On October 1989 the Basil Papantoniou Foundation (ex Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation) inaugurates in the old railway station in Nafplion a model place dedicated to the child. This area which includes the building of the depot of the old Nafplion Railway Station and the platform, was granted by the Municipality of Nafplion to the BPF and it has been converted by it into a child’s area with multiple uses called “Stathmos” (The Station).
A part of the BPF collections related to the child was presented in the display: objects associated with the birth, christening, and school. puppet and shadow puppet (“karaghiozis”) figures, toys of all kinds.
The intention of the BPF is to make known to the public the rich museum objects available at its disposal and ask for a moral and material contribution to its efforts. The donation of objects, money sums and ideas will help the ulterior motive of the PFF, the establishment of the first Childhood Museum in Greece.
The “Stathmos” was not only used as an exhibition area but it was occupied the educational programmes of the BPF. The functioning of these programmes began a year after the establishment of the BPF in 1975. During the first years the programmes included Greek dance lessons. The acquaintance with the Greek Folk Music and traditional dress was attained through them. Then, with the active children’s participation, they extended to the customs of the folk festivities: carols and bread-making at Christmas, maypole dancing and flying kites at Carnival, baskets with eggs and small ring-shaped biscuits at Easter etc.
Periodical exhibitions with themes that touch the child, like puppet theatre, gave new impulsion. The children wrote the plays, made the figures and played shadow puppet (“Karaghiozis”).
A landmark was the organization of the exhibition “The child and the toy” in 1985-1986 by the BPF. In the introductory text, Mrs. Virginia Matseli, its inspirator, marks that “this exhibition…aims to announce the establishment of a Childhood Museum in Nafplion”. During the exhibition, a large number of children participated in individual or team games and in different activities taking themes from the exhibition. Its effect immediately attracted the attention and sympathy of the public and after the closing of the exhibition there was a flood of donation of treasured childhood belongings, which enriched the collections of the BPF.
“Stathmos” is a place where learning is attained through the active participation of the children in games and pastimes where the folk tradition is dealt with love and respect.
The renovation of the building is a courtesy of the Municipality of Nafplion.