The Kalamata Folklore Museum is located at the city’s historical centre and was created in order to house archive material and heirlooms from the Greek Revolution of 1821. The building initially housed the Association for the Diffusion of Culture, which founded the Museum; before functioning as such, it was a teaching centre. As a museum it opened in 1973. In 1986 it closed in order to recuperate from the damages caused by the destructive earthquake of the same year, and it opened again in 2002.
In this Museum, which covers two floors, the visitor has the opportunity to take a glimpse into the everyday life of the wider area of Messenia, through theme sections regarding a series of urban occupations. He will also find a section dedicated to printing and binding, information about the town house of the beginning of the 20th century, information regarding the way of dressing and of course rich historical and archive material from the time of the 1821 Revolution.
The Museum of Folk Art in Kalamata is housed in a two-storey traditional building dating to the early 19th century, which was donated to the municipality of Kalamata by the Kyriakou family. It is a neoclassical edifice, with a wooden roof, a balcony, as well as an arched lintel with a skylight just above the main entrance.
This building originally housed the Society for the Propagation of Literature, and it was first used as a museum in 1973. The main objective was to create a museum in this area that would preserve and showcase examples representative of the modern culture that developed there, with an emphasis on the archives and the artefacts associated with the 1821 Greek War of Independence – an important chapter in the history of Greece. Visitors to this museum have the chance to obtain information through the exhibits on the urban professions, the art of weaving, the agricultural occupation and generally the everyday life of the inhabitants of the wider region of Kalamata. There is also an extensive collection of personal items and heirlooms belonging to the fighters who participated in the 1821 Greek Revolution.
On the ground floor, visitors will find general information about the area and sections with exhibits relating to agriculture and rural life, pottery, weaving and various urban professions, as well as exhibits from everyday life and artefacts from the Revolution that originated in Kalamata.
The first floor is dedicated to printing and bookbinding, with an impressive exhibition: Kalamata was the city that hosted the first printing house in liberated Greece, where the famous Proclamation of the Rebellious Greeks was printed and subsequently sent to the European Courts. On the same floor there is also a re-enactment of an urban house, as well as of a traditional café. In the G. Karelias Hall, visitors have the chance to see a traditional local costume, while there is also a hall dedicated to the post-Byzantine ecclesiastical art of the region.
After the devastating earthquakes of 1986, the museum was closed down for few years for the necessary restoration works. It reopened in July 2002 and since then it has been welcoming visitors every day, except Mondays.