Greece revealed on Wednesday plans for the revamp of the Archaeological Museum of Athens that will create a landmark for the capital.
In an event held at the museum PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the expansion would create “more space to show the magnificent exhibits of one of the greatest collections globally.”
Currently, he said, “we are showing less than 10% of what we have in storage,” while he also cited disappointing numbers of visitors that barely exceed 500,000 a year for a national museum with such a wealth of artifacts.
The government’s intention is to use private donations, and national and EU funding to build the museum.
Mitsotakis also referred to the new law approved in Parliament this week that changes the legal status of the National and another four museums. The change will provide them with greater independence from the Culture Ministry, and flexibility to claim their place in the global museum map, he said.
Culture & Sports Minister Lina Mendoni said the National Archaeological Museum’s expansion will revive the area around it and promote the national character of the museum, and hailed the project as a personal vision of Mitsotakis.
The plans include a second building connected to the current one without overshadowing it, gardens, and a green square.
The design of the New National Archaeological Museum
Last month the Ministry of Culture announced the winning entry for the New National Archaeological Museum selected by an international committee.
The winning design belongs to the architectural offices of David Chipperfield Architects and Alexandros N. Tombazis & Associates SA.
British architect Sir David Chipperfield, whose major works include the restoration of the Neues Museum in Berlin and the design of the East Building at the Saint Louis Art Museum said new construction covering 20,000 square meters (215,000 square feet) was planned around the existing 19th century neoclassical building.
“Our architectural approach has been to create a plinth growing out of the existing building, therefore fundamentally connected to the 19th century building. But at the same time that develops into a powerful piece of architecture,” Chipperfield said.
“We want to have an extroverted museum, in constant dialog with society, and with a dynamic focus to the future,” Menoni noted.
The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is the largest archaeological museum in Greece. It was founded at the end of the 19th century to house and protect antiquities from all over Greece, thus displaying their historical, cultural, and artistic value.
The museum has an imposing neo-classical design, which was very popular in Europe at the time and is in accordance with the classical-style artifacts that it houses.
Its massive collections, numbering more than twenty thousand different exhibits, display the complete panorama of Greek civilization.
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