Grigorios Manos, a collector of Asian art, donated his collection to the Greek state in 1919. The museum in the Palace of Sts. Michael and George was created in Kerkyra in 1927 near the Platia or town square in Corfu Town.
Manos donated 9,500 artworks and became the museum’s first director in 1927. Nicholas Chatzivasiliou donated 450 artworks in 1974. Christopher Chiotakis donated 341 from his collection in the 1980s. Diplomats Giannis Kollas, I. Siniossoglou and Petros Almanahos left their collections to the museum as well.
An interesting current exhibit entitled, When India Met Greece, states the two countries met 2,300 years ago in 326 B.C., when Alexander the Great led his troops all the way to the Indus River. From 280 B.C. on, Greek kingdoms were created in the Northern Punjab by Bactrian Greeks. In 164-150 B.C., King Eucratides completed the occupation of Arachosia, Gedrosia, Gandhara, Taxila and Punjab, reaching as far as the Ganges basin. In 100 B.C., Menander took over the western Valley of the Ganges and Gudjral. He founded the Greco-Indian Kingdom and Bilingual Greek and Hindu script coins were minted.
Sword and spade shaped Chinese coins from the 3rd century B.C.-18th century A.D. An impressive exhibit of sword and spade shaped Chinese coins from the 3rd century B.C. and 18th century A.D. are also featured. Former Chinese American Voters Association of USA President Irene Cheung said “coins are like weapons in the old times. Everything had to be practical. That’s how they survived in daily life.