The village of Vlahokerasia is located about 20 km south of the capital of Arcadia, Tripolis, and three kilometers from the national road that leads to the capital of Laconia, ancient Sparta. In accordance with the 2011 census, Vlahokerasia had 424 residents. In 1928, its population was 1600 residents. During the 1928-2011 period, there was a reduction of 80%. Undoubtedly, the principal factor accounting for this reduction was urbanization within the country and emigration to the overseas countries. A “census” of all Vlahokerasiotes, abroad and in Greece (1988-1992), conducted under the aegis of the Attica Vlahokerasiotes Association recorded 3,742 Vlahokerasiotes, of whom 42% lived in the Attica region (Athens Metropolitan Area), 20% abroad (U.S., Australia, and Canada), 20% in other towns and cities of Greece and 17% in the village of Vlahokerasia. The residents of Vlahokerasia were mainly senior citizens since the younger generation had taken the road of migration, either for abroad or for other cities within the country. As a result, there followed a shrinking of agricultural activities, traditional businesses and enrollments in the school of Vlahokerasia
In 1991, and in the context of the Vlahokerasiotes Association of Attica, was born the idea to create a Folk Museum in Vlahokerasia, with the ultimate purpose to contribute to the further cultural and economic development of our village. There followed a house-to-house field research by the undersigned and Angelos Bistolas to record the potential items (e.g., plows, hand looms, traditional apparel etc.) for inclusion in the folk museum. The census showed that there was available sufficient material. Unfortunately, at the time there were no buildings to house the folk collection, and the project was postponed. In 2011, 20 years later, two houses had been donated to the Community of Vlahokerasia and could be used for the purposes of a folk museum. The idea of creating an actual folk museum was revived, and a committee of Vlahokerasiotes, permanent residents of the village or Athens, was set up to implement the original idea. Prerequisite, however, was the availability of the folk materials recorded in 1991. With the help of Angeliki Katsafanas and Maria Kopitas we carried out (by telephone) a confirmation survey. Our expectations were not confirmed; most of our compatriots had discarded the folk items. The idea of creating an actual folk museum came to an end. We concluded that it would be best to create a digital museum – the Vlahokerasia Digital Museum (VDM), considering also the costs of refurbishment of the available buildings as well as the costs of maintenance, security and operation of an actual museum. Our new immediate and practical aim became the collection and digitalization of materials (photographs, historical documents, publications, narratives, video clips etc.) that would depict over time the activities of Vlahokerasiotes – at home and abroad.
The Vlahokerasia Digital Museum Committee during a meeting at the offices of the Municipal Area of Skiritida (Vlahokerasia). Sitting, from the left, are Efstathios Chronis, Angelos Bistolas, Nikos Petropoulos and Anna Martinou. Standing, from the left, are Maria Kopitas and Aggeliki (Kiki) Katsafanas. Vlahokerasia, 21 August 2015. Missing from the picture is Angelike Kontogiannis (Contis), the 7th member of the Committee, omogenis from Vermont, New England, U.S.A. (Source of photo: Eleni Haritos, wife of Nikos D. Haritos, omogenis from Chicago).