To this day, the CMLE’s collection continues to be enriched through many avenues – via donations, legacies, purchases, and more.
From the start, the Lykeion ton Ellinidon bought a large number of its items from individuals, collectors, merchants, and peddlers, expanding the initial core of its collection, while many more objects were gathered on collecting missions by its members around Greece.
But if a museum is able to reach its objectives, this is primarily due to the generous contribution of those who recognise and trust its work. The CMLE’s work quickly met with the acceptance of many people who believed in its aims, and donated their collections – large and small – or their family heirlooms, or even their “precious” personal belongings. At the same time, the CMLE’s collections grew thanks to the financial contributions of individuals and organisations.
In recognition of the contribution of its donors and sponsors to the enrichment of its collections, the CMLE organises, in return, small exhibitions of its new acquisitions in the showcase of the Lykeion ton Ellinidon’s Headquarters. On the 30th anniversary of the museum’s operation in 2018, a special event was organised to honour its donors, with a retrospective exhibition of representative objects that were donated to the museum.
If a gift creates an obligation, it’s because the gift itself is not inert. Even when it is abandoned by the giver, it continues to be part of them.
Marcel Mauss, 1925
The group of CMLE donors includes many individuals, but also organisations. They all played an important part in making the CMLE collection what it is today.
Some of them represent the archetype of the collector-donor, who searches and gathers material with the ultimate goal of enriching a collection, of serving the purposes of special exhibitions, or even of creating a more complex museum formation.
Learn more about them.
Ioanna Papantoniou, the founder and President of the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation “V. Papantoniou”, served as the Ephor of the Section of National Costumes of the Lykeion ton Ellinidon from September 1997 to December 2000. She became involved with the LtE from a young age as a student of Greek dances, a member of the Folk Dance Group, a teacher and a researcher of Greek dances and costumes.
But her name is most prominent among the donors who regularly supplied the LtE’s collection with numerous important regional costumes. “Whatever I bought for myself [meaning costumes], I also bought for the Lykeion, in duplicate. The Lykeion was my home,” she had said in an interview.
Starting from 1961, her contribution to putting together the Lykeion’s costume collection continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but also in the years that followed, with donations of outfits that cover the entirety of the Hellenic costume map.
Theodora Vlastou, the wife of Ion A. Dragoumis, nephew of the scholar and politician Ion Dragoumis, had a special love and respect for the Lykeion ton Ellinidon, despite not being a member. She specialised in artistic dance, but closely followed and deeply respected the Lykeion ton Ellinidon’s efforts to preserve and propagate Greek traditional dances.
She therefore included an important legacy of 31,000 euros for the LtE in her will, so that – as she wrote – “its wonderful work can be promoted through appearances both in Greece and abroad”. For this donation, the LtE named her a Benefactor.
Part of the legacy was spent on enriching the CMLE’s costume collection, and specifically on purchasing a rare women’s overcoat from Kozani, two women’s waistcoats of the Vlachoi of Central Macedonia, and another rare women’s waistcoat from Pogoniani in Epirus.
Lefteris Drandakis is the Artistic Director of the Folk Dance Group of the Lykeion ton Ellinidon. He was born and raised in Rethymnon. In 1950, he comes to Athens to study Economics at what was then the Supreme School of Economics and Business.
In 1958, he first comes into contact with the Lykeion ton Ellinidon as a student of Greek dancing; in 1960, he becomes a regular member of the Folk Dance Group, taking part in numerous performances in Greece and abroad. In 1966 he takes charge of Greek dancing lessons at the Lykeion headquarters, and later takes on the Artistic Direction of the Folk Dance Group, choreographing and directing large-scale dance and music productions of the Lykeion ton Ellinidon.
In 1998 he donates his house on 19 Dimokritou Street to the Lykeion ton Ellinidon and is named a Grand Benefactor.
His name is associated with important donations of items to the CMLE – items he collected on site visits to different villages around Greece. In essence, he delivered “ready-made” collections to the CMLE, making an unsurpassable contribution to the realisation of the museum’s aims. To this day, Lefteris Drandakis remains present as a benefactor in efforts to enrich the CMLE’s collections, by purchasing items or financially contributing to their acquisition.