The Hydra Museum Historical Archives were founded in 1918 and housed in a building donated by Gikas N. Koulouras, a ship-owner and benefactor born on the island of Hydra. In its imposing halls, the building houses the fully reorganised Museum and Archive Service and the Library. The new building was officially inaugurated in July 1996 and is, since then, daily open to historic researchers and to the multitude of visitors to Hydra.
Purpose of the Archives' section is the localisation, collection, classification, indexation and, ultimately, the publication of all archives material related to Hydra, its history, tradition and culture.One of the major thematic units of the archives material relates to the Municipal Archives of Hydra (1708 - 1865). This unit comprises approximately 18,000 original documents, manuscripts, codes and records providing a detailed picture of the period before, during and after the Greek Revolution (1821). In addition, the Archives comprise education, administrative, church and municipal archives from the mid-19th century to the present day.
The Museum section operates on two levels: Heirlooms from the Balkan wars as well as from World War I and II are exhibited in the ground-floor lobby. The staircase to the 1st floor is decorated with portraits of fire-rafters and sea-fighters from Hydra. The 1st floor lobby serves as exhibition area for figureheads and akrostolia from various ships of the Revolution, the Great Chart of Rigas Fereos and the monumental external door of the Georgios Dimas Voulgaris’ Mansion. An outstanding historical gallery with paintings from Greek and foreign painters occupies the halls of this floor. The gallery collection includes portraits (mainly canvasses) of historic personae originating from Hydra and portraits (mainly aquarelles) of combat ships dating back to the period of the Revolution and subsequent years. Moreover, traditional costumes from Hydra and weapons of famous fighters from the island, magnificent gravures, navigation charts and impressive small artefacts of the 18th and 19th centuries are also exhibited.
The library contains 6.000 volumes mainly of old and rare publications, many of which date back to the beginning of the 18th century. It is continually enriched with new publications: history books and archives material mainly, but also literature, reviews, journals, etc.