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Acropolis Museum delays impact opening date

February 28, 2004

Acropolis Museum delays impact opening date

Posted at 2:03 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

More on the delays to the proposed opening date of the New Acropolis Museum.

From:
The Guardian

Greek Museum Won’t Be Ready for Olympics
Tuesday February 24, 2004 11:46 PM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – A new Acropolis museum being built to house sculptures from the ancient Parthenon will not be finished before the Aug. 13-29 Olympics, Greece’s culture minister said Tuesday.

The museum at the foot of the Acropolis hill – held up by court actions from residents – is a key part of Athens’ drive to press for the return of the collection from the British Museum in London.

The government had previously indicated the museum would be ready in time for the Olympics, though Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos insisted Tuesday that officials never guaranteed it would be completed by August.

“What will be ready is the shell of the building and a ground floor exhibition area where the marbles can be housed. This will be a temporary site for their display,” Venizelos said.

Also known as the Elgin Marbles, the sculptures were taken from the Acropolis in the early 19th century by Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Britain has refused to return them.

Greece argues that the collection is an integral part of the 2,500-year-old Athens monument, and has stepped up a campaign for its return before the Olympics.

Venizelos said Greek and British cultural officials will meet to discuss the issue after March 7 general elections in Greece.

The British Museum’s director, Neil MacGregor, has rejected any talk of an Olympic deal, arguing that the marbles’ current location is “the best possible place for the sculptures.”

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