The Historical Museum of Crete was founded by the Society of Cretan Historical Studies in 1953, following the issue of a Ministry of Culture permit to establish a museum collection. The Museum was initially housed in the Andreas and Maria Kalokerinos House in 1903. The Museum was founded and is run by the Society of Cretan Historical Studies, with the aim of preserving and displaying the cultural heritage of Crete from early Byzantine times to the modern era. This aim has been achieved gradually, by the collection, purchase and donation of artefacts, together with artefacts on long-term loan from the Ministry of Culture.
From its beginnings, the Historical Museum of Crete has been animated by a pioneering spirit. Successive extensions to the museum and recent re-displays, using contemporary perceptions in museology and new media applications, have contributed to creating a lively, up-to-date, visitor-friendly museum. The HMC now offers a composite view of Cretan history and art from the early Christian centuries to the 20th century. Temporary exhibitions cover a wide span, ranging from Byzantine to modern art, showcasing key literary figures in Greece (Elytis, Kazantzakis), and presenting major historical events from the late 19th century to the Second World War. At the same time, our educational programmes are constantly being enriched. Offered free of charge, they are a creative source of knowledge relating to the Museum’s permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. Lectures, symposia, film shows and book presentations held in the amphitheatre add to activities at the Historical Museum of Crete, rendering it an outgoing, multi-faceted cultural organization. The aim of the Society of Cretan Historical Studies is “supporting and promoting Cretan studies in the fields of archaeology, history, ethnography, language and literature from early Christian times onwards”.
The H.M.C. is home to the following collections:
Medieval and Renaissance Collection , Struggles for Cretan Freedom , Folklore Collection , Nikos Kazantzakis Room, Emmanouil Tsouderos Room
A. G. Kalokerinos Room, Introduction to the Christian Era on Crete, Tour of 17th century Chandax (Heraklion) , Ceramics Room
The above aim is served via the following activities:
a) Founding and running the Historical Museum of Crete in Heraklion, and the Menelaos Parlamas Museum of Rural Life and Theano Metaxa-Kanakaki Weaving Collection, a branch museum in Piskopiano, Hersonsisos.
b) Holding temporary exhibitions, conferences and events.
c) Publishing works relating to Cretan studies.
d) Organizing educational programmes and activities.
The Historical Museum of Crete (HMC) is charged with recording, preserving, documenting and promoting all forms of material evidence of Cretan history (artifacts, archive material etc.). HMC’s activities include: designing and holding permanent and temporary exhibitions; running educational programmes; organizing scholarly / cultural activities (lectures, film shows); collecting, recording and digitizing archive material.
In parallel with the above, since its foundation SCHS has carried out wide-ranging work to the benefit not only of historical monuments (e.g. the Basilica of St. Mark in Heraklion was restored at the Society’s expense), but also to the benefit of scholarly research, such as recording the unknown chapels of Crete and establishing the Cretan Place Name Archive, which includes 20,000 place names from all over the island.
With regard to promoting academic research, SCHS also has valuable work to its credit, via its publications and by hosting colloquia and conferences. The latter include the International Cretan Studies Congresses, which have become an institution of global renown.