Due to rich historical and cultural heritage the museums in Corfu are many and offer a wide variety of exhibits from Neolithic times to the present, there are also cultural museums dedicated to the rich intellectual life of the Ionian Islands, a bright example is Corfu Reading Society.
There are also scattered museums throughout the island, not just in the city, in fact two of the most important such as the Achilleion palace and the shell museum are near and within Benitses village.
Also there are two folklore museums in the villages of Sinarades and Acharavi, an olive museum in Kynopiastes, the museum in honor to Kapodistrias at Evropouloi and the museum of traditional Corfiot and Greek costumes in Pelekas.
Most important Museums and Art exhibitions in Corfu
Corfu archaeological museum
Corfu Archaeological museum is located in Garitsa near the seaside boulevard in the street of Armeni Braila 1.
Built in the 60s under the standards followed then for buildings intended to be Museums and started its operation at September of 1967.
Its the larger of Corfu museums, a two floor building with a courtyard garden and a balcony at the south and east side of the first floor.
The vast bulk of the exhibits are located on the first floor which comprises by four rooms and a hallway.
The largest western hall along with other artifacts from ancient temples of Palaiopolis is the pediment of the Temple of Artemis in 580 b.c with gigantic dimensions, 17 meters width and 3 meters height and its central theme is the mythical monstrous Gorgon.
Major exhibits are the archaic funerary lion of Menekratis (late 7th century bc) found in the circular cenotaph of Menekratis, the left side of an archaic pediment (the pediment of Dionysus 500 BC) with dimensions of 2.73 meters long and about 1 meter in height that was found in Figareto and depicts of a Dionysiac banquet scene, the bronze statuette of a young “komastos” (570 BC) who runs and on his left hand holds a “rhyton”, the head of a kouros of 6th century b.c which was found in excavations of Paleopolis in Mon Repos, a clay statuette of Artemis (490 BC) found in Kanoni, the kouros of Corfu (530 BC) from Parian marble headstone and the Arniada (630-600 BC) found in the ancient cemetery near Garitsa.
In the museum there are finds of Palaeolithic and Early Bronze Age as well as recent articles of the Hellenistic and Roman period.
If someone wants to visit both the Museum, the Old Fortress, the Temple of Antivouniotissa and the Asian Art Museum can purchase a ticket for all with 8 €, ie minus 4 €
The Museum is located at Armeni Braila 1 street and the phone is: 26610 30680
Museum of Asian art
A museum dedicated to Asian art, it is housed in the Palace of St. Michael and St. George.
Hosts the rich collection of Corfiot diplomat Grigorios Manos consisting of 10,000 objects, the collection of the former ambassador Nikos Chatzivasileiou with approximately 200 objects and some smaller collections of diplomats Nikos Sinioglou and Pavlos Almanachos.
Among the exhibits are:
- Bronze vases of China of the time of Chinese entry in historical times,
- The pottery of the Cheo era,
- Figurines since the Han dynasty,
- Pottery tomb figurines from the time of the Tang Dynasty,
- A bronze statue of Buddha since the Sung dynasty,
- Small statues, vases and jars from the golden era of the Ming Dynasty,
- Several miniatures from semi-precious stones, arms and armor samurai divisions,
- Drama masks of theater No,
- Indian wooden objects with love scenes, etc.
Byzantine Museum of Corfu
Byzantine museum is housed in the church of Panagia Antivouniotissa in Kampielo at Mouragia and includes sculptures of Christian architecture, parts of mosaic floors, frescoes and Byzantine icons from the 16th to the 18th century from various churches on the island.
Museum of Banknotes
Museum of Banknotes is a unique museum that is operating since 1981 and is housed in the Neoclassical building of the Ionian Bank in the Square of heros known as the Plakada of Saint Spiridon, there was the first ever Greek bank in 1839, when Corfu and other Ionian Islands were still constituted the Ionian state.
Along with the exhibits it shows the history and method of production.
This is the only museum of its kind operating in Greece and one of the few in the world, it contains a remarkable collection of rare coins, dies print photos and artwork.
Remarkably, it shows all stages of production notes, starting from the initial design and production of paper as well as the way of destruction at old kilns.
Among exhibits: the notes issued by the Ionian Bank from 1839 until 1920.
