Polygnotos Vayis was born in 1894 on Thasos, but emigrated to America, where he became a sculptor. He is regarded as one of the most outstanding sculptors of the twentieth century. He died in 1965 and bequeathed his personal collection of sculpture to the Greek state. It includes his Moons, Cyclops (1939, stone), Prophet (1925, marble), Groundhog (1933, chestnut), and Kouroi (plaster).
Between the ground floor and the first floor, appropriately designed showcases display a collection of birds which was put together by Dr Anastassios Hourmouziadis and includes many species from the Nestos wetland, some of them now extinct. The Folklore Museum occupies the first floor, with exhibits that include folk costumes (mainly of the Sarakatsani), jewellery, embroidery, everyday utensils, tools of various trades, porcelain and metal stoves, and gramophones. The museum has run a number of educational programmes for schoolchildren on the themes of folklore and environmental awareness.
The museum also houses the citys history archive, which contains material from the Greek and British Foreign Ministries, the archive of the Workers Centre, and an archive of photographs and cinema films connected with the history of Kavala. Early in 2001, the museum will be moving to the main tobacco warehouse, in Kapnergati Square, a much larger space where it will be able to display its collections in their entirety.