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The Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece

The Historical and Ethnological Society was founded in May 1882 by profound members of the Hellenic society, historians, artists, writers, scientists, reporters and publishers. Among the founding members were: Timoleon Filimon, who was elected as first President, Nikolaos Politis, Spyridon Labros, A.R. Ragavis, Antonios Miliarakis, Dimitrios Kabouroglou and Georgios Typaldos-Kozakis.

The Society focused at "the collection of historical and ethnographic material that contributed to the study of the middle and modern Greek history and literature, of the life and language of Greek people and at the establishment of a museum and archives preserving this national heritage".

N. Politis, founder of Folklore Studies in Greece

For the first time in Greece interest was manifested not only in research, but in contacting the public through an artifact exhibition. It is also important that the Society was particularly concerned with the promotion of Greek history of Middle Ages and Ottoman period as well as with the study of the emergence of the Neohellenic State. Its ambition was to establish a National Museum according to the west European models.

The successful "Exhibition of Memorials to the Sacred War", which was housed in the Polytechnic School of Athens, was the first public appearance of the Society and led to the generous donation of many personal memorials to the Society.

Signatures of the first members of the Historical and Ethnological Society

The Society was concerned with the collection of relics of the Greek culture from the unliberated Greek populations, as in Macedonia, Asia Minor and Cyprus, through donation or purchase. As the collection increased, the room in the Parliament was insufficient. In 1896 a larger room from Polytechneion was given to the Society. There, the permanent exhibition was presented for the first time. The Historical and Ethnographical Museum, pioneer of the National History Museum was already in existence.