The New Acropolis Museum

Making it as good as new…

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Three days remain until the grand opening of the new Acropolis Museum, on June 20. Both the Museum’s organisation team and the Ministry of Culture are working closely to put the final touches on the surrounding area and of course, the Museum itself. The Acropolis Museum Website: www.theacropolismuseum.gr
• THE OPENING: June 20, a night to remember….
Fulfilling the core philosophy the ancient monument represents, the official inaugural event will not indulge in excessive or ostentatious displays, but will become a moderate festivity with artistic infusions. The guest list is long and comprises heads of state and government, royalties, top level officials, eminent academics and presidents of other museums. New technologies will be used to showcase the antiquities, acting as the “artistic event” of the evening. A dinner on the museum’s terrace will close the event and a cruise of the Saronic Gulf has been organized for the day after the inauguration ceremony for the heads of state and government attending. Tune online and watch the opening ceremony on June 20th. New Acropolis Museum Organising Committee: Preparing the museum

• THE MUSEUM
♦ A Museum of Sculpture and Light….

The New Acropolis Museum is a purpose built museum by architects Bernard Tschumi and Michalis Fotiades to house the archaeological findings related to the Acropolis Hill. It is located at the foot of the Acropolis (300 metres -980 feet-southeast of the Parthenon) and the total cost of the museum was €130 million.  The first Acropolis Museum was completed in 1874. Successive excavations on the Acropolis have uncovered many new artifacts which needed additional space for their housing. The initiative for a new museum coincided with Greece’s campaign over the return of the Elgin Marbles. Greece claims that the new museum offers both a technically and historically unparalleled shelter for the Acropolis’ treasures. Quoting the architect, “the museum appears effortless and almost undesigned.” The goal of the orchestrated simplicity is to focus the viewer’s emotion and intellect on the extraordinary works of art. Thus, the extensive use of glass in the Museum. The design allows for the free flow of natural lights into the museum spaces through 50 skylights, while the Parthenon gallery is flooded by light.
♦ Digital Parthenon
The museum’s crown jewel is the Parthenon gallery, where the entire frieze is exhibited in the same order and with the same directional orientation as when it adorned the monument. Visual contact from the gallery to the monument was set as a prerequisite and as a result, the visitor can now relish a breathtaking view of the Acropolis, the surrounding historic hills and contemporary Athens. Speaking to the Financial Times (June 4), the President of the museum, professor of archaeology Dimitris Pandermalis said that the “arrangement and labelling of sculptures, from the freize of the Parthenon to the dozens of free-standing pieces is designed so that people can wander around, stop and look, feel they are engaging directly with the antiquities.” Culture Minister Antonis Samaras stressed the importance of digital technology. “It has a big role to play in explaining not just the ancient world but modern Greek history. We would like to have visitor centres at the main sites that would use virtual reality to recreate scenes from daily life as well as the big battles,” he said. Ministry of Culture: www.parthenonfrieze.gr &  Play with the Frieze Acropolis Restoration Service: Let’s Go to the Acropolis! – Kits
A Symbolic Entrance Fee
Samaras announced that entrance to the museum will cost €1 for the first six months. 2,200 tickets will be on sale online (e-ticketing) for the first three days, while about 2,5 million visitors are expected every year.  The Acropolis Museum was recently selected as the main motif for a high-value euro collectors coins: the Greek Acropolis Museum commemorative coin, minted in 2008.  This coin was issued to commemorate the re-opening of the museum. On the obverse, a panoramic view of the Acropolis can be seen; the museum resides in the base of it.
THE SIZE: The largest and finest one of all…
The words describe the famous sanctuary of ancient Athens, the Acropolis, as it so happened that the Acropolis of the fifth century BC was the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak.  The New Acropolis Museum is 25,000 square metres with exhibition space of over 14,000 square metres- ten times more than that of the old museum.  The glass encased Parthenon Gallery is 7.5 metres high and has a floor space of over 3,200 square metres. It hosts approximately 4,000 artefacts.  The museum will offer all the amenities of an international museum of the 21st century.

