, which date back to the 19th century. Rooms A, B, C, D and E are located on the upper floor. Rooms D and E house the museum’s folklore collection.