The Basil Papantoniou Foundation (BPF) -ex Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation (PFF)- is a nonprofit institution based in Nafplion and aims at the research, documentation, study, preservation and dissemination of modern Greek and global culture in general, in all of its forms and expressions. reece.It was founded in 1974 by Ioanna Papantoniou in memory of her father, Vassilios Papantoniou. It is housed in the residence of Vas. Papantoniou, which was converted into a museum in 1981 and its first exhibition, was entitled: "Local costumes of the Peloponnese".
In 1981 with the exhibition “The Production, Elaboration and Use of Natural Fibres in Greece” won the European Museum of the Year main Award (EMYA) “because of the manifold activities of the Foundation in the area of tradition, the quality and size of its collections, the excellence of its displays, the superb graphics, the range and scholarship of its research projects and the originality and thoroughness of its educational programmes”.
On October 1989 the BPF inaugurated in the old railway station in Nafplion a model place dedicated to the child. This area which includes the building of the depot of the old Nafplion Railway Station and the platform, was granted by the Municipality of Nafplion to the BPF and it has been converted it into the first Childhood Museum in Greece, “Stathmos” (The Station).
The exhibition “Paidiothen… (From childhood)” comprises children's toys and objects from the collections of the BPFF, which date from the 19th and 20th centuries. Through the variety of exhibition units we are able to follow the changes in children's lives and their toys. One can view copies of ancient toys, objects related to the birth, the baptism and the first years of a child, as well as numerous toys. The exhibition also presents two collections that cover the childhood of two girls who were born in 1938 and 1948, as well as a selection of objects by a collector with an exceptional aesthetic criterion and a love of toys.
In 1989 Melina Merkouri also assigned the Greek National Traditional Costume Archives to the Basil Papantoniou Foundation. In addition Ioanna Papantoniou has founded in 2003 the Greek Costume Society as an extension of this Archive.
The Museum, renovated 1999, housed the exhibition “The best of the PFF” and celebrated its 25th anniversary with the following exhibitions:
"Vestments, the Eastern Orthodox Church" - Benaki Museum, Athens
"Krossia, Chitones, Doulamades, Velades" - Foundation of the Hellenic World, Athens
"Yannis Tseklenis - A Greek Fashion Designer" - Thesion Theatre, Athens
"Jean Desses - A Greek Fashion Designer"- Building of the Society of Greek Archaeologists, Athens
"The Greek costumes of Lykeion ton Hellinidon in the work of Tsarouchis" - jointly organised with the Tsarouchis Foundation, Museum of the Lykeion ton Hellinidon, Athens
In 2006, to celebrate its 32 years a new reshuffling led to a larger museum shop, an exhibition with the emphasis on “The Greek town: Nafplion 1822-1922”.
In 2013 BPF was honoured by the Academy of Athens for its long term contribution to the promotion of the Hellenic culture.
In 2015, the permanent exhibition “The collections: A journey through space and time” is dedicated to the Foundation collections which now number over 50.000 artifacts, relating to the contemporary Greek culture. The continuous enrichment of the collections presented through a daring free installation, number selected items from the natural and social environment, developing in Greek historical space and time.
A research project was run over the whole of Greece in 1970-1980. Its aim was the documentation and study of folk culture, music and dance, preindustrial technology and children games. The results of the research became the main body of the publishing activities of the Foundation, that include the special scientific journal “Ethnographica”, which numbers today 15 volumes, and the journal “Endymatologica”, published in 5 volumes.
As a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the PFF has organised eight conferences and meetings.
The BPF has also organised many exhibitions in Greece and abroad, the most important of which are the following:
- Brussels 1982 - EUROPALIA, "Three cycles of life"
- Athens 1985 - Athens Cultural Capital of Greece, :Greek Costumes and Jewellery, past and present"
- Dallas, Texas - Salute to Greece (Year devoted to Greece), "Greek Costumes"
- Dallas, Texas - Salute to Greece (Year devoted to Greece), "Children’s drawings/Karagiozis"
- Athens 2004, Cultural Olympiad, "Ptychoseis = Folds+Pleats, Drapery from Ancient Greek Dress to 21st century Fashion"
- Benaki Museum, Athens "Endyesthai-Towards a Costume Culture Museum"
The archives of the BPF contain rare material mostly of in situ research about costume, dance, folk songs etc.