Museums and libraries in Kalymnos
At Pothia: the Archaeological Museum, houses in a building raised sometime
in mid 19th century and further renovated in 1894. A true palace of its
kind, it features some of the owner's - Mrs. Catharine Vouvali - finest
belongings, notably porcelains and objects made of noble metals - silver
Spouse to an illustrious merchant who acquired an exceptionally sizeable fortune, she made use of her exceptional opulence to help her native island and made several donations. On show at the museum: archaeological findings, tools and pottery originating from the cave of Aghia Varvara as well as from the sites of Daskalio and Chiromandres.
Also to be admired are the two showcases featuring items of prehistoric (5000 BC) and historic times, reaching as far recently as the Byzantine era. Out in the courtyard of the museum, one may admire several inscribed steles, parts and fragments of architectural constructions and pieces of ancient statues.
Next to the Town Hall, one comes across the Maritime Museum. It comprises four halls, featuring exhibits mostly reflecting the life of the sponge divers in the early years of the 20th century: stone, lead and iron-made anchors, maritime charts (some of them dating as far back as the 16th and 17th centuries, findings from various ship wrecks, stone cannonballs, ship masts, ship lanterns, dishes decorated with scenes of sea life and numerous wooden ship miniatures. In the second and third hall of the museum, one comes across various tools and paraphernalia used in the fishing of sponges, from the 19th century through to this day.
Among the interesting objects on show, one should not miss the famous "skantalopetres" - name used locally to designate the stones used as weight helping sponge divers to immerse and reach the sea bottom, as well as various navigation instruments (sextants, compasses, barometers, mile meters), diving suits and air-supply pumps, sponge cleansing and processing instruments but also shells. In the last hall one comes across traditional costumes, dishes, scarves, loom-woven fabrics, musical instruments, time furniture, weaving tools, utensils used for kneading and earthen pots.
The Folklore Museum, at a 5 km distance SW, on the road to Vothynoi. Here, a real, traditional home ambience of Kalymnos has been reconstructed. On show: costumes, loom, a spindle, loom-woven fabrics, time crockery and glassware, a hand-operated grinder, jars, kitchen utensils, the "krevatos" (local term for conjugal alcove), an infant cradle and a sofa. Also on show: old coins, books, letters, arms and swords. The curators of this museum invariably offer visitors a glass of "anama", the much appreciated local wine and a slice of traditional dough bread, while briefing them on the customs and lore of the people of Kalymnos.
The "Musae" Cultural Centers and Reading Room, with an interesting library housed on the first floor of the premises.