Helmi’s Natural History Museum is the only museum of natural history in Zakynthos. It was inaugurated on August 10, 2000 by Panagiotis Helmi and is housed in Agia Marina, Zakynthos, in a beautiful traditional building. Its collections include flora and fauna sections of the Zakynthian nature.
The Museum's operation is based entirely on private initiative and aims to highlight the nature of Zakynthos both in Greece and internationally. Since its establishment it continuously being developed, reaching a point of being an institution with content and quality that sets the preconditions for big steps today.
With its exhibits, but certainly with the special room for environmental education too, the Museum constitutes an information bank, a powerful learning tool for the teacher and the student, interested in the natural environment (geology, fauna, flora, etc.) of the Ionian Islands.
Additionally, it provides knowledge and awareness opportunities on protection issues of natural and cultural heritage in general, as well as sustainability/viability issues.
This second part of the purpose has young people as its "cutting edge". However, it extends to the general public regardless of age: The HMNH informs, educates and raises awareness on issues related to the natural and human environment, with the expectation that its action will result in the improvement of the attitude and behavior towards the environment.
The museum’s objectives:
Developing specific forms of soft tourism.
Significant opportunities are created for the development of ecotourism, agro-tourism, scientific / naturalist tourism, culinary tourism, to name but a few.
These forms of tourism have a positive impact on the island as they can be developed throughout the year, thus, they do not have finite time character such as classic tourism during the summer vacation.
This objective can be achieved by various means, such as be the HNHM being the starting point for walks / thematic trails, organizing related events, the shop and refreshment to have suitable products, and cooperate with similar entities.
Boosting the development, in a healthy manner, of the mountain and the lesser known villages and areas of Zakynthos.
Through the thematic routes proposed by the Museum, visitors are lead to wander around and get to know the villages and notable areas of the island, which, despite being of great ecological interest, do not constitute a tourist attraction.
Attract specialist public / visitors not only from Greece but also from abroad.
These visitors (scientists, naturalists such as bird watchers, etc.) are the best "ambassadors" of the island on an international level.
Introducing mainly young people to the nature of the island and its special features.
Highlighting the opportunities and effects of the positive action of man to the environment.
Functioning as a tool that can be used to develop partnerships between entities on the island that have similar / compatible goals and objectives.
Such entities are e.g. the Management Body of the National Marine Park, environmental and heritage rescue organizations, Directorates for Environmental Education).
Promoting local production activities and their corresponding products.
Creating jobs and opening pathways for movement of various professionals of the island through their cooperation with the HNHM.
Boosting the integration of ordinary residents and professionals of the wider region in the overall effort of upgrading it.