CULTURE

Renovated maritime museum is pride and joy of Galaxidi

After five years of constant efforts, the Maritime and Historical Museum of Galaxidi, which reopened recently, proved that private initiative can work miracles. The country’s oldest maritime museum, which has the richest collection of paintings of Greek sailing boats, shows the maritime activities of the Galaxidi residents from ancient times to the early 20th century and also contains a major archaeological collection. The museum had looked abandoned for years: The 1870 building suffered badly from damp and as a result of the 1999 earthquake. The roof was damaged, the wooden floors were rotting and the exhibits were in bad need of restoration. State indifference, bureaucracy and the shortage of funds did not allow for the necessary works. In 1999, cardiologist N.V. Karatzas decided to offer his support to the Municipality of Galaxidi and to contribute to the museum’s restoration. After collecting money with other colleagues, he got together with the town’s residents. Soon, they applied to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for sponsorship, which generously covered the complete restoration of most of the exhibits. For the remaining exhibits, scientific help came from the National Bank’s Cultural Foundation. Another donation by the Niarchos Foundation went toward the building’s reconstruction; architect Elena Zervoudaki designed and supervised the study, while with various internal rearrangements, the museum gained another 160 square meters. Today’s visitors can see a small, completely modernized and attractive museum, with educational aspects. Exhibits range from ancient vases to navigation equipment, deck calendars, old weapons and a small gallery with six paintings by Galaxidi-born artist Spyros Vassiliou, as well as the rich collection of sailing boat paintings. The museum testifies to Galaxidi’s rich, 5,000-year maritime history.