Samothrace Folklore Museum
The founding of the folklore museum was initiated by the municipality and the Samothrace Cultural Society a few years ago.The museum showcases numerous objects that compose the island’s cultural heritage. On the ground floor, visitors can admire the ‘Kehagia’s’ tools, (livestock farmer), farming and weaving equipment as well as a glorious loom complete with all the gadgets.
On the first floor visitors can see a representation of a typical household with mixed urban and rural elements. The room houses the kitchen, living-room and bedroom all in one. A special place takes the wooden ‘mesandra’ of the early 20th century, a wooden encompassed wardrobe, and an essential piece of furniture in all the Samothrace houses.
The walls are adorned with ‘marchamades’ (silk and cotton woven towels) and a great deal of photographs. The ‘corner’ (kitchen) with the fireplace, the low dining table and everything needed for food preparation are beautifully displayed. We can also see the living-room with the wooden couch and coffee table (only in wealthy families’ houses) as well as a fantastic 1929 bed covered with an all silk blanket.
The highlight of the museum is, though, the comprehensive display of the traditional costumes. The men’s one is comprised by the tsirvoulia (shoes), kaltsoun(socks), the vraka ( trousers), the znar (belt), the pkamsiou ( shirt), the gileki ( vest), the abas ( jacket) and the hat. The women’s costume is simple but beautiful. The light blue or red skirt is decorated with a belt with silver clasps. The white headscarves are as long as the women’s hair and cascades on their backs like a veil.
The magnificent chests and ornamental plates have come to the island from the coast of Asia Minor. There is a big collection of loom-woven textiles, like woolen rugs, cotton bed covers whose silk was processed in Samothrace. Also, a wooden iconostasis of the early 20th century with rare icons from the previous century is featured in the museum. The iconostasis and the case with the wedding wreaths were never absent from any home in Samothrace.
The idea for the museum belongs to a group of local educators who started to collect folklore material in the 70s. The locals donated their heirlooms generously, and in the beginning of 1980, the newly founded Cultural Society and its members raided the homes of the island again in search for more material.
For a long time the material remained in storage until the Samothrace council donated the 1900s two-storey mansion in the town centre of Chora, the capital of the island so the valuable collection could be exhibited.
The museum opened its doors to the public in 1985 under the auspice of the Cultural Society and funded by the Samothrace council. The only space that could be visited then was the first floor, the representation of typical household. In May 1999 the collection was enriched with more material and the ground floor was able to be used.