The Museum of Marble Crafts, in Pirgos, on the island of Tinos,

The Museum of Marble Crafts, in Pirgos, on the island of Tinos,

The Museum of Marble Crafts, in Pirgos, on the island of Tinos, is a unique example presenting the technology of marble, a material that holds a particular place in the architecture and art of Greece, from antiquity through to the present. The permanent exhibition, which describes the intricate meshing of tools and techniques used in working marble in a detailed and live manner, puts an emphasis on the pre- and proto- industrial Tinos, the most important centre of marble crafts in Modern Greece. In parallel, it highlights the social and economic context that the local workshops evolved in.

What is on display? 

The permanent exhibition of the Museum of Marble Crafts of Tinos allows you to see first hand an impressive number of authentic objects, such as: 

  • Secular, ecclesiastical, funerary and everyday objects made of marble (door lintels, fountains, family crests, corbels, shrines, mortars, etc.)
  • Clay models and plaster of Paris copies
  • Quarrying, cutting and carving tools
  • Mechanical equipment
  • Archival material
  • Sketches of old marble carvings by master craftsmen (the richest collection in Greece). 

The exhibits are flanked by interconnected representations of a quarry, of a marble-craft workshop and the assembly/positioning of a bishop’s throne. The exhibition’s audiovisual material brings to life the traditional work methods of the quarryman and the marble craftsman. 

After the technological itinerary of marble, the exhibition presents, through abundant audiovisual material and original artefacts, the social and economic side of this craft, the categories of its products, the historical trajectory of marble carving and sculpting in Tinos, as well as the contribution of Tinian marble craftsmen to the construction of Athens and other towns in the 19th century. The intense presence of marble across the width and breadth of Tinos is recorded in the images of a travelogue, which incites you to go on your own discovery missions of the island. 

The exhibition extends into the museum’s outdoor areas where, together with completed and semi-wrought marble works, visitors can see historical mechanical equipment that reflects typical images of in-situ working environments. The equipment, which was salvaged, repaired and restored to function under the care of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation, comprises: 

  • A hoisting machine for blocks of marble (crane)
  • A trolley for the transportation of marble blocks (from the quarry at Vathi)
  • A wagon-truck for rubble and chippings (a sesoula or scoop), a bend-corner and rails (from the quarry at Patela). 

Of interest to children 

Young visitors have the opportunity to see large marble rocks in their natural state, to feel their texture, and to observe their colour and crystals with a magnifying glass. 

Watching the museum’s prize-winning educational films featuring old Tinian master craftsmen, they will acquaint themselves in a live manner with the itinerary from the raw material to the finished work: 

  • The quarrying of the marble
  • Its initial processing and transportation
  • The shaping, decorating and positioning of marble constructions. 

Particularly popular with children, but of interest for adults, too, are the demonstrations by local craftsmen on how marble is processed, which are organized at the museum following prior arraangement.  The museum also organizes educational programmes with games and activities for schools and group visits.