Also, the first notes that were released in liberated Greece in 1831 during the government of Ioannis Kapodistrias and the first notes released by the National Bank of Greece in 1840.
It is worth to see the collected notes from the post-war period from various countries as well as the Chinese note dating back to 1300 which is one of the oldest surviving in the world.
The phone of the Museum is: 26610 41552
Mon Repos, the Museum
A Palace built by the British Commissioner Sir Frederick Adam in 1830 when the island was under British rule, built within the boundaries of the ancient city of Corfu before the excavations which unearthed the ruins of the ancient city.
Once was the summer villa of the former Greek royal family and birth place for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Today it houses the museum of Paleopolis that was the ancient Corfu.
Exhibits are archaeological findings from the first antiquities found during the British rule and findings from the excavations between 1936-1955 which revealed parts of the ancient Agora and the early Christian basilica.
Also Byzantine artifacts, furniture and dresses from the period of British rule, paintings and other memorabilia from the history of Corfu.
The ruins of Paleopolis, the Roman baths, the dockyards of the port of Alkinoos and a large section of the cobbled Market that came to light recently, are nearby.
In the halls of Mon Repos today events are organized by the Municipality of Corfu as well as special formal sittings.
The home of our National poet Dionisios Solomos in the third end of Arseniou street at Mouragia has been turned into a museum, it is the place where the Poet lived for 30 years and inspired his poems.
It presents furniture, personal items, photographs and historical material from his life.
The music museum of Nikolaos Mantzaros
A museum Unique of its kind in Greece, in honor to Nicholaos Halikiopoulos Mantzaros.
The museum displays the history of Corfu Philharmonic Society, founded in 1840, whose first director was the composer Nicholaos Mantzaros.
The exhibits are of course old musical instruments, photographs, sheet music, rare first recordings and many others related to the composer’s work.
For the uninitiated Nicholaos Halikiopoulos Mantzaros (1795-1872) was the composer of Greek national anthem and the composer of the Olympic anthem.
The museum is located in the heart of the old town of Corfu, on the first floor of the building of Philharmonic Society at Street of Nikiforos Theotokis 10.
Museum of Ioannis Kapodistrias
A museum in honor to the first governor of Greece and a large child of Corfu, Ioannis Kapodistrias, was missing from Corfu.
This large gap was filled in 1981 with the establishment of the Centre of Kapodistrian Studies – Museum of Kapodistrias.
The museum is located near the village of Evropouli, 3 km from Corfu town, in a place called Koukouritsa, housed in an estate owned by Kapodistrias family and donated by a descendent of Kapodistrias and former mayor of Corfu from 1956 to 1959 Mary Desylla – Kapodistrias.
The exhibits are the governor’s personal belongings, furnishings of that period and other personal things.
The address is: Centre of Kapodistrian Studies, POBox 49100 Eyropouloi – Corfu.
Phones are: +30 26610 39528 and +30 26610 32440
Contains some of the greatest works of painters from Eptanese of the 19th century, also engravings and sculptures.
Municipal library originally housed in a building of Dalietos legacies, today is housed in the palace of Saints Michael and George.
Corfu Reading Society
Founded in 1836 at the time of English domination, and now housed in a building of 19th century opposite and behind the Palace of St. Michael and St. George at Kapodistriou Street number 120 in Mouragia.
Corfu reading society is the oldest spiritual institution in modern Greece and prominent members of it were the most famous Personalities of culture, art and politics of Ionian isles, personalities as the Bishop of the Union Athanasios Politis, Angelos Kogevinas, Viaros and Augustinos Capodistrias, the National poet Dionysios Solomos, the poets Andreas Kalvos and G. Markoras, politician George Theotokis, Iakovos Polylas, Spyros Samaras the composer of the Olympic anthem, Nicholas Tomazaios, Nicholas Mantzaros composer of our national anthem, Lorenzo Mavilis Secretary of the Company until his heroic death in Driskos, Angelos Giallinas, Dinos Theotokis, the Bishop of Corfu and later Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and many others.
It has more than 10, 000 volumes of Ionian literature as well as rich general library.
Very often presentations of paint collections and prints are happened, also old maps, photographs, magazines and newspapers are presented.
