The Historical and Folklore Museum
of Rethymno is a private institution founded in 1973 by Mrs. Faly G. Voyatzakis and the late Christophoros I. Stavroulakis. The aims of
the Foundation are the collection and preservation of historical and folklore material from all over Crete and especially the prefecture of
Rethymnon, as well as the stimulation of interest in the study of Cretan tradition.
The Museum is housed in a restored Venetian building,
listed by the Ministry of Culture as a historic monument with conservation status, which has been donated by the co-founder and President
of the Museum, Mrs. Faly G.Voyatzakis. Situated in the old town of Rethymno it constitutes a typical example of an urban dwelling of the last phase
of Venetian rule in Crete (late 16th - early 17th century). The remarkable monument offers the ideal shelter to historical and traditional handicraft collections. Collections
The Museum's collections include over 5.000 items that come from donations, purchases and loans. They are displayed in units:
Folk Art collections include weaving, basket weaving, embroidery-laces, costumes, ceramics, metal work, traditional cultivations, traditional occupations, while
the historical ones include documents, photographs, maps, weapons, banners and coins. Hall Ι is devoted to the art of weaving.
19th and 20th century textiles woven with flax, cotton, wool and silk, items for dowries, domestic use and interior decoration are displayed there. Hall ΙΙ contains embroidery and lace. Embroidered dress borders dating back to the 17th and 18th century are characteristic in Crete
of this art of Byzantine influence. Various samples of linen included in the upper class dowries from late 19th and early 20th centuries are also displayed here. Hall ΙΙΙ is reserved for
basketry and pottery, as well as methods and tools of these Cretan handicrafts.
The rich nature of Crete provided various materials such as reed, wild olive tree, willow, wheat stems and others, out of which craftsmen made baskets of various
shapes and sizes, adapted to the everyday needs. The art of pottery is also presented with the traditional foot-powered "wheel" for vessels and earthenware pots for
farming needs, food storage and other uses.
In Hall ΙV are displayed traditional agricultural tools
for cultivating and harvesting grain, for grinding grain and for kneading and baking the traditional Rethymnon bread. With the models of a water mill and an olive press the
exhibition is concluded.
In hall VIII are presented the traditional professions
of the coppersmith, the saddler, the farmer and the cutler. Hall VI is a multi-purpose hall for lectures and other cultural events. It is equipped with the latest audio-visual systems.
At present it also houses the exhibition "Rethymno from 1898 to 1913" that presents the political, social and economic life of this period of the city.