On Thursday, April 4th Corinth Excavations, in collaboration with the Ephoreia of Antiquities of the Corinthia, the Psychology Club of the American College of Greece-Pierce, and the 3rd Gymnasium of Corinth, organized a major museum education program for 42 students (ages 12-14) from the two schools. This was the fourth such program organized through a very productive and inspiring collaboration initiated and since then coordinated by Dr. Nektaria Glinou, Pierce School Psychologist, and Associate Director of Corinth Excavations, Ioulia Tzonou. In following with previous years’ thematic approach, the selected theme for this year was “Beauty”- the perception of beauty in the ancient world and today.


Director of Corinth Excavations, Christopher Pfaff, welcomes students of the 3rd Gymnasium of Corinth and of the American College of Greece-Pierce to Ancient Corinth. 


Director of Corinth Excavations Christopher Pfaff welcomed participants on site while Yiota Kassimi, Ephor of Antiquities of the Corinthia, was unfortunately unable to attend due to pressing work commitments. Steinmetz Family Foundation Museum Fellow, Eleni Gizas, organized the museum session around five general themes: female beauty, male beauty, the beauty of the gods, the beauty of craft, and the grotesque. Five group leaders (Eleni Gizas, Ioulia Tzonou, Manolis Papadakis, and Nicol Anastassatou from the ASCSA, and Yiannis Xenitopoulos, Museum Studies intern from the Ephoreia of Antiquities of the Corinthia) were each situated at a station in a specific part of the museum along with a tray of intentionally selected artifacts pulled from storage. The objects from storage and the works on display directly beside the individual stations provided a diverse but purposeful range of artifacts from which to explore criteria that have led to different perceptions of beauty. The goal was to show artifacts that conform to our idealized definitions of beauty alongside examples that challenge these subjective standards through time and cultures. Students from both schools were mixed and divided into five smaller groups of 8-9 students and were led from station to station over the course of an hour. At each station, the students were able to examine and discuss the artworks on display, the objects from storage, and also color print outs of modern day examples of beauty. They had the advantage of handling a great number of artifacts that are not on display and of discussing beauty in multiple contexts.



Museum Studies intern of the Ephoreia of Antiquities of the Corinthia, Yiannis Xenitopoulos, discusses perceptions of female beauty with a group of students. 


Head Conservator Nicol Anastassatou holds an object from the museum's storeroom for students to examine up close.


Steinmetz Fellow Eleni Gizas shows students a "grotesque" figure from a terracotta roof sima (water spout) from the museum's storeroom.


The program continued in the sunny garden terrace of Hill House, where the students held oral and musical performances pertaining to the central theme. Pairs of students from the 3rd Gymnasium recited famous quotes about beauty by ancient and modern philosophers, writers, and poets, selected by philologist Maria Georgoudi and Principal of the 3rd Gymnasium, Kornilia Koundouri, as they held exquisitely crafted signs displaying each author’s name. For example, a student recited the following by Anton Chekhov: “Στον άνθρωπο όλα πρέπει να είναι ωραία: και το πρόσωπο, και το ντύσιμο, και η ψυχή, και οι σκέψεις." (“To a person everything must be beautiful: and the face, and the clothes, and the soul, and the thoughts.”) Dora Panagopoulou and Orestes Chatzinakis, music teachers from Pierce, led all the students in a musical recital of excerpts from "Erotokritos" by Vitsentzos Kornaros, "Κέλομαί σε Γογγύλα," a poem by Sappho with music by Manos Hatzidakis, and "Omorfi Mera" by Dionysis Savvopoulos. The afternoon concluded with an outdoor lunch and a circle dance that involved all participants.


Students from the 3rd Gymnasium of Corinth recite famous quotes about beauty by ancient and modern philosophers, writers, and poets.


Music teachers Dora Panagopoulou and Orestes Chatzinakis and three students from Pierce lead the musical recital.


The program was supported by Olympia Odos and Diazoma. Those in attendance had the honor of meeting Mr. Panayiotis Papanikolas, CEO of Olympia Odos, and staunch supporter of the educational programs. A short film documenting the day’s activities and the participants’ experiences will be released shortly by Olympia Odos.


Students sing songs about beauty in the garden terrace of Hill House.



Participants pose for a group photograph before the Odeion of Ancient Corinth.