Athens has the Acropolis, and now Chicago has the National Hellenic Museum, a $15 million contemporary architectural landmark anchoring Greektown. The sleek, LEED-certified museum is the nation's first to celebrate the Greek-American experience and the influence of ancient Greece on Western culture.
Temporary displays rotate regularly through the first-floor space near the museum shop. The second floor holds a preview of the forthcoming permanent In Search of Home exhibit, as well as the museum's education center classrooms. Although still under construction (slated to open fully by January 2013), the space currently displays some antiquities, architectural remnants, and artifacts like musical instruments, religious objects, dolls, jewelry and photos. Dioramas trace Hellenic cultural achievements and Greek immigration to America (specifically, to Chicago). A picture window overlaid with historic photographic images helps visitors visualize what the neighborhood looked like in the 1920s, and docents demonstrate writing the Greek alphabet at the interactive language station.
On the third floor are the resource library, oral-history center and a timeline illustrating the achievement of Greek independence. The 3,600-square-foot roof garden terrace overlooks the West Loop neighborhood and bustling Greektown restaurants along Halsted Street but is often reserved for private events. The museum is closed Mondays. Adult admission is $10, but wait until the museum's exhibits are completely installed to get your money's worth.