The Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation "V. Papantoniou" (PFF) has been compiling, arranging, preserving and publishing different elements of the Greek and foreign folk culture which is an important part of the intangible cultural heritage. The foundation wishes to stress the connection between anthropology and cultural studies, in order to project the aspects of contemporary social reality. A collection involves things, but the actual process of collecting presents relationships, between people as subjects,
and between things as objects. So we come to the fact that the things we choose to collect represent our perspective of what is important to be maintained for the next generations. The operation of the PFF is beneficial on different levels and this reflects its varying goals. First, among the museum's main goals is recording, the study of contemporary Greek culture in all its expressions, and the contribution to the scientific community through grants, publications and exhibitions. Another goal is the influence of the broad public through efforts to promote the importance of the documentation of folk culture. This field comprises of two sections, the first being the local community that gradually understands the importance of the historical and ethnological artefacts that could be donated to the museum, so that they are safeguarded for the next generations. The contribution of the local community can be separated in two equally important sectors, the objects and their experiences provided as oral testimonies. The second section concerns visitors, Greek as well as foreign, who experience the local heritage in a simple and interesting way during their free time. Additionally, one of the Foundation goals is training its personnel on subjects relevant to its collections. The most important contribution is its educational role that will
help future generations to experience, evaluate, maintain, and finally enjoy their very own cultural heritage.
The PFF has organized many exhibitions in Greece and abroad, trying to maintain and transmit intangible cultural heritage. The most important of which are the following:
-Nafplion 1981, the exhibition devoted to the production, elaboration and use of natural fibres in Greece mid 19th to mid 20th c. was the starting point of the interest in museology shown by all the small and many of the large museums in Greece. the pff won the European museum of the year
main award (EMYA) for that exhibition.
-Brussels 1982, Europalia - "Three cycles of Iife"
-Athens 1985, Athens cultural capital of Europe, "Greek costumes and jewellery, past and present"
-Dallas, Texas 1990, Salute to Greece (year devoted to Greece), "Greek Costumes"
-Dallas, Texas 1990, Salute to Greece (year devoted to Greece), "Children's drawings/Karagiozis"
-Athens 2004, Cultural Olympiad, "Ptychoseis = Folds + Pleats, Drapery from Ancient Greek Dress to 21st Century Fashion"
-Nafplion 2006, permanent exhibition, "The Greek Town, Nafplion 1822-1922"
-Nicosia, Cyprus, act. 2007 - Jan. 2008, "From Nafplion to Nicosia, The Collections of the PFF", Leventis Municipal Museum
-Nicosia, Cyprus, act. 2007, "6 Universal Greek Fashion Designers"
-Limassol, Cyprus, Dec. 2007 - Jan. 2008, "TO DRESS" Towards a Costume Culture Museum, Evagoras Lanitis Center.
The PFF publishes two original scientific journals, Ethnographica and Endymatologica as well as other publications that were connected with local communities and tried to maintain and transmit intangible cultural heritage. (see enclosed list of publications)
As a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the PFF has organized the following conferences and meetings.
1. Meeting of the Work Group of the ICOM Costume Committee (1981).
2. Museums and School (1981).
3. Meeting of the ICOM Costume Committee held as part of the celebrations of the tenth anniversary of the foundation of the PFF.
4. Meeting of the International Committee for Education & Cultural Action (CECA) (1988), organized jointly with the Greek Section of ICOM.
5. Three-day seminar devoted to Museum andSchool for teachers in the Argolid (April 1990), organised jointly with the Ministry of Education, the Greek Section of ICOM, and the British Council.
6. Meeting of the ICOM International Documentation Committee (CIDOC) (annual meeting) (October 1990), organised jointly with the Greek Section of ICOM).
7. 17th symposium of the ICTftt International Council of Traditional Music, Work Group, jointly organized with the ICTM Experts in Ethnic Dance International Work Group.
8. 53rd annual meeting of the ICOM International Committee on Costume (1999).
The PFF experiences, cooperating with communities, groups and intangible cultural heritage practitioners, resulted of a research project that ran over the whole of Greece. Its aim was the documentation and study of folk culture, music and dance, pre-industrial technology and children games. The results of the research were published in the special scientific journals “Ethnographica” and “Endymatologica”. The “Essai sur la chanson populaire Grecque” by the distinguished Ethnomusicologist Samuel Baud-Bovy, was published with an introduction by Fivos Anoyianakis, while a double LP with music from South Italy and Sicily, was released as the result of a research project carried out by Lambros Liavas and Nicos Dionysopoulos. The research project in Cyprus was presented in a box set of 7 LPs and a textbook. Music supervision was made by the ethnomusicologist Fivos Anoyianakis. The whole research project was prepared by Alecos Iacovides. Exhibitions aim to maintain and transmit intangible heritage. (Brussels, EUROPALIA, Three cycles of life, Dallas, Texas, Salute to Greece, Children’s drawings/Karagiozis, Nafplion, The Production, Elaboration and Use of Natural Fibres in Greece, Athens, Athens Cultural Capital of Greece, Greek Costumes and Jewellery, past and present etc.)
Objects and artifacts are also considered parts of the intangible heritage when associated with those communities which recognize them as part of their cultural heritage. The PFF collections comprise objects associated with birth, christening, school puppet and shadow puppet (“karaghiozi”) figures, toys, costumes, as well as the fine art, design and engravings. The aim of this collection was to compile information about currently active oral history projects focused on objects, artefacts or projects including an oral history element. As the acquisition of items is made on a personal level, the complete fashion collections by Yiannis Tseklenis, the Fani Kazes collection of dolls in Greek local costume, the Yiannis Metsis archives and the history archive of Takis Mavros are among an individual’s most intimate possessions.
The PFF does not focus on performing arts; however in 2006 the PFF decided to decorate the internal of “Stathmos” (childhood museum) with the artwork of children under the guidelines of artists. The PFF also focused on the revival of social practices, rituals and festive events. Initially the programs included Greek dance lessons presented by locals to perform the acquaintance with the Greek Folk Music and traditional dress. Additionally, adults and children participated in games and pastimes. Then, the activities extended to the folk festivities: carols and bread-making at Christmas, maypole dancing and flying kites at Carnival, baskets with eggs and small ring-shaped biscuits at Easter etc. Finally the PFF collaborated with traditional craftsmen like the Shadow Puppet Theatre players Michopoulos and Yiannis Kokkoris.
This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment; it provides them with a sense of identity and continuity.