Faces + Masks features images of costumes from eight villages in rural Northern Greece, and the obscure but fascinating rituals associated with them.

The men and women of the villages bring these ancient customs to life through the medium of costume and ritual; wearing masks or covering their faces with ashes in order to drive out evil spirits and ensure a fertile and prosperous year. 

Donated to the Hellenic Museum by Peter and Mary Mitrakas

Against the Ruins. Photographs by Nelly's

Upon her arrival to Greece Nelly's wasted no time and visited the archaeological sites, photographing the monuments and exhibiting her works. The dedication with which she applied herself to document antiquities seems to have fulfilled her need to become more deeply acquainted with her ancestral roots, to return to the past, while also presenting her with the challenge to come face-to-face with the greatest monuments of all times. It is this admiration and her romantic approach of the ancient world that led her to create a body of works presented in the exhibition AGAINST THE RUINS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY NELLY’S, from the Benaki Museum Photographic Archives. 


Part of the Multicultural Museums Victoria ‘Grandmothers’ project

Story-tellers, nurturers, educators: grandmothers play a great many roles within the Greek community. And yet, we barely hear a whisper from these important women in mainstream Greek history, literature and art. The Hellenic Museum’s exhibition Yiayia aims to give voice to these women and their stories. Yiayia will chronicle the stages of women’s lives, from childhood, to adulthood, to grandmotherhood and older age. In this way, we will celebrate the extraordinary stories of Greek women. We will lay a particular emphasis on women’s role in perpetuating cultural knowledge and traditions, through the channels of language, religion, craft and cookery.

Phos: A Journey of Light


Prince Nikolaos has always been mesmerized by big, open spaces filled with natural light. The way the light shifts from moment to moment, altering the beauty of the terrain in the process, is a never-ending inspiration. His desire to capture these perfect plays between the light and its surroundings is what has fueled his passion for photography. 

Haute Couture in Ancient Greece: The Spectacular Costumes of Ariadne & Helen of Troy


This extraordinary exhibition brought  to life the magnificent costumes worn by Minoans and Mycenaeans of Bronze Age Greece ca. 2000 to 1200 BCE.


As valuable as precious metals, a significant commodity of trade, luxurious in design and decoration, Minoan dress rivalled that of its Near Eastern and Egyptian neighbours. Yet, Aegean costumes and textiles have been among the least understood of the major artistic achievements of the Minoan civilization.

2016 - 2017




The jewellery from these periods reflect by their material existence and aesthetic qualities, the specific historical, economic and social conditions that contributed to their


Divided geographically and thematically into seven main categories, the exhibition, which spanned 300 years of history, featured over 90 exquisite and intricate objects which highlighted the artistry involved in jewellery making. The exhibition also included portraits showing how the items were once worn.

Items in the collection included: a pair of earrings with pendants in the shape of caravels from Patmos, Dodecanese dated 18th c.; an amulet with a relief representation of St George on horseback slaying the dragon from the 19th c.; a head-cover ornament made up of silver, gilt details, corals, glass gems from Asia Minor dated 19th c.; a necklace consisting of three Austrian coins hung from a filigree chain from Thessaly dated second half

of the 19th c.; marriage crowns decorated with flowers from Asia Minor dated second half of 19th c.; and a belt buckle decorated with polychrome enamel from Thessaly dated early 19th c.

The Art of Adornment exhibition was the latest collection from

the Benaki Museum to travel to Australia and was launched

in partnership with Melbourne Spring Fashion Week 2016.

Sidney Nolan: The Greek Series

This exhibition was a tribute to one of Australia’s most beloved artists on the centenary of his birth, and was made possible with the generous support of the Sidney Nolan Trust.

In November 1955, two years after leaving Sydney, and hungry for inspiration after finishing the two iconic series, Ned Kelly and Burke and Wills, Sidney Nolan and his wife, writer Cynthia Reed, travelled from London to the Greek island of Hydra. Immersing himself in the timeless beauty of the Greek landscape and culture, Nolan started a new series of works exploring both the contemporary and mythological world.


Staying with Australian friends, authors George Johnston and Charmian Clift, who were at the centre of a creative expatriate circle living on the island, Nolan had intended a brief visit before beginning a scholarship in Rome, however remained in Hydra until the following May.

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