The wider area of Messenia has a very rich historical past, the evidence of which needed a special area to be housed in. So, in 2009 the Archaeological Museum of Messenia in Kalamata was inaugurated, with the aim to bring out the history and culture of the area through the important findings brought to light by the archaeologists.
The Museum includes exhibits ranging from prehistoric to Byzantine times, in a simple but elegant space. The exhibition follows the Prefecture’s geographical division into its four provinces, Messene, Trifilia, Pylia and Kalamata. Upon entering the Museum, the visitor follows a central path, from which he can diverge into each of the provinces’ separate sections.
The Museum recently received the exhibits of the Archaeological Museum of Kalamata, which operated in the city a few years ago. The transferring of the exhibits was deemed necessary, in order for all the findings of the area to be assembled under one roof, providing as complete a picture as possible of the culture that emerged and developed in Messenia.
The Archaeological Museum of Messinia opened its doors to the public in June of 2009 and has been one of the most important destinations for all visitors to the region ever since. It is housed in a building in the old marketplace in Kalamata, the so-called Municipal Market, one of the most busy and lively neighbourhoods of the city. This building was donated by the Ministry of Culture and it is a space with a layout and decoration that help highlight the exhibits in the best possible way.
The Museum contains exhibits covering a broad historical range, testimony to the rich past of the broader region of Messinia. The visitor can admire findings from the Early Helladic, Prehistoric and Classical years, up to the Roman and Byzantine periods, which were either from excavations and systematic research, or were accidental discoveries by ordinary citizens.
The exhibition was designed along the lines of the old geographical division of the prefecture into its four provinces: Messene, Pylia, Trifylia and Kalamata. Each area has its own special characteristics, from which the museum has drawn its thematic units. For example, the famous kingdom of Nestor, the Homeric hero, was located in Trifylia; Pylia has a number of tholos tombs; an important civilization flourished in Messene, particularly during the Hellenistic and Roman periods; while Kalamata was an important centre of historical developments, both in antiquity and during the period of the Venetian and Frankish conquests. The museum is structured around a main roadmap, which the visitor can follow and go to the individual thematic sections at will.
Among the most important thematic units the visitor can admire are: Pylia under Venetian Rule (1206-1500), The Territory of Nestor’s Palace, The ‘Outer’ Mani at the Border of Messinia-Laconia, Mani and the Despotate of Morea, the Villehardouins and Messinia, and several others. The museum also offers special interactive activities for children, making it an ideal destination for schools.