PIOP’s museums network and library: Cultural economics
Standing at a crossroads, in a critical era and from a post related to providing information of any kind, writers focus their research on information itself and the formulation of new conditions related to access and dissemination of information in the field of cultural heritage institutions. The Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (PIOP) is a non-profit institution that aims to safeguard record, study and promote the traditional technology and industrial culture of Greece. PIOP realises its statutory goals by conducting research on traditional craftsmanship, industrial archaeology, inventorying their remnants, and disseminating the results by any means available. In this context, the creation and functioning of a Network of thematic technological museums covering the whole of Greece constitutes an essential tool. Each of these museums highlights the diverse aspects of a productive activity that upheld the economy and stamped the identity of the corresponding region. Under the scope of empowering local communities by activating sustainable development in the Greek periphery, PIOP organizes cultural public outreach activities in the Museums Network: temporary exhibitions, educational programmes, lectures, seminars, craftsmanship presentations, film screenings, dance, music, story-telling etc. To the present, the Network comprises seven operating museums, while two more are “on the making”: their creation has been financed by E.U. Programmes (European funding and national funds) and by the Piraeus Bank Group, and their functioning is financed by the Piraeus Bank. PIOP, operating a network of museums, a variety of research programs, various publications and a central library specialized, among other fields, in cultural heritage, museology and economic history, is trying to overcome the consequences of the ongoing economic crisis on cultural production and society‟s relation to cultural activities, by active participation and involvement in the Information Society, where the key issue is the need for direct access to provided information.