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Athens’ Acropolis Museum Reopens to the World

Acropolis Museum
A view of the interior of the Acropolis museum, looking up at the Parthenon atop the Acropolis. Credit: Facebook/Acropolis Museum

The director of collections and exhibitions at Athens’ Acropolis Museum spoke to the press on Thursday, just before the nation reopens to tourists, saying that the Museum is looking forward to reopening its gates to the public on Friday, May 14.

Stamatia Eleftheratou, the world-renowned Museum’s Director, explained that the state of the art facility’s closure during the most recent lockdown actually provided the perfect opportunity to tackle major projects that needed to be done.

“This period gave us the opportunity to restore a number of ancient works and to exhibit some others; but mainly to complete a large project, the Digital Acropolis Museum,” she told the press.

Acropolis
The Acropolis Museum Athens is open for visitors once again. Credit: Facebook/Acropolis Museum

“It is a diverse program, with many sectors, one of which was the creation of the new website, the launch of which coincided with the lockdown period, giving the Museum the opportunity to address, if not its physical, at least its digital audience, which is just as large,” she added.

Eleftheratou explained that “the new website of the Acropolis Museum is not a simple website. It is an entire world, which captures the life and activities of the museum. It is also the first museum website in Greece in which all the exhibits of the Acropolis Museum have been posted.

Museum
Acropolis Museum worker examining priceless artifact. Credit: Facebook/Acropolis Museum

“That is, the visitor can find for each exhibit a description, a rich bibliography and plenty of supervisory material, ie pictures and videos – where they exist,” she noted. This is an important distinction in an age in which some museums choose not to share all their holdings with the public in order to lure visitors to their shows.

The Acropolis Museum is a treasure trove of Greek history from prehistoric times through the greatest days of Greece’s Golden Ages. Built over streets in the ancient city, visitors walk over a reinforced glass floor and peer down into carefully-excavated streets and buildings, gazing back into the history of the city itself.

Aphrodite
The head of a goddess believed to be Aphrodite. Found in 1857 in the Odeion of Herodes Atticus. The statue is probably a copy of a chryselephantine work of the 5th or 4th cent. BC and possibly depicts Aphrodite. The oxydisation of the eyelashes has produced the extant stains on the cheeks which have flowed down from the eyes as if they were tears. Credit: Facebook/Acropolis Museum

The immense museum, which reopened for visitors today, spans a total  of 25,000 square meters (269,097 feet), 14,000 of which is exhibition space.

Aside from the permanent exhibition, visitors may also enjoy the temporary “Chisel and Memory” presentation, which shows the remarkable craftsmanship of the marble workers to the restoration of the Acropolis monuments.

Opened in 2009, the new Acropolis Museum faces the monument from the very heart of the picturesque Plaka district. It is ten times larger than the previous museum, which was built on the hill of the Acropolis itself.

Stunning natural light is a focal element of its architectural design, with its creators aspiring to create a simple and precise museum with the mathematical and conceptual clarity of ancient Greece.

As explained on the Museum’s website, the visitor’s route through the building forms “a clear three-dimensional loop, affording an architectural promenade with a rich spatial experience that extends from the archaeological excavations to the Parthenon Marbles and back through the Roman period.”

On weekends, visitors are also given the opportunity to wander through the archaeological excavation which stretches underneath the Museum. Guided tours through the daily life of the people who lived around Acropolis Hill for over 4,500 years begin at 11 a.m. in English and 1 p.m. in Greek.

Eleftheratou noted that “Additionally, our website has a web-page that is addressed specifically to children, with rich activities and imaginative videos and games. In addition, a series of digital applications, interactive and video, was created, which the visitor can view not only in the physical space of the Museum, but also on the internet.”

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