Brief Introduction to the Vlahokerasia Digital Museum
The idea for an actual folklore museum in Vlahokerasia was conceived in 1991, in the context of the “Vlahokerasiotes Association of Attica – Prophet Ilias”. Under the aegis of the Association, there followed a filed survey of the households in the village by the sociologist Nikos P. Petropoulos and the elementary education teacher Angelos Bistolas. Purpose of the research was to record which of the households had items that could be exhibited in a folklore museum. The study found that most of the households did have such items in their possession. At that time, however, there was no appropriate building infrastructure for the sheltering and maintenance of a folk museum with real items. Twenty years later (2011), the building infrastructure became available following the donation of vacant houses by compatriots to the community. Nonetheless, a surveying of the village households, by secondary education teachers Angeliki Katsafanas and Maria Kopitas, showed that many of the households no longer had in their possession the items that could comprise the exhibits in a real folklore museum. With these outcomes, and because of various other reasons that are spelled out in the general Introduction to the Vlahokerasia Digital Museum, the protagonists in the undertaking adopted the idea of developing a digital museum also taking advantage of the new technologies.
Upon the initiative of the protagonists, the Vlahokerasia Digital Museum Committee was set up to collect, digitalize, classify and publish in the internet materials, such as photographs, historical documents, narratives, CVs, film and video clips, etc. The members of the Committee are:
1. Nikos P. Petropoulos, Sociologist (Ph.D.), Asst. Professor (Universities, USA), former Sociological Counselor of the Pedagogical Institute of Greece, resident of Athens (Coordinator).
2. Angelos E. Bistolas, Elementary School Teacher, resident of Athens.
3. Efstathios N. Chronis, Military Veterinarian, Microbiologist, Food Hygienist, resident of Alexandreia, Imathias.
4. Angelike A. Contogiannis (Contis), Producer/Director of Documentaries, Executive Director of Mt. Mansfield Community TV, resident of Vermont, U.S. A.
5. Angeliki G. Katsafanas, Greek Language, History and Literature, Secondary Education Teacher, resident of Vlahokerasia.
6. Maria V. Kopitas, Greek Language, History and Literature, Secondary Education Substitute Teacher, resident of Vlahokerasia.
7. Anna Martinou, Greek and English Language and Literature Teacher in Secondary Education, Counselor of Education, resident of Athens.
The collection, documenting, processing and posting of materials on the internet lasted over five years. The materials collected were classified in 31 thematic categories which represent the sub-categories in the website menu. All the members of the Committee agreed that the name of the village should constitute an integral part of the domain name.
The Committee made systematic efforts for the collection and incorporation in the Vlahokerasia Digital Museum of materials that were representative of residents, places and activities. In addition, systematic efforts were made to document the V. D. M. and to subject all the texts – Greek and English –to editing. Our special thanks to Anna Martinou, member of the Committee, for her vital contribution to the process of editing. Nonetheless, we do not claim infallibility. The V. D. M. is an open system that can be continuously corrected, supplemented and enriched by new materials contributed by Vlahokerasiotes and the friends of the village, wherever they live. Aside from corrections to possible errors and filling the gaps already designated in the introductions of the thematic units, the Committee is also open to innovative proposals for the further development and improvement of V. D. M.
We would like to point out that V. D. M. is the outcome of an initiative of compatriots, with a non-commercial purpose. The members of the Committee worked as volunteers, without any form of monetary compensation; their primary concern was and is the promotion and progress of their place of origin. The up-to-now expenditures for processing, digitalization and publication on the internet, as well as for the securing of the domain name, the annual subscription and maintenance of the website, have been borne by the Committee members themselves and two other compatriots (businessman Chris Petropoulos and elementary school teacher Vasilis Karatzas) who happened to attend one of the Committee meetings. We express our gratitude to these two compatriots. The Committee would also like to express its gratitude to the Municipality of Tripolis for the posting of the initial announcement on its website and the Municipal Area of Skiritida for hosting our Committee meetings.
More information about the historical background of the V. D. M., its contents, the Committee’s concerns, the contributors to the documentation of materials and the thematic units which need enrichment, the visitor can find in the General Introduction to V. D. M. and the introductions to the thematic units.
On behalf of the Committee,
Nikos P. Petropoulos, Coordinator