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British Museum Sends Greek Masterpieces to Australian Exhibition

Greek exhibit Australia
One of the Hellenistic busts currently exhibited in the British Museum. Credit: Nic McPhee/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

The British Museum has partnered with multiple museums in Australia to bring over enough objects to display an Ancient Greek exhibit in the Southern Hemisphere.

The exhibition, named Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes from the British Museum, will arrive in Australia in June 2021 after its original 2020 date was delayed due to the coronavirus.

Greek exhibition in Australia

Although the exhibition was originally going to touchdown in Australia in 2020, due to logistical challenges with transporting the pieces amid the coronavirus pandemic it was delayed to this summer.

The first stop of the Greek exhibit will be the Western Australian Museum, in Perth, where the marbles will stay from June 20 to November 7, 2021.

Then, they will be transported to the National Museum of Australia, on the east coast in Canberra, from Dec 17 to May 1, 2022.

Finally, the tour will conclude in New Zealand, at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, from June 10 to October 16, 2022.

The Greek exhibition in Australia will feature some 180 objects which explore the theme of competition through sports, politics, drama, music and warfare. The exhibit is also very well timed, as it explores the history of the Olympic Games just as the Tokyo Olympics take off this summer.

National Museum of Australia Director, Dr Mathew Trinca, shared his excitement about the show to the press, saying, “We are thrilled that we can finally bring Ancient Greeks to east coast audiences after a 12-month delay. With COVID still among us and Australians looking for exciting experiences at home, this show really fits the bill.”

“I know audiences will be mesmerised by the stories of competition in the Ancient Greek world and by the beautiful depictions of athletes, the ceramics, sculptures, armour and jewellery featured in the show,” Dr Trinca said.

The director then thanked the British Museum and other partner museums, and noted how important collaboration is in the industry. Cultural institutions can come together and pool their resources, bringing more and diverse exhibits to more peoples.

Without this type of collaboration, an ancient Greek exhibition wouldn’t be possible in Australia.

Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes is the fourth in a series of British Museum exhibitions that have featured at the National Museum of Australia, following Rome: City and Empire (2018), A History of the World in 100 Objects (2016) and Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum (2015).

Alec Coles, Chief Executive Officer of the Western Australian Museum said, “The WA Museum Boola Bardip is delighted to host this exquisite exhibition as the first venue in the Australasian tour, and to celebrate another significant milestone in the important relationship between our 4 museums. The themes of Ancient Greek culture shared in this exhibition, including sport, arts, politics and philosophy, are legacies that continue to permeate our everyday life. I have no doubt Western Australian audiences, and visitors to our state, will marvel at the artistry and beauty of the objects, and reflect on the profound influences of this period on our world today.”

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