Canadians! You are in luck! One of the most significant exhibitions that has ever travelled outside of Greece has been scheduled to open on December 12. Pointe-à-Callière Museum in Montreal will be the first stop in its tour around North America.

The exhibition, entitled 'The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great' presents 6,000 years of ancient Greek history through 543 ancient artefacts and art pieces drawn from 21 Greek archeological museums. This is the first time most of the artefacts have been allowed to leave Greece. But thanks to a desire to attract tourists from North America, the Greek government has collaborated with four museums to organize an exhibition that uses a prime sample of the country’s ancient treasures to tell how philosophy, geometry, architecture, theatre, poetry and sculpture originated in Greece.

Videos are an integral part of the exhibition, used to personalize the ancient Greeks whose artifacts are on display and place them in a historical context. Some videos show how tools were used to make an artifact; one clever animation uses the familiar black silhouette figures from Greek pottery of the seventh to fifth centuries BCE to describe the mechanics of democracy. They include the discs that Athenians used to cast a secret ballot and a water clock that limited political speeches to the time it took to drain a jug. Both items are in the exhibition nearby.

Two artefacts in particular  symbolize Hellas' proudest achievement: the invention of democracy. The first is the 'crouching man' on an amulet in a display at the entrance. The graphic image, which dates to 6000 BCE, depicts a man submitting himself to the Gods. A marble relief from 460 BCE depicts an athlete crowning himself – as a free citizen with the democratic rights of self-rule. Other objects include artefacts from Philip II of Macedon’s tomb, including a gold diadem worn as a crown and pieces of the gold dress armour he was buried in, along with a delicate gold wreath of myrtle leaves from an adjoining tomb of Queen Meda, his sixth wife.

The Greek Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Consortium of North American Museums organized the exhibition, with the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa as its official representative. During an event for the exhibition presentation which took place at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki the institution representatives characterized their work as an ancient Greek civilization panorama.

The exhibition will remain at Pointe-à-Callière Museum from December 12, 2014 to April 26, 2015. The exhibition will then shift to the Canadian Museum of History for four months starting June 5. Then it’s off to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and the National Geographic Museum in Washington, where it will wrap up on Oct. 9, 2016. The Canadian Museum of History museum expects to attract 150,000 visitors. Pointe-à-Callière is projecting a similar number.