It has rich active in art exhibitions, maintains cooperation at scientific level with Greek and foreign universities.
At its rooms conferences are organized, lectures, seminars and musical events.
It is open to visitors every day except Sundays from 9:00 in the morning until 2.00 pm.
Telephone number is: 26610 44165
Museums in the villages of Corfu
Museum in Achilleion
The Achillion Palace built in 1890 by Queen Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary, now a museum and historical site.
The exhibits are particularly beautiful sculptures of mythical Achilles and ancient philosophers, heroes and mythical ancient gods, ordered by the queen from different sculptors of the 20th century, and the unique crafted paintings of the best artists of the time.
Along the features is the 12 meters high statue of Achilles in the gardens of Achilleion, the famous statue of the dying Achilles which is an art by German sculptor Ernst Gustav Herter, the depicting Achilles injured trying to remove the arrow from his heel, and the panel-painting by Austrian artist Franz Matsch, the famous triumph of Achilles depicting the hero dragging the dead body of Hector outside the walls of Troy with his chariot.
The Achilleion museum is located on top of the hill, the highest point of the village of Gastouri and attracts hundreds of tourists daily.
For more information about the exhibits, opening hours and ticket prices read here.
Corfu Shell Museum
In Benitses there is the Corfu shell museum with one of Europe’s largest collection of shells and other marine species, it was housed in a building on the highway at the entrance of the village as we enter from Corfu, but from 2015 onwards moved in a lobby of Potamaki hotel.
The museum is a gem for Benitses, not only because it is one of the few of its kind in Greece but also because the rich collection consists of very rare and beautiful marine species, some of which claim Guinness awards due to their rarity and beauty.
Created by the diver and collector Napoleon Sagias who enriched the museum with rare findings collected during his 20 years traveling in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, diving and collecting shells.
The museum’s collection is huge, important exhibits are: the shell Kypraia foultoni, shell Melo Amphora, the HALIOTIS IRIS from Zealand of the most beautiful in the world, TRIDACNA GIGAS the largest in the world, other poisonous shells, rare starfish, small and large stuffed fish, rare sharks, piranhas from the Amazon, many crustaceans and other ..
There are shells from Australia, the Philippines, the islands of Samoa, Fiji, the coral reefs of Australia and other places.
Shell “Kypraia Foultoni” (Cypraea Fultoni) of Cypraeidae family is one of the rarest in the world, it was purchased by Mr. Sagias in Mozambique from a fishermen who found it in the belly of a fish.
Shell “Melo amphora” of “Volutidae” family is perhaps the largest in the world, was found in Rosemary Island at Dampier archipelago north of Australia.
In the museum there is also a blue shark.
The maritime museum has been honored for his contribution and international prized by the Italian institute of marine research I.R.E.D.A.
Besides tourists, frequent visitors of the museum are schools from all over Corfu and the rest of Greece.
For more information call 26610 72227.
Folklore museum in Acharavi
This folklore museum is housed in two rooms of a building situated just opposite the ancient Roman baths in the seaside village of Acharavi in center northern Corfu.
In the museum there is an interesting collection of folklore items mainly from the region of northern Corfu, objects mainly household as furniture, a loom, a traditional mill for kitchen utensils and agricultural tools of past centuries, a watermill, church supplies and other items showing the historical evolution of Corfu since then.
certainly exhibited are old photographs, books and manuscripts with the oldest of them since 1862.
Important exhibits also are coins from the period of the Ionian State (1799-1864)
Museum of Folk costumes in Pelekas
In the mountain village of Pelekas there is an important private collection of traditional costumes mainly from the 19th century.
The costumes comes from both Corfu and the rest of Greece, the collection is private and is housed in the home of the owner.
It offers to the visitors a great opportunity to admire the art and the details in the construction of local costumes in almost all parts of Greece, both in the mainland and in the island country.
In the museum also there is a small section dedicated to the musical heritage of Corfu
The Olive Museum in Kinopiastes
Located in the traditional village of Kynopiastes, a village of middle Corfu close enough to the city.
It is relatively new and as shown by its name is intended to keep the memories about the old oil mills abounded throughout Corfu, presenting a well maintained traditional oil mill, such as other traditional objects of rural life in the villages of Corfu of the past centuries