THE TECHNOLOGY: The Old Masters; how well they understood

Just as the ancient masterpiece prevailed upon its contemporary monuments worldwide in craftsmanship and technology, the New Acropolis Museum is also designed and constructed based on environmental friendly and functional novel techniques, becoming that as well a monument of dexterity and grace.  In particular, the Museum’s novelties focus on a shell of glass covering the Parthenon gallery which allows natural light, while protecting contents from radiation and maintaining a normal temperature.  The floors of glass – 5 centimetres thick – are designed to provide the visitor with a view to the 2.5 acre area of underground excavations. The special soundproofing materials and the anti- seismic construction standing on 92 pillars are designed to endure a quake measuring up to 10 on the Richter scale.

ACROPOLIS: The lance of Athena’s statue was visible from miles away…

At the entrance of the Acropolis once stood an immense statue sculptured by Phidias, that of goddess Athena fighting in the frontline (Athena Promachos).  The colossal bronze statue is lost, but according to descriptions it was so large that ships approaching the coast of Attica could see Athena’s lance.  For the first time after 200 years of archaeological excavations at the on the rock of the Acropolis, all the significant findings will be displayed together in the one museum, telling the complete story of the Athenian Acropolis and its foothills.  Rich collections dating from prehistoric times through to the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods and up to late antiquity (700 AD) will provide visitors with a comprehensive picture of the centuries-old human presence on the sacred site.  The sculptural decoration of the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike, (the four major monuments built on the Acropolis under Pericles), together with the Propylaea (entrance, the gates) comprise some of the most important Classical architectural sculptures.  Among these, the Parthenon frieze with the splendid portrayal of the Panathenaic procession, the metopes and the pediments, the famous Erechtheion caryatids and others.  Ministry of Culture: The Archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens & The Acropolis Restoration Project National Geographic Channel: The secrets of the Parthenon VIDEO

WORLD MEDIA ON THE MUSEUM

The New Acropolis Museum has been in the spotlight of the foreign media for years. The media report on the museum making references to the historic resonance of the event, the artistic superiority of the museum’s building, as well as to the problems which emerged during its construction.  The Press also emphasises the international campaign over the repatriation of the Parthenon marbles showcased in the British Museum and Melina Mercouri’s personal contribution to the cause of the marbles’ reunification.

PROMOTION AROUND THE GLOBE

The new museum has helped revive the interest in Greece’s classical heritage.  The achievement of creating a new home for something which is considered part of Greece’s supreme legacy has sparked a series of cultural events almost in every continent.  From the United States to China, and from Athens to Helsinki foreign audiences have been offered a vivid, detailed and comprehensive presentation of both the Acropolis treasures and the new museum.  Secretariat General of Information: Press Center for the inauguration of the New Acropolis Museum & The Acropolis Museum: Press Kit

PARTHENON MARBLES: THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN
“In the name of the world’s cultural heritage…”

The movement to reunify the Parthenon Marbles, which are situated at the moment in the British Museum, has been gathering remarkable support worldwide over the years and especially during the last months. In fact, in view of the New Acropolis Museum’s opening, Greece’s claim for the restitution of the Marbles has grown all the stronger. Parthenon international“- an association of various national committees from different countries, the “American Friends of the New Acropolis Museumorganisation or the British campaign group “Marbles Reunited” are part of the international campaign sharing the same vision of the marbles’ return. On June 15, Parthenon International sent a letter to both the British Museum and the British Government, communicating their view on the matter.
Melina Mercouri: “Culture is Greece’s heavy industry”

Internationally renowned Melina Merkouri (1920-1994) was a towering figure of Greece’s cultural life of the 20th century. Daughter of an MP and grandchild of Spyridon Mercouris, a former mayor of Athens, the actress, singer and politician Melina Mercouri was an ardent supporter of the Parthenon’s Marble repatriation. As minister of Culture, Mercouri openly claimed the Parthenon Marbles and devote herself to it. Together with her husband Jules Dassin president of the Melina Mercouri Foundation until his passing away (2008), Melina Mercouri led a successful campaign, a fruit of which could be considered the New Acropolis Museum.  Melina Mercouri Foundation: www.melinamercourifoundation.org.gr You Tube: Melina Mercouri describes the Parthenon Marbles [Footage screened on the Greek television programme  “Erevna”  (=Research)]