The Basil Papantoniou Foundation (BPF) -ex Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation (PFF)- is a nonprofit institution based in Nafplion and aims at the research, preservation, study and presentation of the contemporary culture.It was founded in 1974 by Ioanna Papantoniou in memory of her father, Vassilios Papantoniou. It is housed in the residence of V. Papantoniou, which was converted into a museum in 1981 and its first exhibition, was entitled: "Local costumes of the Peloponnese".

The foundation’s collections now number 50,000 artifacts, covering all the branches of study relating to modern Greek culture.


In order to improve the management of the collections, the “Aristeides” programme for electronic documentation was created.

In 1976 Stelios Papadopoulos was appointed curator and introduced the necessary scientific infrastructure.

In 1977 the new museum wing, as well as the renovation of the old building were inaugurated, designed by Vivi Mylopoulou - architect and Demetris Criticos - civil engineer. In the same year the BPF became member of ICOM.

In 1981 was designed by the architect Costis Adamopoulos the ground floor space of the museum. This same year won the Museum of the Year main Award (EMYA) for its exhibition ”The Production, Elaboration and Use of Natural Fibres in Greece”.

In 1970-1980 a research project was run over the whole of Greece. Its aim was the documentation and study of folk culture, music and dance, preindustrial technology and children games.


The results of the research became the main body of the publishing activities of the Foundation, that include the special scientific journal “Ethnografika”, which numbers today 15 volumes, and the journal “Endymatologika”, published in 5 volumes.


In 1983 the “Essai sur la chanson populaire grecque” by the distinguished Swiss Ethnomusicologist Samuel Baud-Bovy was published with an introduction by Fivos Anoyianakis, while in the very same year a double LP was released with music from South Italy and Sicily as the result of a research project carried out by Lambros Liavas and Nicos Dionysopoulos.


In 1985 a 10year ethnomusical research project in Cyprus was fulfilled and the results were presented in a box of 7 LPs and a textbook which represent a selection of six hours recordings. Music supervision was made by the ethnomusicologist Fivos Anoyianakis. The whole research project was prepared by Alecos Kleitou Iakovides collaborator of the BPF.


On October 1989, the BPF founded “Stathmos”, the first Greek childhood museum, housed in the engine-shed of the Nafplion railway station. The BPF made a significant contribution to the experimental programme titled MELINA - Education and Culture, by mounting educational programmes in a total of eight schools throughout Greece.

In 1989 Melina Mercouri as Minister of Culture assigned to the BPF the National Costume Archives. In 2003 Ioanna Papantoniou founded the Greek Costume Society as an extension of the Archives, aiming to a Costume Culture Museum in Greece.

The Museum, renovated 1999, housed the exhibition “The best of the PFF”.


This same year the BPF celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary with the following exhibitions:



Vestments, the Eastern Orthodox Church
Benaki Museum, Athens



Krossia, Chitones, Doulamades and Velades
Foundation of the Hellenic World, Athens



Yannis Tseklenis: A Greek Fashion Designer
Thesion Theatre, Athens



Jean Desses: A Greek Fashion Designer
Building of the Society of Greek Archaeologists, Athens



The Greek costumes of Lykeion ton Hellinidon in the work of Tsarouchis,
jointly organised with the Tsarouchis Foundation, Museum of the Lykeion ton Hellinidon, Athens


Since 1999 a lot of exhibitions took place at the new space of multiple activities of the BPF, with the most significant the "Dark Rooms" of Maria Loizidou in 2003. The artist embraced with this exhibition not only the multiple activities space, but also all the other spaces in which were displayed the precious pieces of the Museum, which was for the first time in Greece.

In 2005 the ehibition "The white clothes of the PFF" presented to the public wedding and christening dresses from the BPF's collection.

In 2006, to celebrate its 32 years a new reshuffling led to a larger museum shop, an exhibition with the emphasis on “The Greek town: Nafplion 1822-1922” and an introductory show-case presenting heteroclite museum items in a daring free installation in order to emphasize the flexibility of its collecting philosophy. This museological proposal was sporadically presented in the Nafplion Museum from 1999 up to January 2006 and in “The Ptychoseis” exhibition of the 2004 Cultural Olympiad at the new Benaki Museum.


