October 25, 2010

Building the New Acropolis Museum – a children’s book by Greek Australian Niki Dollis

Posted at 1:07 pm in New Acropolis Museum

Niki Dollis who has worked with the Organisation for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum for the entire duration of the project (& will be known to anyone who visited the site before the building opened), has written a book for children about the actual process of construction of the new museum & the reasons that a new museum was needed.

The book came out earlier this year – it has currently sold out, but I’ve been told that more copies are printed & it will soon be available again in the shop at the New Acropolis Museum.

Greek Reporter

Greek Australian Writes Storybook: “Building the New Acropolis Museum”
Posted on 18 September 2010 by Apostolos Papapostolou

The book “Building the New Acropolis Museum” is by Niki Dollis and illustrated and designed by Elena Zournatzi. The children’s book tells the story of the realization of a dream. As Niki Dollis mentions in her introduction, it is “a book about hope, expectation… but also hard work for the construction and preparation of the New Acropolis Museum”. The storybook is published by Livanis Publishing Organization. Dollis is the Director of Mr. Pantermalis’ office, who is the head of the New Acropolis Museum.

Through the 60 pages of her book Dollis familiarizes young and all readers, with the notion of a museum. It is a very interesting subject to begin with especially when it serves as an open window to the world of ancient Greece, such as the New Acropolis Museum.

The images are digitally processed. The texts, graphics and illustrations are dominated by bright colors. The book tells the story of the monument established 2.500 years ago up until the final stage of the construction of the New Museum. It invites the reader to an exciting experience of taking a “walk… in history!” as Niki Dollis writes.

Dollis wanted to share with everyone her unique experience since 2000, when she started her collaboration with Dimitris Pantermalis at the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum. She is now in charge of public relations.

In order to get the message throughout the world, the book was also written in English.

“When I enter the museum, I feel, I believe, such as our visitors – as if I am entering another Greece – but also great satisfaction and pride. That is why I felt the need to speak out, especially to children, for a case that some may have considered given”, states Ms. Dollis to ANA – MPA. She wanted to pass on a specific message to the children; that when you really want something, it can become true.
“I believe it was worth for someone to speak on the great, collective work of many people, which was required to successfully reach the realization of the dream. People who loved what they did and cooperated really well, something which is not so common in Greece. The Head of the Museum, Dimitris Pantermalis, architects Bernard Tschumi and Michael Fotiadis and many others. I thought to myself now this is a good example for the children as I personally believe in collective work, through which you can learn a lot. I believe that this is what we need the most in Greece today”.

From Australia to Greece
Dollis was born and raised in Melbourne by Greek parents with roots from Laconia and Lavrion. She never imagined that someday she would be working at the New Acropolis Museum, let alone to write her first book on it.

“For a Greek of the Diaspora, being so close to the Acropolis is something fantastic”, says Niki Dollis, who had a first “live” glimpse of the world monument – symbol at the age of twelve, when television programs started in Australia.

Having completed her studies as a social worker at the University of Melbourne, Niki Dollis actively participated in Australia in the development of employment programs for the unemployed, the operation of community centers, and the improvement of immigrant access to the healthcare system. She also served as the Director of the Greek-Australian Welfare. Dollis also served as president of an Australian NGO which represented the needs of global citizens with disabilities.

Since 1989 she worked at the Health Ministry in the State of Victoria as a consultant on improving immigrants’ access to the healthcare system services. She then became a Director of the relevant department. Meanwhile she was seconded to the Federal Ministry of Healthcare to prepare a national consultation document for immigrants’ access to Healthcare Services, while she was in charge of a program of the Federal Government and the seven States of Australia, aiming towards the amelioration of Public Healthcare. (National Public Health Partnership)
Along with her husband Dimitris Dollis, who was an MP at the time and Deputy Leader of the Labor Party in Victoria, took a very important decision to move permanently to Greece along with their two children, Nina and Giannis in 1999.

“Whatever I learned through my work in Australia, was as if I was preparing for work here” says Dollis, since the museum as she states “is a public service, with a historical and cultural character, but substantially serves as a public service which must be accessible to the public, in the best possible way, away from bureaucratic procedures”.
Personally she believes her collaboration with Professor Pantermalis is a great honor. She describes him as an: “an open-minded person, who has the gift to guide his colleagues, but also listen to their opinion, which is something rare nowadays”.

Along with Professor Pantermalis she edited the text of the edition “Acropolis Museum; A year in operation”.

Today as the director of the Museum’s Head Office she deals with issues related to the operation of the museum, staff training etc.

Something which gives her pleasure is seeing the pride of young people working in the museum and the efforts they make to give their best, responding to the rules governing its operation. And the dream lives on…

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