The long awaited dream of a new museum for the Acropolis and a home for all the Parthenon marbles is finally being realized. Visitors are able to enjoy the treasures from the Acropolis, in one consolidated collection, in an environment worthy of their grandeur.The museum building has a contemporary design that is in harmony with the local environment. From its upper levels in particular, the visitor is able to enjoy the panoramic view of the Acropolis – the original home of the famous antiquities that it exhibits. The outward looking nature of the Museum is expressed in the deliberate and extensive use of glass on its exterior that enables the exhibits to be seen in conditions of natural light and often within view of their original home – the Acropolis.
A unique gift to the Museum and its visitors are the surviving remains of the Ancient Athenian city that once bustled at the foot of the Acropolis, located on the site of the Museum. Revealed during archaeological excavations preceding construction, in the lower ground level of the Museum, the excavation is accessible to visitors through a network of ramps established above it.
The new Museum provides for the finds from the Acropolis to be exhibited over 14,000 square metres of floor space. The first large collection to be seen commences at the level of the Museum entrance in a spacious gallery with the symbolically graded ramp presenting the finds from the slopes of the Acropolis. Continuing their tour, visitors will enter the magnificent Archaic Gallery with its high ceilings and many tall columns, – followed by the galleries of the works from the Severe Period, in anticipation of the exhibition of the Classical Period that follows. At the top and final level of the Museum, the visitor is greeted by a light filled atrium, and proceeds to the climax of the Museum exhibition – the Parthenon Gallery. Here the visitor can follow the story of the Pan Athenian procession, as it is presented in the frieze of the Parthenon. The slabs of the frieze wrap around the rectangular cement core of the building that has the same dimensions and physical orientation as the Parthenon cella. The visitor is able to see the metopes of the Parthenon set between the Gallery’s columns. On the west and east of the gallery the beautiful composition of the pediments are also exhibited. Within this glass-walled gallery, visitors are able to enjoy a 360-degree vista of Athens, taking in views of Ymittos to the south, the Hill of Philopappou to the west, and the Lykavittos to the East. Most unique of all however is the view from the north side of the Gallery, where the visitor looks upon the frieze of the Parthenon and at the same time looks upon the monument to which it belongs. The visitor’s tour concludes before the Post Parthenon period, the works of the Hellenistic period and those of the Roman Empire.
Visitors are able to enjoy a coffee at the entry-level cafe or a meal in the Museum’s restaurant with one of the most panoramic views of the Acropolis available in Athens. Temporary exhibitions in the purpose-built gallery enrich the exhibition program over and above the magnificent permanent collection, and the Museum auditorium and lounge enables visitors to obtain further information and resources about life on the ancient Acropolis. A brief stop at either of the museum stores will enable the visitor to take a small something with them, as a memento of their visit and a lasting reminder of their need to return to the New Acropolis Museum.
Professor Dimitrios Pandermalis
President of Acropolis Museum