In 2013 BPF was honoured by the Academy of Athens for its long term contribution to the promotion of the Hellenic culture.

In 2014, to celebrate its 40 years, a number of exhibitions were planned of which the most important one was the “Patterns of Magnificence”. The exhibition was originally planned for the Hellenic Centre of London. It was redesigned for the Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Centre in Athens and finally traveled to Cyprus to be presented at the Leventis Municipal Museum.

Another exhibition, “Brides”, was set up at the new Benaki Museum in Athens and at the Fougaro Cultural Centre in Nafplion.

In 2015, the new permanent exhibition “The collections: A journey through space and time” is dedicated to the Foundation collections which now number over 50,000 artifacts from 22 different categories, relating to the contemporary culture. The continuous enrichment of the collections presented through a daring free installation, number selected items from the natural and social environment, developing in Greek historical space and time.

The PFF has also organised many exhibitions in Greece and abroad, the most important of which are the following:



Europalia. Three Cycles of Life
Brussels 1982

  Greek Costumes and Jewellery, Past and Present
Athens 1985 – Athens Cultural Capital οf Europe


Salute to Greece (Year devoted to Greece)
Greek Costumes
Dallas, Texas 1990



Salute to Greece (Year devoted to Greece)
Children’s Drawings/Karagiozis
Dallas, Texas 1990



Ptychoseis = Folds and Pleats
Athens 2004 – Cultural Olympiad, Benaki Museum (Pireos annex)

  32 years of the PFF
Athens 2006 - Benaki Museum (Pireos annex) and
Nicosia 2006 - Leventis Municipal Museum


6 'Universal' Greek Fashion Designers Athens 2006 - 4th Greek Fashion Week

For this exhibition the PFF was awarded by the Hellenic Fashion Designers.



Endyesthai (To dress). Towards a Costume Culture Museum
Lanitis Foundation, Limassol 2007


Alice and Nestor Teloglion
Thessaloniki 2009 - Teloglion Fine Arts Foundation


Athens 2009 - Athens Fashion Week


  Endyesthai (To dress). Towards a Costume Culture Museum
Athens 2010 - Benaki Museum (Pireos annex)


“6 'Universal' and 3 Contemporary Greek Fashion Designers"
London 2012 - Hellenic Centre



As a member of the ICOM Costume Committee the PFF has organised the following meetings:

1. The Costume Committee Working Group meeting (1981).

2. The Costume Committee (1984) annual meeting, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the PFF.

3. The 53rd Annual Meeting of the Costume Committee (1999).

4. The 68th Annual Meeting of the Costume Committee (2014).

There was a special collaboration between the PFF and the Municipality of Nicosia, the Leventis Foundation in Nicosia, and the Educational Academy of Cyprus. Of outmost importance was the ten year documentation on the field of Cypriot folk music.

One of the main aims of the PFF was postgraduate study grants. From 1981 to 2003 members of the PFF Lambros Liavas, Rena Loutzaki, Vasiliki Menaiou, Giannis Kaltsas, Cleo Gougouli and Vasilis Zidianakis graduated abroad in the fields of ethnomusicology, dance anthropology, textile restoration, library science, social anthropology, ethnology.

The PFF is collaborating with many other Museums and organizations of Greece and abroad, such as the Benaki Museum, the Foundation of the Hellenic World, the Lalaounis Jewelry Museum, the Lyceum of Greek Women, the Lanitis Foundation, the Hellenic Centre in London, the Fougaro Cultural Centre in Nafplion etc. There also was a special collaboration between the PFF and the Municipality of Nicosia, the Leventis Foundation in Nicosia, and the Educational Academy of Cyprus.

The 50 years of the PFF are characterisizing by the research projects of his collaborators in the whole of Greece, Cyprus and South Italy.