The University of Connecticut will soon open a new Sparta museum on its campus which will be entirely dedicated to the ancient Hellenic city-state. The news that the University would construct a museum on the Ancient Hellenic city state was made public after a meeting held two years ago between Ilias Tomazos, the head of the University’s department of Greek studies, and Greece’s Culture Minister Lina Mendoni.

The new Spartan museum will focus its interest on artifacts and events dating from the prehistoric era of the broader Laconia region all the way to Byzantine times. The museum is located in the area of the campus where an Orthodox Christian chapel and a Greek theater are already located, along with a library and an educational center. The stunning, all-marble Classical-style theatre, which was recently completed, seats over 700 spectators.

The nearby Three Hierarchs Byzantine Chapel was opened in 1995. The Greek Orthodox church is open during the academic year and during major holidays. The Macedonia Educational Building, also in the same area of the Storrs campus, was opened in 1997. It includes multiple classrooms, several offices, student meeting rooms, a community hall, a library, and an exhibit hall.

Ilias Katsos, a prominent member of the New York are Greek diaspora, donated funds for four of its marble metopes which are currently being installed. Volunteers such as himself, along with Christo Bakes and Nikos Skroubelos, whose families originated from the Epanou Riza area of the Laconian Northern Taygetos also helped make the gleaming new Museum and its facilities a reality.

Additionally, a new statue of Spartan leader Leonidas, as well as a sculpture depicting the battle of Thermopylae, will be placed there in the future. The majority of the expenses for the construction of this project were covered through donations.

The Greek Culture Ministry, which declared its intention to assist with the Sparta project, also pledged to offer materials that were used in its creation. Mendoni said the Culture Ministry would support the initiative through the provision of sculpture copies, photographic material, and digital media.

The Paideia Center’s Tomazos also informed Mendoni about the cultural programs to be offered at UConn and invited the minister to the opening of the “Alexander the Great” open-air theater in October.