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Association of Friends of the Cyprus Folk Art Museum

The Cyprus Folk Art Museum belongs to the Society of Cypriot Studies founded in 1936 by a group of pioneering Cypriot scholars headed by Constantinos Spyridakis. One of the main objectives of the Society was the gathering of works of Cypriot folk art in the framework of Cyprological research and the preservation and projection of our traditional culture.

The collection of the material was initiated with great enthusiasm by members of the Society, who also had the aim of founding the Museum of Folk Art, which would contain representative artefacts from all over Cyprus. From 1948 onwards the responsibility for the founding of the Museum was assigned to Adamantios Diamantis, who was its Director until his death.

As from 1950, two rooms on the ground floor of the Old Archiepiscopal Palace formed the first Cyprus Folk Art Museum. In 1961 the seat of the Archbishopric was transferred to the new Palace. As a result of initiatives by the Society, Archbishop Makarios III offered the premises of the Old Archbishopric to assist the Society in realising its objectives. From 1965 onwards, on the completion of restoration work to the building of the Old Archbishopric, the Cyprus Folk Art Museum expanded throughout the ground floor and took on the appearance it has today. 

The display premises of the Museum consist of twelve rooms with a general ideological division, where the items of ecclesiastical art are displayed in the oldest part of the building that had been originally a Frankish monastery of the 15th century. The administration, the archives, storage and auxiliary facilities are in the more recent building and on part of the first floor, where the premises of the Society of Cypriot Studies are also situated.

The collection of the Museum consists of four thousand items of folk art and pre-industrial technology; it is the largest and most complete of its kind and covers all areas of Cyprus. This unique collection has taken on an even greater significance after the catastrophe of the Turkish invasion, with the loss of private as well as public collections and the forcible expulsion of inhabitants from areas or centres of folk art, such as the Karpass, the Mesaoria plain, Kyrenia and Morphou.

The Cyprus Folk Art Museum has preserved the most complete and representative collection of traditional weaving, lace-work, costumes, wood carvings, items of silver and gold work, metalwork, ceramics, basket-weaving, thatch-work, folk painting and handicrafts. These artefacts date from the time when folk art flourished, which covers approximately the 18th to the middle of the 20th century.

Also of great importance is the Museumís collection of tools and machinery that belong to pre-industrial technology and form a special section, both in the covered premises inside as well as the open-air ones.

The Museum is also rich in archive material, with a large number of photographs, mainly of the occupied territories, which it has collected through extensive expeditions throughout Cyprus during the period 1968-1974.

This brief description of the history and contents of the Cyprus Folk Art Museum makes its great significance clear, not only in Cyprus and the wider Greek world but also on a regional and world-wide level.

We look forward to a bright future for the Museum and believe that the Association of Friends of the Folk Art Museum is reviving its activities at precisely the right moment in order to contribute to the realisation of the Museumís objectives.

Those wishing to register as members of the Association of Friends of the Cyprus Folk Art Museum are requested to contact Mrs Eleni Christou on 22 432578 (Daily, except Monday, from 9.30 until 16.00) or to send their application to the e-mail address: cypriotstudies@logosnet.cy.net. The annual subscription is CYP 5.00.