WASHINGTON (October 15, 2012) — Spirit of Marathon: From Pheidippides to Today, a traveling exhibition showcasing the origins, history and culture of the marathon in the context of the modern world sponsored by the National Hellenic Society (NHS) opened October 4, 2012 at the National Hellenic Museum (NHM) in Chicago.
The exhibit, made possible with a $75,000 grant from NHS, was placed outside of the museum for the Chicago Marathon, allowing 45,000 marathoners and their thousands of supporters and spectators to view it on October 7, 2012. NHM is located at the half-way mark of the 26-mile race in the historic Greektown neighborhood.
“The National Hellenic Society is proud to collaborate with the National Hellenic Museum on this important educational and cultural endeavor that fulfills our shared mission to preserve and pass on our heritage to our children and future generations,” said NHS Chairman George Marcus. “Marathon events serve as an inspiration for individuals aspiring to reach new heights of personal achievement with collective meaning. The marathon is a rallying call for worthy causes and a catalyst for unifying people—Hellenic ideals still relevant in today’s world.”
“This exhibit is a perfect example of the impact of Hellenism on our society, and all of us here at the National Hellenic Museum are grateful to the National Hellenic Society for sponsoring it,” Museum Director Connie Mourtoupalas said in a written statement to NHS.
The exhibition is organized in five segments: The Legend and Spirit of Pheidippides, The Modern Marathon, Running with Purpose, The Spirit Today, and The Chicago Marathon. Each segment follows the ancient marathon run to modern races. Aimed at appealing to all age groups and communities, the exhibit encourages visitors to explore the spirit of the Marathon that exists today in a way that relates to everyone’s personal marathon in life. The exhibit also inspires younger generations with a number of proposed interactive elements that invite participation.
Spirit of Marathon will explores iconic moments, including the messenger Pheidippides’ original twenty-six mile run during the Battle of the Marathon, Spyridon Loues’ victory at the first organized marathon race at the 1896 Olympics, and Sylianos Kyriakides’ inspirational run to win the 1946 Boston Marathon—a promise of hope following the devastation of World War II.
Efforts are underway to feature the Marathon exhibition at the nation’s other prominent Marathon venues, including Boston and Washington, D.C.
About the National Hellenic Society
NHS is a foundation focused on the preservation of Hellenic heritage in America through the sponsorship of educational and charitable programs. The NHS mission celebrates Hellenic heritage by sponsoring and organizing programs and activities that promote and preserve the values and ideals of our Hellenic culture thereby enriching our community and nation. For more information, please visit www.hellenicsociety.org.
About the National Hellenic Museum
The National Hellenic Museum’s mission is to preserve and explore Hellenism and to chronicle the Greek American journey through exhibitions, oral histories, archival collections and education programs. Our purpose is to inspire in people of all backgrounds a curiosity for their own story through a greater connection to Greek history, culture and the arts. Located at the corner of Halsted and Van Buren in the heart of Chicago’s famed Greektown, the Museum is open Tuesdays – Sundays. For more information, visit www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org or call 312-655-1234.