The Acropolis Museum in Athens recently celebrated its 14th anniversary with the announcement of a record-breaking number of visitors for the January-June period. The museum first opened its doors to the public on June 20, 2009.
According to the Acropolis Museum General Director Nikolaos Stampolidis, over 830,000 people had visited the museum between January 1 and June 18.
Speaking during an event held for the museum’s two-year review presentation, Stampolidis said the number of visitors was the highest ever reported for the January-June period.
During the event, Stampolidis also announced that the Acropolis museum would be running an archaeology scholarship program in memory of the late Professor Dimitrios Pantermalis, who served as the museum’s President of the Board of Directors from May 2009 to September 2022.
The museum’s general director also informed that “The Museum under the Museum” exhibition, featuring 1,112 artefacts found on-site during the museum’s construction, is expected to open by the beginning of 2024.
Additionally, a new grand exhibition linking Antiquity with Byzantium, the Renaissance, and contemporary art will launch during the 2023-2024 period, showcasing over 160 art items. This exhibition will feature works by artists such as Rubens and Botticelli, as well as statues and pottery representing important museums from across the globe.
During his speech, Stampolidis also focused on some of the museum’s 2021-2023 highlights:
- the museum hosted a series of cultural events and experiences such as the “MicroDances Athens” dance performance in collaboration with the Greek National Opera and the Rachmaninoff tribute in collaboration with the Athens State Orchestra.
- its archaeologists offered museum guests free weekly thematic presentations like “Saturday in the Museum with 20 + 1 masterpieces” and “The world of employment in ancient Athens.”
- the museum ran specific programs aimed at students at Correctional Facility Second Chance Schools, unaccompanied minors, refugees and immigrants.
- over 210,000 students from Greece and abroad visited the museum on scheduled tours between June 2021 and June 2023.
- the museum’s Kids Programs included the popular “Strange creatures in the Acropolis Museum,” “Goblin mix-up,” and “In the houses of the ancient Greeks…life without TV and internet.”
- the temporary exhibitions “Raiment of the Soul” and “A More Perfect Union: American Artists and the Currents of Our Time.”
- the conservation of 322 artifacts with cutting-edge technology.
Media representatives tour revamped Archaic Acropolis Museum Gallery
Following the presentation at the museum’s amphitheater, Stampolidis accompanied Greek and international media representatives on a tour at the Archaic Acropolis Museum Gallery.
The gallery was recently enriched with new artefacts and restructured to provide visitors with a better understanding of the social and political evolution of the city of Athens through its art and sculpture.
Among the new artifacts on display are: a Kore statue with its base, a part of a female statue and its base, and an inscribed perirrhanterion (water basin) base.
On the north side of the museum’s first floor, the new additions include an architectural member with relief decoration, the head of a male statue that probably belonged to Publius Herennius Dexippus, and a bust of the poet Homer.
Stampolidis talks about reunification of Parthenon Marbles
Regarding the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, Stampolidis emphasized that the return of the “Fagan” fragment was of prime importance since it is believed to be a gift Robert Fagan, the former British consul for Sicily and Malta, received from Lord Elgin during the latter’s stop in Sicily while taking the Parthenon marbles to Great Britain.
The return of three Parthenon fragments from the Vatican Museums was also seen as a positive gesture that eradicates the argument that, if returned, the Parthenon marbles wouldn’t be seen by as many people as they do at the British Museum.
In response to pressing questions from Greek media representatives regarding the next step in the reunification of the marbles, Stampolidis stressed that if “a strategy is revealed, then it stops being a strategy” and any discussions or reports based on off the record discussions or other sources can endanger the careful efforts made in the last few years.